Ram Grapplers in 1st in O-K Red, 2nd at Whitehall

James Capp takes down his opponent from Byron Center. Photo by Connie Hill.

By Jim Jakiemiec

Last Wednesday, the Rockford varsity wrestling team hosted conference foe Caledonia. The Rams walked away with a 50-21 win. Coach Brian Richardson was excited with another win in one of the toughest conferences in the state. “I am very happy with this quality win. Caledonia is currently 3rd in the league with some very talented kids. We had some injuries to figure out and we were pleased with the new faces in the lineup, specifically Logan Schwartz and Charlie Feeley. They got a taste of what their future holds with continued hard work.”

Trenton Wachter and Evan Kaser each celebrate their 100th career victory. Photo by Connie Hill

The team competed in the rigorous Whitehall Invitational last Saturday. There were several teams there who are state-ranked in their respective division. The Rams escaped their pool play matchups with some tight wins. They started the day against a solid Byron Center squad. Rockford won a thriller, 38-34. They followed that up with a comfortable 71-17 spanking of Otsego. Allendale also challenged the Rams. They put up 28 points to Rockford’s 36. This set up the championship dual against the host Vikings who are ranked 3rd in Division 2. It was a thrilling dual for all who witnessed it. The crowd saw several ties and lead changes throughout the 14 matches. The final match of the dual proved to be the deciding factor. Whitehall ended up edging the Rams 33-29. Coach Richardson admitted that his team did not meet its expectations for the day. “Anytime you finish 3-1, it’s a good day, but we want the title! We did not live up the challenge. Byron Center, Allendale, and Whitehall all came out aggressively. They figuratively punched us in the face early and often. We didn’t bring our best performances. We gave up too many bonus points in the tight duals.” Richardson went on the say, “I hope we learned a lesson today. Maybe it will be the wake-up call we need going into the heart of the season.”

This week, the team will head to West Ottawa High School on Wednesday for another conference dual. Then, it will be at home for a quad on Friday, which is also Senior night. Linden, Kenowa Hills, and Belding will be there. Wrestling will begin at 5. Then, the Rams will host their annual “B” team tournament on Saturday featuring 8 area teams. Wrestling will commence at 9 a.m.