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.
ALL SOUTHWEST WRESTLING TEAM
First-team: Riley Bettich, Lakeshore
Second-team: Jamison Zimmerman, Niles
Carlos Garcia, Bloomingdale, Carson Landon, Niles, Trevor Pelton, Watervliet
First-team: Daniel Villalobos, Bangor
Second-team: Hunter Heath, Brandywine
Noah Tinkham, Edwardsburg, Bailey Delatorre, Lakeshore, Dylan Elmore, Dowagiac
First-team: Austin Franco, Niles
Second-team: Ryan Franco, Niles
Dylan Amm, Lawton, Jacob Reece, Edwardsburg, Kody Walker, Dowagiac
First-team: Shane Williams, Lakeshore
Second-team: Caden Reece, Edwardsburg
Nick Baldwin, Lawton, Jesse Edge, Dowagiac, Romeo Lopez, Decatur
First-team: Jackson Hoover, Edwardsburg
Second-team: Javond Ball, Niles
Alex McIntosh, Dowagiac, Austin Reid, Niles, Steven Kendall, Brandywine
First-team: Brian Paquette, Bloomingdale
Second-team: Adam Eger, Buchanan
Ian Ishmael, Coloma, Reese Gardner, Niles, Klayton Marshall, Watervliet
First-team: Tony Williams, Lakeshore
Second-team: Cody Reese, Coloma
Derek Hess, Edwardsburg, Kade Wagley, Niles, Andrew O’Donell, Lawton
First-team: Nick Bradley, Edwardsburg
Second-team: Robert Glover, Niles
Kerri Myrick, Lakeshore, Corbin Eckenberger, Brandywine, Nick Turnbow, Dowagiac
First-team: Thadeus Vernon, Bloomingdale
Second-team: Dylan Green, Cassopolis
Alec Austin, Lakeshore, Cole Simpson, Niles, Robert Buckland, Niles
First-team: Cody Carlisle, Lakeshore
Second-team: Jared Checkley, Decatur
Dillon Hursh, Edwardsburg, Lamberto Paredes, Dowagiac, Anthony Wade, Watervliet
First-team: Zack Menck, Lawton
Second-team: Davin Simpson, Niles
Dayton Smith, Niles, Jake Taylor, Lakeshore, Jacob Andrina, Edwardsburg
First-team: Jamane Smith, Coloma
Second-team: Dawson Bruckner, Niles
Ryan Rush, Lakeshore, Justin Lyle, Dowagiac, Drew Bidwell, Edwardsburg
First-team: Zeke Rohl, Lakeshore
Second-team: Matt Melcher, Watervliet
Caleb Murphy, Dowagiac, Reese McKee, Brandywine, Kenny Krempetz, Niles
First-team: Tyler Hill, Lakeshore
Second-team: Cole Alsup, Coloma
Brian Soto, Niles, Josh Harris, Edwardsburg, Edwin Miller, Lawton
Wrestler of the Year Award
Austin Franco, Niles
Coach of the Year
Colin Burandt, Dowagiac