MANISTEE — If Manistee wants to win its first Mid-Michigan Wrestling Conference title, the Chippewas know who they’ll have to knock off.

Manistee opened a tri-meet Wednesday with a 65-18 win against Kingsley to move to 7-0 in conference duals, but lost the nightcap 51-23 against defending Mid-Michigan champion Pine River.

Pine River, which beat Kingsley 63-12, was tougher and Manistee fell behind 12-0 early.

“You can’t leave the matches up to the ref. You can’t say much more than that,” Manistee coach Chris Codden said. “At the same time, I can’t take anything away from Pine River. They’re a tough team, a solid team.”

Manistee and Pine River went to the third round or later in eight of the 14 matches, but the Chippewas didn’t get enough pins, and had too many themselves, to beat the defending champs.

“We were coming in knowing they were the team to beat in the league,” said Pine River coach Tim Jones. “We just had to have some things go our way and they kind of did down low, and that’s what we were looking for.”

Wednesday, the Bucks are home in a quad, which will also feature Reed City. Saturday, the conference meet will be at Pine River. The Bucks are in first place.

“If we take first we take it outright, if someone else wins we share it,” Jones said.