Vikings looking to reclaim crown

Published 10:13 am Wednesday, February 6, 2019

NILES — The preliminaries are finished and the Niles wrestling team is looking for a clean sweep against arch rival Lakeshore tonight.

But if the Vikings want a shot at reclaiming their district championship from the Lancers, they must turn all of their attention to host St. Joseph in the semifinals, which begin at 6 p.m.

Niles dominated the Greater Berrien County Invitational and the SMAC Tournament as they finished ahead of the Bears and the Lancers at both events.

“I think winning the Berrien County and the SMAC allows us to generate a little momentum going into the postseason,” said Niles coach Todd Hesson. “The kids gained confidence and they also get to see some of their immediate competition.”

Unfortunately, the third leg of the Lakeshore-Niles trilogy was cancelled due to weather. The regular season SMAC West Division match up would have given both teams one more look at each other before team districts.

As usual, Hesson says getting those extra points will be the difference.

“The key to both duals will be scoring bonus points and not giving up bonus points,” he said. “The bottom line is you have to not get pinned to win tough duals and pick up some bonus points along the way. We lost two duals at Christmas due to not getting pins when we had an opportunity. We have a lot of solid competition on our schedule. Most kids see ranked wrestlers weekly. I think that helps at this time of the year. It prepares them for postseason competition.”

Division 4

Only three teams will be competing for the Division 4 district championship at Brandywine tonight.

The Bobcats will face Eau Claire in the only semifinal scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

The winner advances to face River Valley in the championship match 10 minutes after the completion of the semifinals.

Brandywine is coming off a third-place finish at the BCS Athletic Conference Tournament in Three Oaks on Saturday.

The Bobcats also dropped a 42-36 decision to host Buchanan Monday night in the regular season finale for both teams.