by TIM COOPER Following a brutal tournament at East Kentwood in the opening weekend of the 2011-2012 wrestling season, the Rockford Rams hosted their first dual meets on Wednesday, Dec. 14. In the opening meet of the evening, Rockford battled with the OK Red conference foe Panthers of West Ottawa. The Panthers jumped out to an early 14-3 lead, winning three of the first four matches. The Rams’ sole victory, 103-pound Jared Bennett, defeated West Ottawa’s Ivan Hernandez 5-0. Rockford started to roll in the 125-pound match when Tyler VanRooyen pinned Panther Mitch Beckman in 50 seconds. The Rams received a 6-1 victory from Nate Rojas at 130 to bring them within two points of West Ottawa. When Cullen Maksimowski defeated Clayton Castro 13-5, the Rams went on top for good. Rockford continued their dominance as they won the following seven matches to close out the dual and take a 44-14 OK Red conference victory. In addition to VanRooyen’s fall, Dan Apkarian pinned Joel Munoz in 1:44 at 160, and Robby Gorton added a fall at 189 as he defeated Justin Rich in 1:59. In Rockford’s second duel of the night, the Rams took on the Forest Hills Central Rangers. Once again, Rockford found themselves battling back after falling behind early, as the Rangers opened up a 13-0 lead after the first three matches. VanRooyen again ignited the Rams, this time with a 5-2 decision over the Rangers’ Steve Emery. Rockford won eight of the last 10 matches, en route to a 35-22 victory. Coach Brian Richardson said of his Rams, “I am very happy about tonight. West Ottawa was very tough. The boys gave a great effort. Freshman Grant Tennihill gave us two big wins tonight.” Richardson also gave high praise to the senior leadership on the Ram squad. On Saturday, Dec. 17, the Rams traveled to Holland High School for the Tim Horn Memorial tournament. This tournament put the Rams into action against some of the top teams in the state of Michigan. Following a first-round bye, Rockford wrestled St. Johns, the top ranked team in all divisions. A void at 103 and a 5-0 decision at 130 from VanRooyen were the only victories the Rams received against the overpowering Redwings. St. Johns […]
On Wednesday, March 16, Rockford wrestlers Austin Scogg and Eric Vander Stel were recognized for their accomplishments. Scogg earned MVP for the 2010-2011 varsity wrestling season for his hard work, talent and leadership. He has been a mentor to the Rockford wrestling team and like a big brother to Vander Stel. Vander Stel earned MVP for the 2010-2011 junior varsity wrestling season. His hard work ethic and respectful attitude earned his teammates’ approval. Led by Coach Brian Richardson and his assistants, the Rockford wrestling team has a high standard for leadership and team spirit that is seen through every member on the squad. With leaders like Scogg, Tyler VanRooyen and the JV teammates, they carry guys like Vander Stel on their shoulders without a second thought.
Scogg wins state championship for his mom by JIM COOPER A state championship is never a small feat. The hard work that goes into winning a title can never be emphasized enough. Unquestionably, it’s one of the greatest accomplishments most athletes who do will ever achieve. But sometimes, it’s much more than just a state championship. Sometimes it’s more than the medal and the fanfare. When Rockford junior Austin Scogg won the state individual championship at 152 pounds in Auburn Hills on Saturday, March 5, no superlative could describe the power of the moment. In December, Scogg’s mother, Renee, was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer. Her doctor scheduled surgery at the most immediate time available. She’s been undergoing chemotherapy since then. While, for many competitors, that might be a hindrance to their performance, it helped Scogg intensify his focus. “Ever since I found out about my mom having cancer, I’ve been wrestling for her,” said Scogg. “I’ve been trying to put a smile on her face.” It wasn’t hard to tell she had a huge smile on her face as Renee danced and cheered wildly in the stands after her son’s match at the Palace of Auburn Hills. But why not dance? In that moment, all the pain and fatigue of her battle with cancer was nonexistent. For the entire Scogg family, on that night, the worries were gone. It was the perfect distraction from the reality of their situation. It wasn’t only a distraction for Renee. It was therapeutic, as well. “Watching Austin wrestle the last few months has given me something else to think about,” she said after the medal ceremony. Scogg’s father, Andy, was also beaming. “We couldn’t be more proud of Austin,” he commented. “It’s great to see him realize his dreams, even through the adversity he’s faced. When he was a little kid, I asked him where he wanted to be. He said, ‘In a gym, on the wrestling mat.’ I asked him why, and he said, ‘To get a medal.’ He’s done that.” Ram wrestling coach Brian Richardson acknowledged Scogg’s accomplishment as one of the most special thing’s he’d ever been a part of. “A championship is always a big thing,” Richardson said, “but when a kid faces […]
Team season ends by TIM COOPER The Rockford wrestling team entered their regional competition on Wednesday, Feb. 16, looking for a way to make up points against Hudsonville, who beat the Rams 39-20 two weeks prior. Knowing that, Coach Brian Richardson adjusted his lineup in hopes of obtaining more favorable match-ups. Hudsonville grabbed an early lead, winning the 145- and 152-pound matches, putting the Rams down by nine. Rockford got on the board in the 160-pound match when Austin Scogg outworked opponent Zach VanEss before pinning him at the 5:42 mark. Hudsonville increased their lead by four with a major decision in the 171-pound match. Robby Gorton, at 189 pounds, brought the Rams to within one point by pinning Todd Holstege in 1:33. Freshman Brent Showers gave Rockford its first lead of the dual with a 15-0 technical fall over Dallas Dickson. Taylon Nuyenhuis put the Eagles back on top 19-17 with a fall in 2:16 over Jake Wilson. Steven Jendritz kept hope alive in the 103-pound match by pinning Victor Urzola, giving the lead back to the Rams at 23-19. An 11-5 decision by Zach Henderson over Rockford’s Nate Rojas in the 112-pound match pulled the Eagles to within one. A decision at 119 pounds by Cullen Maksimowski over Matt Igo, followed by Tyler VanRooyen’s major decision over Zach Nystrum, gave the Rams an eight-point lead with three matches remaining. Hudsonville won the remaining three matches, giving them a 37-30 victory, and a place in the regional finals against Grand Haven. Grand Haven advanced to the finals by beating East Kentwood 36-29. Hudsonville defeated Grand Haven 35-33, moving them on to Battle Creek for a shot at the team state championship. “We had our chance tonight,” said the Rams’ Coach Richardson. “These kids have seen adversity all season long. Our senior captains did the best tonight to give us a win. Mike Rottier of Hudsonville is a good coach. That’s a well-coached team.” On Saturday, Feb. 19, six Ram wrestlers traveled to East Kentwood for the individual regional competition. Scogg advanced through the championship bracket, beating Spencer Hill of Midland Dow in the opening round, and Jenison’s Trevor Dunham in the semifinals. Scogg’s semifinal victory was his 100th career win. In the finals, Scogg […]
Rams crown two champions at OK Red conference tournament by TIM COOPER The Rams started out in a hole, after the Hudsonville Eagles won the first two matches of the dual meet between the two teams on Thursday, Feb. 3. In the 140-pound match, Carl Nystrum of Hudsonville pinned Mick DeBoer in 1:42. At 145 pounds, Rockford’s Peter Nugent battled hard with highly ranked Jared Zimmerman. Nugent kept the match close for six minutes, falling to Zimmerman, 9-6. Rockford’s Austin Scogg, at 152, gave the Rams their first points of the evening when he scored a 12-3 major decision over the Eagles’ Ryan Luyke. Rockford’s Dan Apkarian gave up an early five points to Zach VanEss in the 160-pound match. Apkarian battled back, tying the score, when he escaped VanEss early in the third period. The two wrestlers went back and forth before VanEss walked off the mat with a 16-11 decision, increasing the Eagles’ lead. Robby Gorton added six to the Ram total, with his fall over Dallas Dickson in 3:42 seconds, making the team score 15-10. The Eagles added nine points to their lead with victories at 215 and 285 pounds. Rockford pulled within 10 when Steven Jendritz (103) dismantled Austin Bechler in a 14-0 major decision. A 13-4 major decision by Cullen Maksimowski at 119 pounds, followed by a 7-2 decision by Tyler VanRooyen over Zach Nystrum at 125 pounds, helped to pull the Rams to within seven. Hudsonville won the final two matches by fall, giving them a 39-20 victory over the visiting Rams. On Saturday, Feb. 5, the Rams traveled to Grand Haven for the OK Red conference tournament. Rockford’s A. Scogg put together a fine day, making his way into the finals, where he defeated East Kentwood’s Niko Parks in a 4-2 thriller at 152 pounds. In the 119-pound weight class, VanRooyen reached a milestone on his way to the finals. He earned his 100th win when he defeated Austin Stine of Jenison in the semifinals. VanRooyen then faced Grand Haven’s Josh Juchartz in the final round, defeating him 6-2, and earning a conference championship. Two other Ram wrestlers made their way to the finals. Nate Rojas (112) lost 7-4 to Hudsonville’s Zach Henderson, and Maksimowski (125) lost […]