Chips’ Ball wins opener; Williams drops first match of state finals

AUBURN HILLS — Manistee’s Adam Ball won his opening match by pinfall in the Division 3 individual state finals on Thursday while teammate Jake Williams fell in an 8-1 decision at The Palace of Auburn Hills

Ball, a senior wrestling in the 215-pound division, pinned Napoleon’s Austin Swaenepoel in the first round to move on to the winner’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament.

“His frame of mind is a little bit different (from last year),” Manistee coach Chris Codden said of Ball’s return trip to the finals after medaling with an eighth-place finish as a junior. “He’s been here before, so he was very carefree and relaxed. He understands what he needs to do, he understands he needs to set the tone right away.

“He put the kid in a cradle, the kid slipped out, then Adam put him in a headlock and stuck him,” he added of the match that went two minutes. “It was a very good, dominant performance.”

Williams, a junior making his debut at the state level, was defeated by Lake Fenton’s Carson Whaley in the 160-pound bracket.

“They had a great strategy,” Codden said of Williams’ opposition. “They got the takedown on Jake, sat on his wrist and stayed there; it was good tactics on their part.

“They never put him on his back; it was all either takedowns or escapes.”

Williams will have to work his way out of the loser’s bracket with little room for error.

“He’s not awestruck, he’s been to big venues before,” Codden said. “He was in a good match and wrestled tough. Can we improve on it? Yes, we can improve on it. Tomorrow we’ll start fresh, and we’ll go from there.”

The event continues today, starting at 8:30 a.m. Ball, who is ranked No. 4 by will wrestle Capac’s Brad Harris while Williams is slated to take on Allendale’s Brandon Dyke.

“The matches that are coming up now are going to be pretty tight,” Codden said. “That’s the way it’s going to be from here on out.”


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