Dowagiac’s Villegas headed to Southwestern Michigan College

Published 12:29 pm Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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DOWAGIAC — Israel “Izzy” Villegas, of Dowagiac Union High School, has signed his National Junior College Athletic Association letter of intent to for Southwestern Michigan College this winter.

Villegas has a career record of 135-33, going 49-7 in his senior season while winning district and regional championships. He has qualified three times for the MHSAA Division 3 State meet, placing fifth in the state this year.

Villegas is the fifth member of the 2024-2025 recruiting class, joining Alex Saldana, of Hartford; Dayveon Rupert, of Battle Creek Lakeview; Trent Mansfield, of Gobles; and Michael Gonyeau, of Plainwell.

“I have watched Israel the last couple of years,” said Roadrunner Coach Todd Hesson. “He has a unique, unorthodox style and is very athletic on the mat. We think his funky style will work really well at the college level.”

Dowagiac Coach Colin Burandt said he looks forward to seeing what Villegas will do at the next level.

“Izzy is a great young man with a bright future,” he said. “He was an exciting and fun wrestler to watch throughout his career. Myself and the Dowagiac wrestling community are looking forward to watching his success happen in our own backyard at SMC.”