Chippewa Hills Eyes First State Title
REMUS – A historic 2015-16 campaign that saw the Chippewa Hills wrestling program make its first state final has the Warriors reaching higher this winter.
Now in their 17th season under veteran coach Nate Ethridge, the Warriors have made three state semifinal appearances since 2007 and nine regional championships in nearly two decades with Ethridge at the helm.
Currently ranked fourth in Division 3, Chippewa Hills secured a runner-up finish in Mt. Pleasant last winter, falling to state-power Dundee, 40-16, in the state title match.
Previously 2-8 all-time at the state finals, Chippewa Hills doubled its win a year ago, handing Gladstone (48-24) and Lake Fenton (31-27) losses in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, respectively.
"We’re starting to really get into a groove, and pick up the pace,” senior Austin Spedowski said.
"Our kids just… they train really hard,” added Ethridge. “They do things right, they’re very bought in, and they’re very accountable."
The Warriors have 10 athletes ranked in the latest Michigan Wrestling Association and michigangrappler.com Division 3 individual rankings, with senior Nolan Sexton (140) and junior Jaycob Sharp (145) topping the lists in their respective weight classes.
With its success in 2015-16, Chippewa Hills is not only moving up in the rankings but moving into new digs. The program has moved across the street from the high school and into the old community education building, replacing the previous practice facility that sits adjacent to the football practice field.
"We’ve got our own locker room in here. We’ve got our own bathroom,” Sharp said. “We didn’t really have that in the other one, so it’s definitely a lot nicer. We actually have heat. Sometimes in the winter last year, the heat would not be on, and it gets pretty cold."
Chippewa Hills begins its postseason stay at Division 3 district at Reed City on Wednesday, Feb. 8. The Warriors will be joined by Reed City, Big Rapids and Mason County Central.