by RANDY GREGORY
The Rockford varsity wrestling team will begin the season the same way they traditionally have with the Orange & Black Meet at home on Thursday, November 29th at 6:00 P.M. The meet allows wrestlers to challenge each other for the coveted “A” spot on the varsity team for the regular season opener at Lakewood High School on Saturday, December 1st for a team tournament.
By now the Rams are used to having double digit wrestlers join the team a little later with the annual success of the football team cutting into the training time for a dozen or so wrestlers. This year is no different as the football season just concluded in the semifinals on Saturday, November 17th.
Coach Brian Richardson expects somewhere around forty to forty-five wrestlers to comprise this year’s team. And he expects as well that there will be heated competition for several weight classes along the way.
“I think that this year will be a chance for some kids who have worked their tails off wrestling in “B” competitions to finally get their chance to shine,” said Richardson. “We really don’t expect any of the incoming freshmen to make a major splash this year, but by the same token you just never know.”
The Rams began the wrestling season with a “kids night out” on Friday, November 16th at the Freshman Center. That particular night features the varsity wrestlers hosting hordes of the younger Rams who hope one day to wrestle for the Rams at the high school level. Around 30 of the varsity Rams put their younger charges (about 60 first through eighth graders) through the paces of an entertaining and educational night both for the younger and older grapplers.
“That was a wonderful way to begin this year for everyone concerned,” said Richardson. “It has become an annual event for us as well and it is a valuable teaching tool and a fun experience for everyone concerned. It is wonderful to see the interaction between the younger and older kids.”