By Randy Gregory
Rockford has achieved a fair amount of success across the board in a multitude of sports over the last twenty years or so. The wrestling team has been a big contributor to that success with multiple conference, district, regional and even a state title in the not so distant past. This year the expectations aren’t nearly as high but that did nothing to curtail the ambitions of a program with a proud past and a promising future.
Despite the preponderance of newcomers who will comprise this year’s lineup, the Rams left no stone unturned in looking for challenging early matchups for their charges. The Rams start out with a trip to Greenville to face a perennial power in the Yellow Jackets. They will also participate in quad meets and tourneys against teams from around the state who have been and are expected to be the favorites this time around as well. Trips to Detroit Catholic Central, Howell, Allendale and Holland (Tim Horne Invitational) will feature some of the top individuals and teams that Michigan has to offer. Add in other top tourneys like Portage Central, Comstock Park, Stevensville Lakeshore and our own Rockford Team Tournament and this year’s version of Rockford wrestling will be battle hardened by the time the post season tourneys come around.
“We want to be tried and tested by the time the meat of the OK Red conference schedule rolls around,” said Rockford coach Brian Richardson. “We may take some lumps early but we will have seen a lot of great teams and great individuals by the time we see Hudsonville and Grand Haven and the other good teams who comprise our conference. This isn’t the flashiest team but we are going to do the things we do extremely well when it matters most.”
A positive note for this season is that both the OK Red conference meet and the team districts will be held in the friendly confines of Rockford High School on February first and sixth respectively.
“The difference between the team people see now and the team we will become by the end of the season will be striking,” said Richardson. “It will be a challenge, but Rockford kids have always thrived on challenges and we are all looking forward to the final results.”