Rockford wrestlers defeat Grand Haven

Rams face tough competition at Holland Tournament 

by TIM COOPER

Wednesday, Dec. 15, the Rams traveled to Grand Haven to take on the Buccaneers in wrestling action. With the dual starting at 189 pounds, Rockford’s Zach Banaszak stepped on the mat, facing Quintin VanDorn of Grand Haven. Banaszak walked off the mat with a fall 3:27 later, giving the Rams an early 6-0 lead. Grand Haven tied the meet at 6 points each when Jerry Westerman pinned Banaszak’s twin brother Jake in the third period.

Nate Rojas struggles to hold his opponent to the mat. Photo by JIM COOPER

The Rams began to take over the dual meet at the 285-pound weight class, when junior Jake Wilson used 1:19 to defeat Garret Kell. Steven Jendritz kept the momentum going by making short work of the Buccaneers’ Terry Franklin at 103, gaining a pin in only 20 seconds.

At 112 pounds, with Rockford leading 18-6, Nate Rojas built a 16-1 lead on Grand Haven’s Levi Gregory. The 15-point margin gave Rojas a technical fall and put five more points on the Rams’ total. Following Rojas’ match, freshman Terry Gant of Rockford received his first high school win with a 12-6 decision over Eric VanHorssen in the 119-pound match.

Junior Tyler VanRooyen bumped up to 125 pounds for the dual. With 16 seconds remaining in the second period, he pinned Josh Jucartz’s shoulders to the mat for the fall, giving the Rams a 32-6 lead halfway through the dual meet.

The Rams received decisions in five of the remaining seven matches, building a 47-6 lead before losing the final two matches of the dual to make the score 47-15.

“We received a great effort from our young kids tonight,” said Coach Brian Richardson. “The underclassmen really stepped up and responded.”

On Saturday, Dec. 18, the Ram wrestlers again traveled to the Lakeshore for the 40th annual Tim Horn Memorial Windmill City Classic Wrestling Tournament at Holland High School. Each year the tournament features many of the top ranked wrestling teams in the state. This year, the defending Division II champion St. Johns Redwings and defending Division IV champion Hudson Tigers were among the teams at the prestigious invitational.

Danny Apkarian works to get out from underneath his Bedford opponent. Photo by JIM COOPER

The Rams advanced to the semifinal round by defeating Grand Rapids Catholic Central 60-12, Holland 38-31, and Marshall 78-0. Rockford fell in the semifinal match to top ranked St. Johns. The mid-Michigan powerhouse was dominant, as they downed the Rams 57-12.

In the final dual meet of the day,

the Rams again suffered defeat, this time at the hands of the fifth ranked Temperance Bedford Kicking Mules, losing 45-18. Rockford finished fourth in the tournament.

The Rams travel to Eastern Michigan University on Wednesday, Dec. 29 for a tournament hosted by Canton High School.

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