Rams come up short at OK Red conference tournament
by TIM COOPER and JIM COOPER
The Rockford High School wrestling team fell behind Jenison early in the dual between the two schools on Wednesday, Feb. 1. With the Rams trailing the Wildcats 11-0 after the first two matches, senior captains Austin Scogg (152 pounds) and Danny Apkarian (160) quickly gave Rockford the lead as they each pinned their opponents. A third pin at 171 pounds by Grant Tennihill put the Rams on top 18-11.
Rockford went on to win seven of the final nine matches, to take away a 48-23 victory. In addition to the falls in the middle weights, the Rams added three more. In the 119-pound match, Nate Rojas pinned his opponent in just 21 seconds. Cullen Maksimowski (125) won by fall in 2:33. Tyler VanRooyen (130) pinned his opponent in 2:39.
With the match well in hand, the Rams sent Trent Boyer against fifth-ranked Dylan Wyngarden. Boyer, who has consistently come up big for Rockford this year, once again pulled an upset against a ranked opponent.
“I knew I broke him when I threw him in the first period,” said Boyer. “He ran out of steam as the match went on. I felt stronger and stronger. This is probably the biggest win of my career.”
On Saturday, Feb. 4, the Rams traveled to Hudsonville for the annual OK Red conference tournament. Rockford needed to finish ahead of Grand Haven in order to win the conference crown outright. The Rams came up short, despite placing 11 of their 14 wrestlers.
Brandon Houle (215), Stephen Jendritz (112) and Tennihill all finished in fourth place for Rockford. Taking third-place honors were Robby Gorton at 189 pounds and Jared Bennett at 103. Maksimowski, Boyer, Scogg and Apkarian were runners-up.
VanRooyen won a 7-2 decision over Zach Nystrum of Hudsonville to secure his third OK Red title. Rojas defeated 10th-ranked Zack Henderson of Hudsonville in a stunning upset in the finals at 119 pounds.
“I didn’t expect to win this championship,” Rojas said. “This is the first time I have ever beaten Henderson. This really feels great.”