Sports Three Rivers Commercial-News, Penny Saver, & Sturgis Sentinel

TR wrestling wins first team district championship since 2014

By Robert Tomlinson
News Director

THREE RIVERS — It’s been a season of historical happenings for Three Rivers’ wrestling team.

Last week, the team won its first Wolverine Conference title since 2004 with a dominating performance at the conference tournament in Niles. This week, more history was made as the Wildcats won their first Division 2 team district championship since 2014, shutting out Sturgis in the district finals by a convincing score of 82-0.

“This was a good start to the postseason, for sure,” Three Rivers wrestling coach Jeff Smith said. “It kicks you off on the right note, hopefully we stay on this. It’s not going to get any easier, we know that.”

Prior to the district finals, Three Rivers defeated Niles 78-3 in the district semifinals. Sturgis defeated Edwardsburg 42-39 to make it to the finals.

TR won all but two of its matches in the finals by pin, with Sturgis voiding at 175 pounds to give Three Rivers six points, and Brody Morrill winning by major decision 9-1 to pick up four points.

Three Rivers’ Landon Moreland (top) attempts to pin his Sturgis opponent in the 150-pound matchup in Saturday’s Division 2 Wrestling Team District Finals in Three Rivers. (COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON)

Winning by pin for Three Rivers were Landon Moreland (150), Braylon Faile (157), Louis Smith (165), Jeremiah Detwiler (190), Jaxon Smith (215), Sam Reynolds (285), Kale Parr (113), Jak Monroe (120), Gaven Babcock (126), Ethan Moreland (132), Ayden Keller (138) and Carter Hensley (144). All pins except for Faile’s happened in the first period; Faile’s occurred in the second period.

Some of the more impressive pins of the day were Parr’s pin with one second left in the first period, and Ethan Moreland’s pin at 132, where he pulled off a reversal and a pin in the dying seconds of the first period which excited both the home crowd at the Purple Palace and the Three Rivers bench, who mobbed him after the match in excitement.

Smith praised Ethan Moreland, who normally wrestles in the 126-pound weight class, for his hard work to move to 132 pounds and take the match.

“I thought it’d be a really good match. He was looking forward to it; when you go up a weight class and wrestle an upperclassman, for Ethan to ask to do that shows a lot of character for sure,” Smith said.

Three Rivers’ Carter Hensley brings down his Sturgis opponent in the 144-pound matchup in Saturday’s Division 2 Wrestling Team District Finals in Three Rivers. (COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON)

Three Rivers moves on to the regional round, where they will face off against Stevensville Lakeshore in the Division 2 regional semifinals Wednesday, Feb. 14 at Jackson Northwest High School in Jackson at 5:30 p.m. in a bid to try to win their first regional championship since 2001. Jackson Northwest will take on Harper Creek in the other semifinal, with the final scheduled for 7 p.m. that evening.

Smith said he looks forward to his team taking on Stevensville in the next round.

“We’ll get to see them individually on Saturday and watch them wrestle, so I’m looking forward to it,” Smith said, referencing Saturday’s individual wrestling districts at Stevensville Lakeshore. “It’s just another opponent; if we wrestle the way we’re capable of wrestling, our toughness and attitude, I think we’ll be just fine.”

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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