Dowagiac’s Villegas adds regional title to resume

Published 11:10 am Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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CONSTANTINE — Two wrestlers from Dowagiac and Buchanan qualified for the Division 3 Michigan High School Athletic Association State Wrestling Championships at Ford Field in Detroit after finishing in the top four at regionals Saturday.

Dowagiac’s Israel Villegas added a Division 3 Regional championship to his district championship, while Cal Chapman also advanced with a third-place finish.

The Bucks’ Leland Payne and Brayden Sebasty also advanced to the finals, which are March 1-2, both finishing third.

In the 144-pound quarterfinals, Villegas (44-5) won by technical fall (20-5) over Hillsdale’s Miles Brown. In the semifinals, Villegas defeated Braeden Birkhead, of Hartford, 11-6. To win the regional title, Villegas pinned Williamston’s Matt Dion in 2:51.

Chapman (43-8) was 3-1 on the day.

He lost his first match to Clinton’s Hamza Rafferty 3-1 in the opening round, but then rolled off three consecutive wins to advance to the state finals. He pinned Allegan’s Ayden Oisten in 58 seconds in the quarterfinals, and then pinned Columbia Central’s Dylan Boone in 2:33 in the semifinals.

Chapman was able to avenge his opening round match as he defeated Rafferty 5-3 to finish third at 285.

Payne (39-5) was 3-1 at 150 pounds. He defeated Lansing Catholic’s Kai Mishler 8-5 in the third-place match.

Sebasty (37-10) was 3-1 at 165. He edged Michigan Center’s Adrew Beadenkopf 2-1 in the third-place match.


Girls Wrestling

Cinthia Villegas became Dowagiac’s first-ever state qualifier as she finished third at the Gull Lake Regional Sunday.

After receiving a first-round bye, Villegas (17-3) had three pins and a decision to reach the third-place match after falling in the quarterfinals.

Villegas defeated Forest Hills Central’s Ashley Schenck 7-1 to advance to the state finals.

Marcellus advanced a pair of wrestlers as Gabriella Allen captured a regional championship and Madison Harrison finished third.

Allen (22-2) pinned Paw Paw’s Angel Miller in 3:03 to win the 190-pound championship.

Harrison (20-11) pinned Delton-Kellogg’s Olivia Post in 2:57 in the third-place match.