Dowagiac celebrates 60th high school wrestling season
As Dowagiac embarks on yet another high school wrestling season, the school took time in the matchup with Edwardsburg to remember its past.
The first home meet of the season celebrated the 60th season of the Chieftains' wrestling program.
“The wrestling program here is outstanding," said athletic assistant Monica Deer. "This season alone, they’ve started out great.”
One by one, former Dowagiac wrestlers were introduced from all eras, from the first-ever team to some who graduated recently.
“Once you’re a wrestler, it’s a family. You never forget that you’re in this family and we all relate to each other," said Mike Shearer, the first Chieftain to win a state championship. "It brings back a lot of memories, a lot of good times. It’s great to see everybody … It’s a good rich tradition.”
That rich tradition has been documented through the years, and the alumni got to relive the accomplishments, even if the school's current construction status made that task a little more difficult.
“Things have been put in storage," said Deer, "so our coach literally had to go in the warehouse and climb in the rafters to pull out all of the awards and find all of the newspaper clippings."
However, the night wasn't just about the past, but rather connecting all the generations on the mat.
"[For current athletes] to see the awards sat out and to see what the history is, I think it means a lot and shows them what it means to have Chieftain pride and being proud of the team they’re on,” said Deer.
“It’s a small community," said Shearer. "Everybody knows everybody. It’s just one of those towns that everybody comes out and supports you.”
Dowagiac did fall to Edwardsburg, but another bright spot on the night came when Chieftain Kody Walker picked up his 100th career win.