02-20-2020 Tri-City Area Sports

Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant

Wrestlers at team and individual districts

The Panther wrestling team has won two Division 4 team district championships in a row, but the team bumped up to Division 3 this year due to a big jump in high school enrollment, up to about 425 students. That puts the team in Division 3 for the foreseeable future along with all other sports. This is a good enrollment trend for the school itself but makes post-season sports tournaments just a little tougher as Watervliet sits near the bottom of a division full of much bigger schools. For the second year in a row about 70 seniors will graduate in 2020 and the incoming class will be in excess of 110 students, so the trend continues. All indications are that the incoming classes have plenty of athletes to keep the teams competitive.

WATERVLIET WRESTLERS PLACE… SAC Conference Cham-pionships held Feb. 8 at Lawton yielded eight medalists from the Panther wrestling team. Pictured are (from the left): Standing – Royce Daugherty, Isaiah Yazel, Parker Lanning, Jim Kolosowsky and Evan Orlando; Kneeling – Nathan Isbrecht, Trever Pelton and Don Smith. (Photo courtesy of Robert Pelton)

This year the Panthers drove north on Wednesday, Feb. 12 to face host South Haven, where the top two wrestling teams in the district met in the first round of team districts and fought a great battle. The Rams were just a little better, winning seven matches and a void against the Panthers six wins to take the match 42-24 and advance to the finals against Coloma. The Rams won that match 52-28.

In the match with Watervliet, the Rams got several pins and the upstart Panthers only had two pins among the hard-fought wins. The match was closer than the final score would indicate and the Rams coaches were looking just a little nervous in the early going when the Panthers small guys kept winning.

Jimmy Kolosowsky, wrestling up at 119 pounds, won the first match of the evening 8-4. Dominick Morrison won a good 5-0 battle at 125 pounds. Alex Isbrecht won 9-6 with yet another of his dramatic last-moment reversals at 135 pounds. Isaiah Yazel, going at his usual 160, won 7-2. Don Smith got a 189-pound pin at 0:59 and Trever Pelton at 112 pounds got a pin at 0:34.

WIN FOR JIM… Panther wrestler Jimmy Kolosowsky wrestling Corbin Fitch of South Haven in a 119-pound match at the Division 3 team districts on Wednesday, Feb. 12 held in South Haven. Jimmy won the match 8-4. (TCR photo by John Oliphant)

On Saturday, Feb. 15 the team traveled to Constantine for the District 23-3 individual tournament. Just like the team event this new district was tougher and deeper than the Division 4 tournaments of the past several years. Despite the challenge five Panther wrestlers won medals and qualified for the regional tournament to be held this Saturday, again at Constantine.

Trever Pelton (37-4) won the 112-pound district individual championship in a rematch against Coloma’s Caleb Ishmael (39-6). Both wrestlers wanted this one as Caleb had beaten Trever twice this season, 1-0 and 4-2. On Saturday the match was scoreless with just three seconds left when Trever managed to escape from Caleb to score the only point of the match and win 1-0.