Dowagiac makes it two straight in rivalry match

Published 6:57 am Friday, December 15, 2023

DOWAGIAC — The second Black & Blue Rivalry on the Mat wrestling meet between Niles and Dowagiac was not nearly as exciting as the inaugural version.

Last year, the Chieftains pulled out a 42-36 victory over the Vikings as AJ Munson came up with a pin in the final bout of the night.

There were no such dramatics Wednesday night at the 1st Source Bank Fieldhouse on the campus of Southwestern Michigan College as Dowagiac defeated a short-handed Niles squad 60-24.

The Chieftains won 10 of the 14 weight classes en route to the victory. All of Dowagiac’s wins came via pin or forfeit.

“I think it went fairly well,” said Dowgiac Coach Colin Burandt. “We had a big crowd and there was some good wrestling. Our guys came out aggressive and physical.”

Burandt was also pleased with the improvement his squad has made throught eight matches.

“We have new guys in our lineup and some guys who are still trying to get down to weight,” he said. “Those new guys showed improvement in physicallity and technique. Our returning guys are smoothing things up with their technique and really looked good. Our stamina looked good.”

The match got off to a strange start as Niles’ Sam Rucker won by injury default over Tim Masterman, who suffred a cut to his head that the training staff from both high schools, along with Southwestern Michigan College, could not stop before injury time expired. 

The win by Rucker cut the Chieftains’ lead to 12-6 as Dowagiac received back-to-back forfeits at 165 and 171.

The Chieftains would win the next four weight classes to take control of the match.

Isiah Hills (215), Cal Chapman (285), Markus Ottinger (106) and AJ Munaon (113) all pinned their opponents.

Lloyd Brown finally stopped the winning streak withh a win by forfeit. Dowagiac would get a forfeit in the next weight class. After Nathan Smith picked up a pin at 132, the Chieftains would win the next three bouts with Cameron White (138), Jacob Villegas (144) and Israel Villegas (150) getting their hands raised following pins.

Niles would get one last victory at 157 pounds when Toney Boyne won by forfeit. Dowagiac would post back-to-back forfeit victories to contlue the match.

During the nine exhibition matches that kicked off the match, both Dowagiac and Niles showed off its growing girl wrestling team members.

“Our girls are doing awesome,” Burandt said. “They wrestled up some weight classes today to just get some matches in. I hope to have more girls in the future and keep that aspect of the program going to eventually have a full team.”

Dowagiac improved to 5-3 overall, while the Vikings dropped to 1-3 on the season.