SMC wrestling signs Checkley, Grange

Published 9:32 am Saturday, March 19, 2022

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DOWAGIAC — Southwestern Michigan College Wrestling Coach Todd Hesson announced the signing of two more grapplers as the Roadrunners resurrect its program after 25 years.

Decatur High School’s Jared Checkley and Juan Grange, of Penn High School in Mishawaka, Indiana, have signed National Junior College Athletic Association letters of intent to continue their academic and athletic careers at SMC.

Checkley had an overall current career record of 169-30, starting strong with a record of 36-13 as a freshman. He ranked fifth in the state with a 46-8 record as a sophomore, sixth in the state with a 44-3 record as a junior and seventh in the state as a senior at 43-6.

“Jared was amazing for our program,” said Decatur Coach Mitchell Kennedy. “He was a three-year captain, three-time Most Valuable Player and three-time state placer. Jared not only made an impact on the mat, but has continued to help the program as part of our coaching staff on a state-qualifying team.”

Hesson is familiar with Checkley’s pedigree.

“Jared comes from a family with a strong wrestling background,” he said. “He has benefitted from development in a solid, well-coached program and he has a lot of postseason experience.”

Grange has a career record of 127-23 and was a four-year varsity starter at Penn, serving as team captain for two years. He placed fourth in the 2020 Grappler Fall Classic Elite Division and was named Al Smith Champion and Jim Nickelson Champion in 2021.

Grange is a Northern Indiana Conference champion and earned first team all-conference honors. He is a two-time sectional champion, regional champion and semi-state runner-up and recently finished as 2022 Indiana state runner-up in the 220-pound weight class.

“Juan is a complete wrestler, physically talented and has the experience to back up his ability, Hesson said.

Grange joins Hunter Heath, of Brandywine; Jordan Simpson, of Dowagiac; Caeleb Ishmael, of Coloma; Tyson Ford, of Mattawan; Gavin Parker and Niko Martinez, of Paw Paw and Vince Arebalo, of Crete-Monee as the eighth member of the growing Roadrunners wrestling team.