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By: Seth Kinker, skinker@thesuntimesnews.com

The Manchester Flying Dutchmen Wrestling team’s team season came to a close on Feb. 22 in Kalamazoo at the Wings Event Center, host of the 2019 Michigan High School Athletic Association Wrestling team states. 

The No. 5 seeded Dutchmen faced another wrestling powerhouse in division four in No. 4 New Lothrop, falling 37-22

Jacob Shelby (130), Jacob Kurgin (145), Max Wagner (152), Nick Phillips (160), Jake Bunn (103), and Jared Bunn (112) all picked up wins for Manchester with Kurgin and Phllips recording pins. 

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“Our kids came to wrestle and we got beat by the better team today,” said Manchester head coach Steve Vlcek. “They had little bit more firepower than us, but our kids were definitely in the matches. They’ve been there the past couple years and we haven’t. Some of that could’ve been nerves but I think you see some of the emotion on our kids’ faces and that’s what you expect. Be disappointed and upset but be proud of where you’re at.”

“It’s no different than when we got our tails kicked against Clinton in regionals last year,” added Vlcek. “I think it was sort of a wakeup call to them. It’s sort of a process sometimes, now I think the four-team seeded above us are better than us.” 

Although not the ideal end to the season, the team achieved the goal of making it back to team states for the first time since 2016 and still finished as one of the eight best teams in the state. They also still have a program record 12 wrestlers traveling to Ford Field next week for individual states. 

“It was a great showing for the kids (today),” said Vlcek. “I think for the guys going for individuals next week its a good little tune up, light a fire. It’s a good thing. I’m proud of them it’s been a fantastic year.”

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