Rams crown two champions at OK Red conference tournament
by TIM COOPER
The Rams started out in a hole, after the Hudsonville Eagles won the first two matches of the dual meet between the two teams on Thursday, Feb. 3. In the 140-pound match, Carl Nystrum of Hudsonville pinned Mick DeBoer in 1:42. At 145 pounds, Rockford’s Peter Nugent battled hard with highly ranked Jared Zimmerman. Nugent kept the match close for six minutes, falling to Zimmerman, 9-6.
Rockford’s Austin Scogg, at 152, gave the Rams their first points of the evening when he scored a 12-3 major decision over the Eagles’ Ryan Luyke.
Rockford’s Dan Apkarian gave up an early five points to Zach VanEss in the 160-pound match. Apkarian battled back, tying the score, when he escaped VanEss early in the third period. The two wrestlers went back and forth before VanEss walked off the mat with a 16-11 decision, increasing the Eagles’ lead.
Robby Gorton added six to the Ram total, with his fall over Dallas Dickson in 3:42 seconds, making the team score 15-10. The Eagles added nine points to their lead with victories at 215 and 285 pounds.
Rockford pulled within 10 when Steven Jendritz (103) dismantled Austin Bechler in a 14-0 major decision.
A 13-4 major decision by Cullen Maksimowski at 119 pounds, followed by a 7-2 decision by Tyler VanRooyen over Zach Nystrum at 125 pounds, helped to pull the Rams to within seven. Hudsonville won the final two matches by fall, giving them a 39-20 victory over the visiting Rams.
On Saturday, Feb. 5, the Rams traveled to Grand Haven for the OK Red conference tournament. Rockford’s A. Scogg put together a fine day, making his way into the finals, where he defeated East Kentwood’s Niko Parks in a 4-2 thriller at 152 pounds.
In the 119-pound weight class, VanRooyen reached a milestone on his way to the finals. He earned his 100th win when he defeated Austin Stine of Jenison in the semifinals. VanRooyen then faced Grand Haven’s Josh Juchartz in the final round, defeating him 6-2, and earning a conference championship.
Two other Ram wrestlers made their way to the finals. Nate Rojas (112) lost 7-4 to Hudsonville’s Zach Henderson, and Maksimowski (125) lost 9-2 to Jenison’s Trent Samuels. Both wrestlers turned in fine days, finishing second.
Bringing home third-place medals for the Rams were Trent Boyer (130 pounds), Apkarian (160), and Gorton (171). Coming in fourth were Jendritz (103), DeBoer (140), and Nugent (145).
As a team, Rockford finished fourth in the tournament.
Coach Brian Richardson commented after the tournament, “We had a good day, placing ten of fourteen wrestlers. I’m very proud of Tyler and Austin. They were in control of their matches all day long. Those two continue to set a great example for the rest of the team.” Richardson also said he’s happy with the performance of Gorton and Apkarian.
On Thursday, Feb. 10, the Rams will be in Traverse City for their team district meet. The Rams will return to Grand Haven on Saturday, Feb. 12, for the individual district tournament.