Franco named wrestlers of the year

NILES — Senior Austin Franco of Niles, who captured the 119-pound Division 2 state championship earlier this month, has been named the Frank Mucha Wrestler of the Year.

Franco was selected by the southwest Michigan coaches, who gather to select the All-Southwest Wrestling team.

Franco was also the first-team selection at 119 pounds.

“Austin was voted wrestler of the year over two other state champions, said Niles coach Todd Hesson. “His overall body of work throughout his career was a major factor. I like the fact that it gives all the kids a chance to be recognized.”

Dowagiac’s Colin Burandt was named Coach of the Year after leading the Chieftains to the Division 3 state quarterfinals.

Franco was the lone Niles wrestler to earn first-team honors.

In all, the Vikings dominated the squad with 15 selections.

Edwardsburg had a pair of first-team selections in Jackson Hoover at 130 pounds and Nick Bradley at 145 pounds.

Brandywine’s Hunter Heath was a second-team selection at 119 pounds, while Buchanan’s Adam Eger was a second-team pick at 135 pounds.



First-team: Riley Bettich, Lakeshore

Second-team: Jamison Zimmerman, Niles

Honorable mention:

Carlos Garcia, Bloomingdale, Carson Landon, Niles, Trevor Pelton, Watervliet


First-team: Daniel Villalobos, Bangor

Second-team: Hunter Heath, Brandywine

Honorable mention:

Noah Tinkham, Edwardsburg, Bailey Delatorre, Lakeshore, Dylan Elmore, Dowagiac


First-team: Austin Franco, Niles

Second-team: Ryan Franco, Niles

Honorable mention:

Dylan Amm, Lawton, Jacob Reece, Edwardsburg, Kody Walker, Dowagiac


First-team: Shane Williams, Lakeshore

Second-team: Caden Reece, Edwardsburg

Honorable mention:

Nick Baldwin, Lawton, Jesse Edge, Dowagiac, Romeo Lopez, Decatur


First-team: Jackson Hoover, Edwardsburg

Second-team: Javond Ball, Niles

Honorable mention:

Alex McIntosh, Dowagiac, Austin Reid, Niles, Steven Kendall, Brandywine


First-team: Brian Paquette, Bloomingdale

Second-team: Adam Eger, Buchanan

Honorable mention:

Ian Ishmael, Coloma, Reese Gardner, Niles, Klayton Marshall, Watervliet


First-team: Tony Williams, Lakeshore

Second-team: Cody Reese, Coloma

Honorable mention:

Derek Hess, Edwardsburg, Kade Wagley, Niles, Andrew O’Donell, Lawton


First-team: Nick Bradley, Edwardsburg

Second-team: Robert Glover, Niles

Honorable mention:

Kerri Myrick, Lakeshore, Corbin Eckenberger, Brandywine, Nick Turnbow, Dowagiac


First-team: Thadeus Vernon, Bloomingdale

Second-team: Dylan Green, Cassopolis

Honorable mention:

Alec Austin, Lakeshore, Cole Simpson, Niles, Robert Buckland, Niles


First-team: Cody Carlisle, Lakeshore

Second-team: Jared Checkley, Decatur

Honorable mention:

Dillon Hursh, Edwardsburg, Lamberto Paredes, Dowagiac, Anthony Wade, Watervliet


First-team: Zack Menck, Lawton

Second-team: Davin Simpson, Niles

Honorable mention:

Dayton Smith, Niles, Jake Taylor, Lakeshore, Jacob Andrina, Edwardsburg


First-team: Jamane Smith, Coloma

Second-team: Dawson Bruckner, Niles

Honorable mention:

Ryan Rush, Lakeshore, Justin Lyle, Dowagiac, Drew Bidwell, Edwardsburg


First-team: Zeke Rohl, Lakeshore

Second-team: Matt Melcher, Watervliet

Honorable mention:

Caleb Murphy, Dowagiac, Reese McKee, Brandywine, Kenny Krempetz, Niles


First-team: Tyler Hill, Lakeshore

Second-team: Cole Alsup, Coloma

Honorable mention:

Brian Soto, Niles, Josh Harris, Edwardsburg, Edwin Miller, Lawton

Frank Mucha

Wrestler of the Year Award

Austin Franco, Niles

Coach of the Year

Colin Burandt, Dowagiac


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