STEVENSVILLE — Lakeshore’s wrestlers got Niles coach Todd Hesson to wave the white flag even before their SMAC West Division championship match started here Wednesday night.
Coach Bruce Bittenbender’s Lancers waltzed to a 49-15 victory as Hesson did not put four of his top grapplers on the mat.
“I chose to keep them out,” said Hesson of his decision not to wrestle Mikey Robles (103), Jordan Zimmerman (112), Ryan Franco (130) and Javond Ball (135), all state-rated grapplers.
“We’re going to see Lakeshore a lot, and I don’t need to see them more than we do,” added Hesson. “We came in here tonight to see where some of our other kids are at, and if we win our tough district we’ll see Lakeshore again in the (team) regional.
“I realize they won the SMAC West Division, with this win,” noted Hesson. “They’re a good team and I don’t know if we can beat them. But at least we figured some things out tonight.”
“I don’t understand it,” Bittenbender said of Hesson’s decision. “He must have had a reason for doing it, but it’s something I would never do.
“We had a big crowd here tonight expecting to see a close meet,” added Bittenbender. “It had to be disappointing for them.”
The meet started at 140 pounds and the Lancers won 10 of the 14 matches, including pins by Shane Williams (140), Taylor Lucas (103), Cameron Litaker (112), Jonathan Gelesko (130) and a forfeit win by Zeke Rohl for his 100th career victory.
“Winning West Division team titles is always one of our goals,” noted Bittenbender, who praised his squad’s effort despite the Vikings’ make-shift lineup. “(Tafara) Rukunda at 171 and (Jonathon) Gelesko (125-30) are both really coming on.”
Niles’ only pin came from heavyweight Caiden Smith.
The victory improved Lakeshore, this week’s No. 7 rated D2 team, to 5-0 in the West and 16-1 overall. No. 10 rated Niles, the defending West Division champions, fell to 4-1 and 13-6.
The conference meet is Saturday at Portage Northern.
LAKESHORE 49, NILES 15
140 – Shane Williams (L) p. Skyler Means 3:23; 145 – James Harris (L) m.d. Kade Wagley 12-3; 152 – Sam Prince (L) d. Conner Tibbitts 4-3; 160 – Hunter Fazi (N) d. Connor Noonan 7-0; 171 – Tafara Rukunda (L) d. Jesus Mango-Garcia 3-1; 189 – Darian Sosa (N) d. Diego Avello 3-1 (OT); 215 – Zeke Roll (L) by forfeit;
285 – Caden Smith (N) p. Malachi Bell 2:30; 103 – Tyler Lucas (L) p. Grace Wickler 1:50; 112 – Cameron Litauer (L) p. Camron Hamilton 0:34; 119 – Carson Landon (N) d. Kyle Stampfly 5-1; 125 – Aaron Lucio (L) m.d. Justin Peagon 15-6; 130 – Jonathon Gelesko (L) p. Blake Mann 0:37; 135 – Micah Hanau (L) t.f. Tevon Livingston 15-0.
Records – Lakeshore 5-0 SMAC West, 16-1; Niles 4-1 West, 13-6.