Chips eye first conference title

Manistee’s Daylan Hill wrestles in a match against Ludington on Dec. 10, 2012. Hill and the Chippewas will host Pine River and Kingsley in a Mid-Michigan Wrestling Conference tri-meet tonight. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate file photo)

Host Pine River, Kingsley tonight in tri-meet

When Manistee wrestling coach Chris Codden was hired in 2007, three goals to be accomplished were presented for the program.

The Chippewas wanted to be represented individually in the state finals, win their first district title, and top the Mid-Michigan Wrestling Conference.

“The only thing that has eluded us so far is conference,” Codden said of the team’s accomplishments. “So, that’s definitely still on our radar.”

Tonight, Manistee will attempt to take a big step in completing the checklist in a tri-meet against fellow unbeaten conference members Kingsley and Pine River, starting at 6 p.m.

“The kids are focused,” Codden said. “We’re fine tuning some things that we felt needed fine tuning from this weekend, and from there, we’re going to put our best men or women on the mat.

“We’re going to give 100 percent and hopefully come away with two wins.”

Since the Chippewas joined the conference, Pine River has been the team to beat.

“They’ve been the champion as long as I’ve been in the conference,” Codden said of the Bucks. “Pine River is definitely a very good, top of the line competitor.

“Kind of like us, they’ve got a great youth program,” he added. “Their middle school program is one of the best in the area, and it gives them an edge on a lot of different teams.

“They’ve got a good system.”

Today’s tri-meet will close out the regular conference schedule, with the tournament on Saturday, Feb. 2 at Pine River. Individual medals and the team trophy will be presented at the tournament, which usually reflects what happened in the regular season.

“The regular season conference champion will obviously be decided (tonight),” Codden said, “but the individual and team champions will be crowned at the conference tournament. It’s typically been the same team, so tonight will be a good indicator.

“And I think it’s going to be a good match,” he added. “Like I tell the kids every day, we control our own destiny and only about 2 percent (more effort) will separate the winner from the loser.”

With one of its deepest lineups yet, Manistee has been preparing for conference and postseason action by traveling to heavily competitive tournaments this season. The Chippewas have certainly held their own, and can only benefit from the challenge, according to Codden.

“I don’t think you can set yourself up any better than what we have,” he said. “We’re in a good place right now, and with that said, we’re as ready as we’re going to be heading into (tonight).”

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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