By: Seth Kinker,

It’s been a drought, albeit a short one, for the Manchester Flying Dutchmen Wrestling making team states.

On Feb. 13, the Dutchmen defeated Springport 48-18 to secure a top eight placing in the state as a team. The Dutchmen last made it to team states in 2016, falling to Hudson 33-30 in the quarterfinals 

After a forfeit from Laingsburg, who didn’t show up, the Dutchmen awaited the winner of Springport and Flint Hamady. Springport is another division four wrestling powerhouse and earlier this month the Dutchmen were able to see how they stacked up against their regional opponent.


On Feb. 9 the Dutchmen hosted individual districts and Springport was one of many teams there. The Dutchmen qualified all fourteen wrestlers for regionals with eight winning district titles and many of those victories came against Springport wrestlers. 

Last year in regionals, the Dutchmen were eliminated by rival Clinton,  Manchester head coach Steve Vlcek told The Sun Times he thought that was good eye opener for this year’s team. He’s identified this year’s senior class as one that took a big collective leap coming into this year. 

This year, it was all business as Vlcek said he didn’t have to say a whole lot, “they just went out there and did their job.” 

“It’s been very easy with this group,” said Vlcek after the win. “They take care of it for you, all you can do is tweak and polish and get them ready, they follow the lead and I think that comes from good leadership, it’s a real good team. Everyone is there for each other which is a big thing. I don’t think you see that a lot in sports anymore. This isn’t the team w’here I have to sit and harp on stuff. We talk about it and then they nod at me and away we go

The team may be wrestling as well as it has all season, but Vlcek made sure to emphasize the need to be ready for Saturday, Feb. 16 with  individual regionals at Clinton and team finals on Feb. 22 – 23 in Kalamazoo. 

In addition to making it back to team states, Vlcek also earned career win number 600 in his 29thyear as head coach of the team on Feb. 13

“I always tell people I’m a blessed man to be able to get brand new group of sons every year,” said Vlcek. “Everyone asks me how long I’ll coach, I tell them when I don’t enjoy it, I won’t coach or when I’m not doing my job. I don’t want to be the coach that hangs on too long and everyone says, ‘it’s time for him to get out of here.’ It’s a nice milestone no doubt about it. A lot of that credit goes to our youth program, coaches underneath me who develop these kids to the level they’re at before I even get them, my assistant coaches, it takes a lot of people. I’m blessed to have that group of people around me and they keep our program strong.”