No. 6-seeded Chieftains set to face No. 2 Dundee

Published 9:06 am Thursday, February 21, 2019

DOWAGIAC — For the second straight year, the Dowagiac wrestling team has advanced to the Division 3 state quarterfinals at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo Friday night.

Last year, the Chieftains shocked Lake Odessa-Lakewood in the regional finals to earn its first trip to the state finals in more than a decade.

Dowagiac was the No. 6 seed and faced No. 3 seed Remus Chippewa Hills in the quarterfinals.

Chippewa Hills eliminated the Chieftains 47-21 to reach the semifinals before being eliminated by No. 2 Richmond.

Dowagiac is the No. 7 seed this year and will face No. 2 seed Dundee in the quarterfinals at 4:30 p.m.

The winner advances to the noon semifinals against either No. 3-seeded Whitehall or No. 6-seeded Alma.

Dowagiac coach Colin Burandt, now in his fourth season, knows that his team will have to wrestle the match of its year to knock off Dundee, which is the defending state champion.

Dundee defeated Comstock Park 59-6 last year in the quarterfinals before defeating Whitehall 67-3 in the semifinals and Richmond 40-15 in the Division 3 title match.

Burandt said that the seeding was fitting for the Chieftains.

“We had a couple of bad losses,” he said. “With the bottom four seeds, we are all pretty equal. When it comes down to the committee, you never know what they are going to deem as good wins or bad losses.”

Despite making back-to-back state final appearances, Dowagiac has been unable to crack the state rankings, something that also could have hurt the Chieftains in the seeding process.

“It factors in a little bit,” Burandt said. “A lot of teams that are ranked in Division 3 are in the same area and wrestle each other.”

Burandt said that Dundee is a young, but experienced team.

“They are solid fundamentally,” he said. “They are a young team, but they only graduated two or three from last year and only gotten better.”

Dundee, which has won 17 consecutive regional championships, defeated Williamston 55-16 in the finals to advance to Kalamazoo.

According to Burandt, Dundee had seven wrestlers in the regional final last weekend. He is hoping that they will be looking past Dowagiac Friday afternoon.

“Depending on where they slide their line-up, key matches could be at 103, 119, 160 and 171,” he said. “Hopefully we can catch them off guard because they are looking past us. They are looking to win another state championship. You only get one weigh-in, so you weigh in so that you match up with the team you think you will see in the finals. Maybe we can catch them with people weighed in in the wrong spots.”

Burandt knows his team will be more relaxed this year when they walk onto the floor to wrestle, although that really was a non-factor last year.

“I feel like last year we really didn’t get that deer in the headlights look,” he said. “We usually show up to wrestle when it matters most. We like being on the big stage. But having been there last year should make us a little more confident.”