STEVENSVILLE — Lakeshore wrestlers captured their first team regional title in six years in dominant fashion here Wednesday night.
Veteran coach Bruce Bittenbender’s Lancers, rated No. 6 in Division 2, disposed of Coldwater 70-4 in the championship match, after beating Mattawan 56-16 in a regional semifinal.
“After seeing them (Coldwater) on Saturday at individual district, on paper I had it like 36-30 coming in here,” said Bittenbender, whose squad is now 21-1. “They had nine regional qualifiers, but our kids just went out there and rolled it up.
“This is beyond anything I ever expected beating another conference champion in such a dominant way,” added Bittenbender. “But they were without their tough 215-pounder, who was ineligible for violation of their school athletic code. Sometimes that sets the whole mode for these things.”
Lakeshore will be one of eight teams competing in the Division 2 state quarterfinals at 6:45 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23 at the Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo. Their opponent will be determine Sunday evening when the teams in all four divisions will be seeded by the Michigan High School Athletic Association.
The state team semifinals will be on Saturday, Feb. 24, with Division 2 and 4 at noon. State championship matches in all four divisions are slated for 3:30 p.m.
“I feel we should be a top three team, seeded No. 2 or 3,” added Bittenbender.
“Its exciting when you get to this level of the state team tournament,” noted Bittenbender, who now has 911 career dual meet wins, the most in state history, but has never won a state team championship. “It feels great and our fans don’t have to travel to Central Michigan (Mount Pleasant). Now we’re only an hour away down I-94.
“These guys have never been to state as a team,” he added. “We had to get through that tough district against Niles, which was rated No. 7.”
In its regional title tilt, the Lancers got off to a quick start, winning the first eight matches for an insurmountable 43-0 lead. That included four straight pins by Zeke Rohl at 215, heavyweight Tyler Hill, 103-pounder Bailey DeLaTorre and Riley Bettich at 112
After Coldwater’s Damian Cole won a 13-2 major decision over Sam Price at 135, the Lancers rattled off five more wins including pins by Kearri Myrick at 145 and Alec Austin at 152, plus two more forfeits.
In its victory over Mattawan, the Lancers won 10 of 14 matches including pins by Jake Taylor (171), Zeke Rohl (215), Tyler Hill (285), Riley Bettich (112), Shane Williams (125), Tony Williams (140), and Cody Carlisle (160).
Lakeshore 70, Coldwater 4
189 — Ryan Rush (L) by forfeit; 215 — Zeke Rohl (L) p. Connor Hanna 2:19; 285 —Tyler Hill (L) p. Clark Cole 1:28; 103 — Bailey DeLaTorre (L) p. Marshall Joard 0:42; 112 — Riley Bettich (L) p.Zeke Nowicki 1:44; 119 — Jon Gelesko (L) m.d. Zoe Nowicki 11-1; 125 —Shane Williams (L) d. Hamza Muflihi 3-1,
130 — Justin Crowder (L) by forfeit; 135 — Damain Cole (C) m.d. Sam Price 13-2; 140 — Tony Williams (L) by forfeit; 145 — Kearri Myrick (L) p. Carter Hoard 1:49; 152 — Alec Austin (L) p. Matt Gipple 1:14; 160 — Cody Carlisle (L) by forfeit; 171 — Jake Taylor (L) d. Zach Miller 6-3.
Lakeshore 56, Mattawan 16
171 — Jake Taylor (L) p. Justin West 3:30, 189 — Ray Atkinson (M) d. Ryan Rush 9-4, 215 — Zeke Rohl (L) p. Parker Hamel :36, 285 — Tyler Hill (L) pins Aidan Calderon :14, 103 — Bailey DeLaTorre (L) by forfeit, 112 — Riley Bettich (L) p. Dawin McClish 3:38,119 — Cameron Sanderson (M) d. Austin Whitman 9-4,
125 — Shane Williams (L) p. Logan Mevin 1:46, 130 — Peter Deatow (M) p. Case Rohl :34, 135 — Sam Prince (L) d. Garret Mahoney 9-6, 140 —Tony Williams (L) p. Justin Ringling 1:36, 145 — Kearri Myrick (L) tf. Andrew Ropp 10-2, 152 — Tyson Ford (M) md. Alec Austin 9-0, 160 — Cody Carlisle (L) p. Seth Bunce 2:33.
Other semifinal — Coldwater 48, BC Harper Creek 30