Roadrunners sweep Harper College, Toledo on the mat

Published 1:11 pm Tuesday, December 5, 2023

DOWAGIAC — The inaugural James Judd Holiday Duals drew a standing-room-only crowd as the Southwestern Michigan College wrestling team hosted its first home match in more than 30 years Sunday.

The Roadrunners, rated No. 15 in the National Junior College Athletic Association rankings, swept Harper College 33-17 and the University of Toledo 54-4.

The event at the 1st Source Bank Fieldhouse drew Southwestern Michigan College alum, current and former area high school wrestling coaches, MYWAY wrestlers and high school wrestlers from around southwest Michigan.

“It was a great day for Jim Judd,” Roadrunner Coach Todd Hesson said. “A well-deserved recognition. A great man that built the foundation of today’s program. A great day for SMC athletics — another sport and another full house the 1st Bank Fieldhouse.”

The SMC sophomores were honored before the match got under way. Hesson said he was pleased to have a home match that honored the late SMC Hall of Fame coach, and for the parents of the wrestlers in a program a chance to come and see them compete a little closer to home.

“For me as a coach I was extremely proud to watch wrestlers and their parents get a chance to be recognized for what they have accomplished off the mat and in the classroom,” he said. “SMC in general and SMC athletics has offered many kids an opportunity that may not have otherwise happen.”

Winning two matches on the day for the Roadrunners were Jordan Simpson (Dowagiac), Colby Klinger (Mattawan), Caeleb Ishmael (Coloma), Hunter Heath (Niles/Brandwine) and Vinny Patierno (Pickney).

Winning one match were Zam Thompson (Eaton Rapids/Lakeshore), Nathan Adrina (Edwardsburg), Seth Onweiler (Beaverton), Trevor Winkel (South Haven), Niko Martinez (Paw Paw), Hector Garcia (South Bend/Riley) and Cole Alsup (Coloma).

The James Judd Holidays Duals also helped out the SMC and local food pantries as fans were asked to bring canned goods or non-perishable food items for donation as admission was free.

“Sports at SMC is great for the community,” Hesson said. “A fantastic day for the kids on the team. So happy for a chance to let them wrestle at home. I was glad we raised donations at holidays was very important at a time when giving is the season.”

The Roadrunners head to Illinois for the Art Kraft Memorial Open in River Grove.