Coloma reached the final with a 54-27 win over Benton Harbor. South Haven won its semifinal 33-25 over Berrien Springs.
Coloma (14-16) advances to face Dowagiac in next Wednesday’s regional at Lake Odessa Lakewood.
“Going into regionals, we’re going to have to stay off our back if we want a shot at winning,” Ashley said. “There’s going to be a lot of tough teams there. I know (Dowagiac is) wrestling tough right now and they’re looking good.”
Ashley singled out Ian Ishmael (135), Cody Reese (140), Jamane Smith (189) and Cole Alsup (285) as his team’s top wrestlers. All four won both their matches by either pinfall or forfeit.
The Comets also had two pins each from Noah Mort (130) and Alec DeLaTorre (145). Michael Case (152) had a pin and a forfeit win.
Though South Haven and Benton Harbor both struggled against the Comets, the two had encouraging seasons as they look to rebuild their programs.
The Rams had back-to-back technical fall victories against Coloma by Trevor Winkel (112) and Drake Stolt (119). Other winners were Jackson Calvert (171) and Preston Calvert (215)
“We’re pretty excited with the direction we’re headed,” South Haven coach Brad Adamson said. “Last year we had four kids out. This year at least we’ve increased those numbers. We’re still very young, we’re made up of mostly freshmen and sophomores. We’re looking pretty good going into next year.”
South Haven’s semifinal win over Berrien Springs included just three contested matches. The Rams’ lone winner was Hunter Lynch (140). The highlight was a back-and-forth battle at 119, where the Shamrocks’ Chequannis Eddie defeated South Haven’s Drake Stolt 20-18.
Benton Harbor (9-15) had first-minute pinfall wins from Farrall Boyd (119) and Richard Holmes (215). Marlon Bowman also won at 125.
“We had a couple freshmen and first-years wrestle tough today,” Benton Harbor coach Ryan Berry said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get the ‘W’, but the kids have been working hard all year long so it’s hard not to get your hopes up. Coloma was the favorite, but the kids went out there and wrestled their toughest.”
Berry was pleased with the team’s progress in his first season as coach, including the nine dual wins.
“It’s been a really long time since Benton Harbor’s won a dual,” Berry said. “Half the battle is getting kids into the lineup. We were able to accomplish that this year.”
Contact: bsanders@TheHP.com, 932-0366, @HPBenSanders