Rockford wrestling tops Grandville

Rams get complete effort in dual meet win

by TIM COOPER

Danny Apkarian tries to escape from Hudson's number-one-ranked Joel Varney. Apkarian, ranked ninth in Division I, upset Varney 4-3. Photo by JIM COOPER

When the Rockford Rams took to the mat on Wednesday, Jan. 18 against Grandville, memories of losing to the Bulldogs last year were very strong. This year’s team was determined to prevent history from repeating itself.

The Rams’ scoring opened in the 103-pound match when Stephen Jendritz caught Micah Newton at the 1:07 mark of the first round, giving Rockford a 6-3 lead after two matches. Grandville went back on top with wins at 112 and 119, taking a 10-6 advantage going into the 125-pound match between Rockford’s Cullen Maksimowski and Grandville’s Keedan Hoezee.

Maksimowski, who splits time with Tyler VanRooyen at 125 and 130, dominated Hoezee, taking the Bulldog wrestler to the mat seven times en route to a 19-7 major decision. A Grandville void to Corey Stankus at 130 and VanRooyen’s pin of Jake Brower put the Rams on top for good.

Stephen Jendritz runs a half nelson for a pin against Grandville's Micah Newton. Photo by JIM COOPER

“This was the most complete effort we had all season,” said Coach Brian Richardson, whose Rams won 10 of 14 matches on their way to a 52-14 victory over their arch-rival. “This team is peaking at the right time. We’re glad to be in the driver’s seat of the OK Red.”

On Saturday, Jan. 21, the Rams traveled to Stevensville for a tournament hosted by the Lancers of Lakeshore High School. In the opening round, Rockford faced off with Division IV’s top-ranked team, the Hudson Tigers. The Tigers showed the Rams why they’re ranked number one by beating Rockford 41-16.

Stephen Jendritz runs a half nelson for a pin against Grandville's Micah Newton. Photo by JIM COOPER

In round two of the tournament, Rockford faced the host Lancers for the third time this season. The first dual saw the Rams win by one point on December 23 at Lakeshore’s Alumni Night. The second time around, the Lancers soundly defeated a depleted Rockford squad on January 7 at Howell High School.

In the rubber match between the two teams, Rockford won 30-23. The Rams won nine of the 14 matches, sparked by a VanRooyen pin in the 125-pound match and Trent Boyer’s 9-3 victory, despite battling flu-like symptoms all day. Austin Scogg’s fall at 152 and decisions by Danny Apkarian (160) and Robby Gorton (171) also contributed to the Rams’ victory.

In the final dual of the day, Rockford squared off with the Niles Vikings, downing them 38-33.

Rockford’s 2-1 record on the day gave them a second-place finish. The Rams’ fourth dual, scheduled to be against Mason, was canceled on account of the Bulldogs leaving the tournament early.

Richardson said, “These guys bounced back well after a tough dual meet with Hudson first thing today. We lost a lot of close matches with the Tigers, but the guys put that behind them and wrestled well the rest of the day.”

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