Magnificent Seven

Rams advance to state team wrestling tournament

February 25, 2010 // 0 Comments

Rockford sends seven to individual state competition by TIM COOPER In the opening round of the team regional competition, Rockford faced a familiar foe when they wrestled the Wildcats of Jenison. Rockford had beaten Jenison 42-19 in a dual meet in the middle of December. The Rams continued to show their dominance over the Wildcats, winning nine of 14 matches and racking up a 48-21 team score to advance to the finals where they faced the number-one-ranked Lowell Red Arrows. Lowell advanced by beating West Ottawa on their side of the bracket. In the finals, Zach Banaszak (189) fell in a 14-5 decision to Lowell’s Ryan Olep, giving Lowell an early 4-0 team lead. At 215 pounds, Rockford’s Joe Stefanski wrestled district champion Gabe Dean (189). Dean, who had moved up one weight class, was trying to upset Stefanski. In a match that went four periods with a tied score at 4-4, Stefanski and Dean wrestled for the takedown. With three seconds remaining in overtime, Stefanski used a double-leg takedown, scoring two points and winning in sudden victory. The 285-pound match was one Lowell was expected to win. Most pundits across the state had Lowell’s Connor Cruse pinning the much smaller Banaszak. Banaszak kept the match close for the full six minutes, but fell in a 4-2 decision, giving the Red Arrows a 7-3 team score lead. Tyler VanRooyen pinned his opponent in 55 seconds, giving the Rams the first lead of the night, 9-7. With bonus points at a minimum in this dual meet, VanRooyen’s pin would prove to be the only pin of the evening for either team. The big surprise of the evening for Lowell was seeing Rockford’s “Chubbs” Johnson walk to the mat for the 112-pound match. Johnson, who has been injured most of the season, was excited to be back in action. Building an 11-2 lead after the first period, Johnson cruised through the next two periods, building a 16-7 lead after six minutes. Johnson’s major decision gave the Rams a 13-7 advantage over the Arrows. Lowell proved that they deserve the number one ranking by climbing back into the dual meet at the 119-pound match, where the Red Arrows’ Calvin Meyer defeated Rockford’s Chris Barrentine with a 14-6 major decision. […]