By: Seth Kinker, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Manchester Flying Dutchmen Wrestling team continued a successful week on Feb. 6, capturing their 13thconsecutive district title at East Jackson against fellow Cascades opponents East Jackson and Grass Lake.
On Feb. 4, the Dutchmen earned their 11thconsecutive Cascades title after making up their last league match that was rescheduled due to a snow day.
On Feb. 6 the Dutchmen defeated host East Jackson, 70-12, before defeating Grass Lake 84-0 with both teams having many voids.
“It felt good to finish all four years (as district champs),” said senior Travis Withrow, who went 2-0 on the day. “All the work in the room didn’t go for nothing.”
“Just a really good group of kids,” said Manchester head coach Steve Vlcek, in his 29th year as head coach. “We’re just really balanced. We talked about it the other day at practice we’ve probably had eight or nine kids win a tournament.”
“We wanted to work on team bonding and wrestling as one and not just as individuals,” said Withrow on what the team worked on this year. “It can be an individual sport but it’s a team process.”
While winning handily, the Dutchmen were able to wrestle with wrestlers who didn’t make as many trips to tournaments this year or didn’t have as many matches.
“That’s what they’ve earned,” said Vlcek on those wrestlers. “That’s important to us they get a little bit of it. You gotta get these kids chances because they’re there every day. If you preach if you gotta put them out there.
The win puts the team one step closer to an annual goal, making it back to team states. 2016 was the last time the Dutchmen made it and will likely face either Springport or Napoleon this year to make it to team states.
“It’s just working on the mental state,” said Withrow on making it back to states. “We all have the ability to get there. We just need to do the best we can and not psyche ourselves out.
On Saturday, Manchester hosts individual districts at home.