By: Scott Keyes
Elite teams take flight during MYWAY Border Wars
BATTLE CREEK – Christmas came early for wrestling fans at Battle Creek's Kellogg Arena on December 11.
Kellogg Arena was the site of the 2011 Border Wars 6th Annual All-Star Christmas Duals, pitting some of the best middle school and elementary school wrestling teams from across the nation.
In the Middle School Division, there were 12 schools competing from six states (Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania). In the Elementary Division, 12 schools from five states (Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania) hit the mats for a full day of grappling.
For the second year in a row, Indiana Cornstalkers Gold won the Middle School Division with an impressive 42-9 win over Team MYWAY Grappler in the championship match.
“We had a great team assembled,” Indiana coach Chad Red said. “We had a lot of kids on this team that came here last year, so they got used to this tournament, because it's a tough tournament. The kids wrestled well and did it again.”
Leading the way for Indiana Gold was Drew Hughes at 95 pounds and Brock Hudkins at 100. Both wrestlers went 7-0 on the day for their team.
MYWAY Grappler also had some undefeated wrestlers, as Alex Martinez at 105, Devin Schroder at 112, Devon Pingle at 155, and Landon Pelham at heavyweight all finished with 7-0 marks.
The Pennsylvania Punishers did just that to the competition in the Elementary division, punished it.
The team cruised to a 6-0 record and beat Wadsworth Wrestling Club from Ohio 48-26 in the finals.
“This is the second time we have been to this tournament; we were runner-ups last year,” Punishers coach Dave McClenahan said. “It's a great tournament, a lot of good kids and wrestlers. We don't come up here for slackers.”
The Punishers had an incredible six wrestlers who went undefeated on the day: Micah Simmers at 60 pounds, Sam Hillegas at 65, Justin McCoy at 90, Jake Pollak at 95, Greg Dobish at 130, and Chris Hisey at heavyweight.
The Punishers team is a squad built from wrestlers that stretch from western Pennsylvania to the Philadelphia area.
“The quality of this tournament is comparable to ones we see in Pennsylvania,” McClenahan said. “It has national-caliber wrestlers and expected great competitions and got that.”
That was the plan when tournament director Rob Stehley put it together.
“This is one of the best ones we have put on as far as level of competition in the six years,” Stehley said. “The amount of depth and talent was high stretched out over all the teams.”