Mishawaka (IN) and Lowell have been taking turns crossing the Michigan/Indiana state lines to wrestle one another for a half dozen years.
During that time, the traditional wrestling powers have also taken turns at being recognized nationally for their excellence on the mat.
This year it was Lowell who entered the match as a defending state champion (Division 2), with returning state champion wrestlers and ranked nationally (16th).
“A few years ago that was us,” said second-year Cavemen wrestling coach Charlie Cornett. “We want to return to that.”
His Cavemen competed but were not quite able to match the strength of the Red Arrows.
Lowell won seven of the final nine matches en route to a 38-25 win.
“The boys stepped up tonight and came away with a victory against a tough wrestling team,” said Lowell wrestling coach R.J. Boudro.
The Red Arrows grabbed an early 3-0 lead when Austin Engle earned a decision at 160 pounds. Mishawaka then rattled off three straight wins at 170, 182 and 195 pounds.
Lowell’s Josh Colegrove (220) ended the run when he posted a pin at 3:06 of the second period against Tanner Bradley.
Logan Wilcox (HWT) followed suit with a second-period pin (2:58). Kyle Washburn added a 12-5 decision at 113 pounds and Lucas Hall (120) ran the win streak to four with a pin at 2:18 of the second period, giving Lowell a 25-13 advantage.
“We have big expectations for Wilcox and he’s been huge for us early on,” said Boudro. “I think we’re all getting spoiled by Hall and what he brings to the mat.”
Aaron Ward (126) increased Lowell’s lead to 16 at 29-13 with a 11-3 win over Devin Beaver.
The two teams split the final four matches with Mishawaka earning pins at 132 (Francisco Ortiz) and 152 pounds (Tommy Forte).
Lowell, meanwhile, benefitted from Zeth Dean’s (138) technical decision (15-0) and David Kruse’s 9-1 win at 145 pounds.
“Zeth is ranked fourth in the state and has just been an animal out there on the mat,” Boudro explained.
Cornett explained that the loss to Lowell exposed his club’s need to work on some basics and to wrestle smarter. “We’re still pretty far away from where we want to be. That’s why we wrestle teams like Lowell, if you want to be the best you have to wrestle against the best.”
For Lowell, it marked the send straight week it has wrestled under different weight classifications.
“Only in Michigan do we still wrestle under the old national federation weight classes,” Boudro explained. “I think everybody else changed to the new weight classifications back in 2011.”