Jim Cooper

Ram wrestler rises through adversity

March 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

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 […]

Rockford wrestling falls to Hudsonville

February 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

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 […]

Rams wrestlers ground Falcons

January 27, 2011 // 0 Comments

VanRooyen only Ram in finals at Holt tournament  by TIM COOPER The Rams fell behind the East Kentwood Falcons early in their dual meet on Wednesday, Jan. 19. Matt Franklin put his Falcons up 6-0 when he pinned Rockford’s Danny Apkarian early in the first period of their 160-pound match. Rockford tied the scored at six apiece after decisions in the 171- and 189-pound matches. At 171 pounds, Robby Gorton won a 6-2 decision over Ernie Morton. At 189, Brady Gent won his match over Zac Tinerella, 3-2. East Kentwood (EK) took the lead back after the 215-pound weight class, when Jesse Keenan defeated Brent Showers 10-7, making the team score 9-6. Jake Wilson of Rockford defeated Phil Morrow, 11-7, allowing the Rams to knot the score at 9. Rockford took its first lead of the night when 103-pound Steven Jendritz edged Charlie Hang in a 6-4 overtime decision. Hang had defeated Jendritz earlier this season when the two wrestled at the Kent County Classic. The Rams took a 24-9 advantage into the 125-pound match, following a 1:59 second pin by Nate Rojas over Curtis Blackwell in a 112-pound match and a void for Tyler VanRooyen at 119. EK cut the Rockford lead by three when Anthony Hang won a 6-3 decision over Cullen Maksimowski. At 130 pounds, Rockford’s Trent Boyer gave up an early takedown to pass regional qualifier Anwar Munye. Boyer battled back in the second period, receiving two near-falls and taking a 5-2 lead into the third period. Boyer built on his three-point lead in the third period, finishing with a 13-2 major decision. “I didn’t think I would beat him,” Boyer said. “The first time I tilted him, everything changed. It made me more confident. The second turn was when I knew I could win.” The Ram lead was extended further as Alex Padilla (135) and Mick DeBoer (140) both received voids, giving Rockford a 40-12 lead. Austin Geerlings of EK used 5:54 seconds to pin Peter Nugent, leading into the final match of the night. The 152-pound match between Rockford’s Austin Scogg and EK’s Niko Parks was tied 4-4 after regulation. The two would battle another two minutes in overtime, with Scogg scoring three points in the final 30 seconds […]

Orange and Black kicks off Rockford wrestling season

December 9, 2010 // 0 Comments

Rams shine at Comstock Park Tournament by TIM COOPER On Thursday, Dec. 2, the Rockford Rams opened the wrestling season with the annual Orange and Black intrasquad competition. Each year, this scrimmage decides who will wrestle in the varsity lineup for the Rams. All members of the wrestling team compete in wrestle-offs during the first few weeks of practice to determine who will participate in the Orange and Black meet. Unlike years past, where Rockford had many returning champions, this year’s edition returns only two state championship-qualifying wrestlers in juniors Tyler VanRooyen and Austin Scogg. Freshman Steven Jendritz won by major decision over sophomore Andrew Vanos. Jendritz will take over the 103-pound spot vacated by VanRooyen, who has jumped up to the 119-pound weight class. Returning to the varsity lineup at 112 pounds is sophomore Nate Rojas, who defeated freshman Aaron Stack by fall in 1:29. Rojas wrestled at 112 pounds last year, and is looking to stay in the starting lineup all season in 2010-2011. At 119 pounds, VanRooyen defeated freshman Terry Gant in the second period by way of pin. This season marks VanRooyen’s third year in the varsity lineup. VanRooyen is Rockford’s only returning All State wrestler. The Rams have another returning starter at 125 pounds, as junior Cullen Maksimowski is trying to stay healthy for the entire season. Maksimowski suffered a devastating injury at the Holt Invitational last year when he broke his arm, requiring surgery and ending his season. Maksimowski defeated Eathen Weaver to earn the position. Junior Trent Boyer will join Maksimowski, as he was unopposed in the Orange and Black. Boyer saw limited action in the varsity lineup last season. Senior Alex Padilla defeated freshman Braden Zych with a fall (3:29) in the 135-pound match. Padilla was in the varsity lineup full time as a freshman, but saw limited time the last two seasons. At 140 pounds, another senior, Mick DeBoer, built an early 12-point lead over junior Jacob Dollaway, before sealing the match with a pin in 2:29. Senior Peter Nugent defeated sophomore Wade Harrier by technical fall 17-2 at 145 pounds. Ram fans may remember Nugent, who saw limited time in the varsity lineup last year, including wrestling in last year’s regional finals with Lowell. Nugent’s […]

Rams fall in semifinals

November 24, 2010 // 0 Comments

Rams fall in semifinals Last-second touchdown ends Rockford’s season by TIM COOPER  With 1:39 seconds remaining in the game, Rockford quarterback Mark LaPrairie saw Neil VanderLaan racing toward the end zone. With the Rams trailing 13-10 to the Plymouth Wildcats, LaPrairie threw into double coverage. As VanderLaan did many times this season, he out-jumped the defenders, tallying his 13th touchdown reception of the season. The Ram faithful had their first celebration of the afternoon, a celebration that would change to devastation just 69 seconds later, when Plymouth quarterback Shaun Austin found his go-to receiver Brennan Beyer in the back of the end zone for the final score of the day, giving the Wildcats a 20-17 advantage with 4.7 seconds remaining on the clock. Most of the season, Rockford Coach Ralph Munger spoke of trying to get off of page one of his playbook. During the second half, Munger finally turned the page, using a play on which LaPrairie handed the ball to Brandon Lubenow, who pitched the ball to VanderLaan, who then tossed the ball across the field and back to LaPrairie. LaPrairie spotted Landon Dubes all alone at the Plymouth 20-yard line. Dubes pulled down the perfect pass and walked untouched into the end zone, pulling the Rams to within three points. As they had done most of the afternoon, the Ram defense stopped the Wildcats on drive after drive, keeping the hope alive. With big hits by Brett Egnatuk and Anthony DeDamos, the Rockford defense showed Plymouth that they had come to play. Linebackers Egnatuk and Tyler Pratt disrupted the Wildcats’ run game, forcing Plymouth to pass the ball. When Plymouth quarterback Austin dropped back to pass, the Ram defensive line forced him to scramble time and time again. The strong defensive play allowed the time that was needed for the Ram offense to get into sync, leading up to the go-ahead touchdown in the late stages of the game. However, it all changed on the Wildcats’ last possession. After the kickoff, Plymouth went 83 yards on 10 plays in just 1:09; the final play being Beyer’s game-winning touchdown reception. “Obviously, Beyer is an outstanding athlete,” said Munger. “[Austin] made a heck of a throw, and he made a great catch, with two […]

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