Eddies sweep Paw Paw, Niles; Chieftains earn a split

Published 6:17 pm Thursday, January 6, 2022

DOWAGIAC — The Edwardsburg wrestling team remained atop the Wolverine Conference standings with a sweep of Niles and defending league co-champion Paw Paw Wednesday night.

The Eddies defeated the Vikings 60-20 in the first round before knocking off the Red Wolves 33-30 in a match that was not as close as the final score.

Veteran Edwardsburg Coach Jesse Becraft said the night did not go exactly as he expected.

“That was a tough one,” he said. “On paper, I thought they were probably favored, but we had some great performances, especially after we lost at 215 and heavyweight. That gave us a scare because we didn’t know what was going to happen after that.”

What happened after that was the Eddies won the next six bouts, including pins by Keegan Parsons and Nick Eaton at 125 and 130.

Before the six-bout winning streak, Edwardsburg and Paw Paw were deadlocked at 9-9. When the smoke cleared and the two teams headed into the 140-pound bout, the Eddies led 33-9. The Red Wolves were able to make the score more respectable down the stretch, but once Colten Strawderman was able to go the distance at 145, the final outcome was decided.

Dowagiac split its matches with the Red Wolves and Vikings. Paw Paw defeated the Chieftains 52-20, while Dowagiac rebounded to edge Niles 41-39.

Veteran Dowagiac Coach Colin Burandt went into the match knowing his squad would have to wrestle extremely well to come away with a pair of wins.

“We wrestled okay,” he said. “We came out flat. We finished the night strong. Again, we need to clean some things up and keep learning.”

The Vikings jumped out to a 21-0 advantage on the Chieftains as Niles’ Sam Rucker defeated Andrew Hartman 2-0 at 171 pounds before Bradyen Zimmerman pinned Dowagiac’s Brayan Parades in 3:46 at 189 pounds. Niles’ Isaiah Moore received a forfeit at 215 pounds.

Niles capped its four-bout winning streak at 285 pounds when Dan Gaya stuck Cal Chapman in 49 seconds.

After Dowagiac and Niles split matches at 103 and 112 pounds, the Chieftains went on a winning streak of their own.

A.J. Munson put Dowagiac on the board with a pin of Kaleb Miller at 103, while Niles’ Conner Pickens pinned Nick Green at 112.

Down 27-6, the Chieftains would win the next six bouts — four via a pin — to catch and surpass the Vikings.

Jordan Simpson pinned Niles’ Carson Rachels at 119 before Jorge Rivera pinned the Vikings’ Miguel Vaizquez Aguado at 125. Israel Villegas pinned Niles Cam Hamilton at 130, and Pedro Brito pinned the Vikings’ Jetson Rodgers at 135.

Dustin Sirk received a forfeit at 140 pounds before Zach Gettig defeated Niles’ Alex Cole by technical fall to complete the run for the Chieftains, which left them leading the Vikings 41-27.

Niles’ Julian Flewellen-Means pinned Nicholas Schultz at 152 and the Vikings’ Ezra Vance won by forfeit to complete the match.

Against Paw Paw, Dowagiac picked up wins at 119 with Rivera (pin), at 125 with Simpson (pin), at 130 with Villegas (pin) and at 135 with Sirk (pin).

Burandt was pleased with how the lower-half of his lineup performed.

“The bright spots were from 103 to 152,” he said. “We wrestled well. We are doing our job at that point and scoring the points where we need to and getting the wins.”