Heath, Cox, Franco, Simpson win district titles
STEVENSVILLE — It was a good weekend for area wrestlers as they began individual competition at the district level of the state tournament.
Niles led the way with nine wrestlers moving on to the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 regional at Vicksburg on Saturday.
Dowagiac moved eight wrestlers on to the Division 3 regionals, which will be hosted once again by Constantine.
While the Vikings had more wrestlers advance to the regionals, it was Edwardsburg that led the way with three individual district champions — Jackson Hoover (140), Jacob Reece (145) and Dillon Hursh (189).
Niles had just one individual champion as Ryan Franco won the 125-pound title.
For the Eddies, Hoover (31-4) defeated Niles’ Skylar Means (20-12) 5-1 in the championship match. Reece (31-4) pinned Niles’ Kade Wagley (24-9) in 4:57, while Hursh (28-5) won by forfeit over James Campbell, of Mattawan.
Also qualifying for the Eddies were Caden Reece (14-3) and Austin Peacock (27-15). They finished third and fourth, respectively at 171 and 135 pounds.
Franco (28-2) defeated St. Joseph’s Jacob Halsey 3-0 to win his championship.
Additionally, Mike Robley (24-4) was second at 103, Caiden Smith (27-8) was second at 285, Javond Ball (26-4) was third at 135, Chase Andres (16-13) was third at 215 and Hunter Fazi (20-13) was fourth at 152.
Brandywine had a pair of individual champions at Constantine, while Dowagiac had one district champion.
Mathew Cox (31-9) defeated Brandt Lafferty, of Three Rivers, 6-4 at 125 pounds, and Hunter Heath (46-1) defeated Paw Paw’s William Bradley 5-3 for the 140-pound championship.
The Chieftains’ Jordan Simpson (39-5) pinned Ronaldo Vergara,of South Haven, in 1:33 at 103.
Also qualifying for Dowagiac were runners-up Lamberto Paredes (32-11 at 160) and Mike Schlup (23-7 at 215) at 160 and 215, respectively. Tyler Huston (25-18 at 119), Deny White (26-6 at 145), Chris Schultz (17-10 at 215), and Wyatt Bailey (37-3 at 285) all finished third. Alex McIntosh (36-12) finished fourth after an injury default.
Additional Bobcat qualifiers were runner-up Ivory McCullough (37-13) at 171, third-place finisher Drake Heath (38-11) at 103, and Aaron Lauri (29-19) at 119.
Buchanan advanced two wrestlers as Hunter Weinberg (27-18) finished fourth at 112, and Drew Ruth (26-15) was fourth at 160.
Cassopolis made the most of their limited chances as three wrestlers advanced to the Division 4 regional at Mendon on Saturday.
William Westphal (43-5) and Gage Collins (40-7) were both third at 130 and 171, respectively. Collin Bogue (3-7) was fourth at 152.