Chippewa Hills wrestling a model of consistency
REMUS – For more than a decade now, the Chippewa Hills wrestling program has been the model of consistency.
Under the tutelage of coach Nate Ethridge, the Warriors have dominated the Central State Activities Association, capturing eight regional titles and securing a pair of state semifinal appearances (2007, 2015) along the way.
"Our biggest thing is and was to build a culture of wrestling and to get everybody to care about and buy in to what we do,” said Ethridge, who is in his 16th season at Chippewa Hills. "We’ve really been blessed here to have a lot of great people that have made this what it is.
"We’ve had tons of examples of kids who have never wrestled until they were in ninth grade, being state placers, being state champions. We kind of pride ourselves in taking kids that just want to work hard.”
Ranked second in Division 3, Chippewa Hills recorded two of its biggest wins in program history earlier this month, besting two of Division 4’s best, Hudson and New Lothrop, which have combined to win the last seven Division 4 state championships.
The Warriors are accomplishing all of that with a relatively young lineup.
"We’re real young,” said senior Brendan Berry, ranked seventh at 189 pounds. “There’s a ton of freshmen and sophomores and they’re stepping up and getting the wins that we need, or bailing some bonus when we need it. So that’s big."
After reaching the state semifinals for only the second time in program history a year ago, Chippewa Hills has its sights set on winning the team’s first state title.
"As a team, we have really high goals. Obviously, to do better than we did last year and hopefully make it to the state finals,” said senior Slade Todd, ranked fifth at 140 pounds. “We have a really tough team to do it, so I think we can do it."
The Warriors begin their postseason run on Feb. 11, hosting a three-team district with Reed City and Big Rapids.