Waldo joins elite company with fourth title by TIM COOPER On Thursday, March 12, 896 wrestlers from four divisions walked the floor of the Palace of Auburn Hills in the opening ceremonies of the state individual wrestling championships. Among them were eight hopeful young men from Rockford. Attendance was an all-time high with 43,454 tickets sold for the weekend. In an opening round that saw the Rams earn an amazing 28 takedowns, while giving up none, all eight advanced to the quarterfinals on Friday, March 13. At the end of the second round of competition, seven of the eight were still standing. Only CJ Scholl (152) had dropped into the consolation bracket with a heartbreaking 10-9 loss to Tyler Romijn of Temperance-Bedford. In what was the final match of his high school career, Scholl found himself nursing an injured shoulder and trailing Walled Lake Central’s Don Kril 10-1. Late in the third period, Kril gave up a penalty point by illegally slamming Scholl to the mat. Though Scholl could have used this penalty to advance to the next round, he chose to end his career with true character and allowed Krill to advance in the competition. In Friday’s semifinal round, Zach Johnson (140) felt a similar heartache when he lost 2-1 to Charlie Cordero of Rochester Hills’ Stoney Creek. Coming this close to a state championship, the Ram wrestler showed his determination by battling back in the consolation brackets. In the first round of consolations, Johnson faced a familiar foe in OK Red conference runner-up Nick Bohn of East Kentwood. Just as Johnson had done several times during the season, he dominated Bohn, winning 11-4.
Battle Creek, Kellogg Arena March 6 and 7 On Friday, March 6, the top-ranked Rockford Rams placed their hopes and a 23-2 record on the line in a single elimination tournament for the team wrestling state championship. In round one, the Rams faced the 31-7 Roseville Panthers. As the Rams have done most of the season, they dominated their opponent, winning 10 of 14 matches with four of them by pin. The Rams earned a 46-21 victory and a birth in the semi-finals Saturday with Lake Orion. The Dragons advanced by upsetting fourth-ranked Detroit Catholic Central 42-27. In a dual meet that saw the Rams and upset-minded Dragons exchange leads several times, it was the role-players who would shine. Though Tyler Johnson (145), CJ Sholl (152), Zach Banzak (189) all lost their matches, they saved valuable team points by only giving up decisions and nine team points, helping to keep the Rams in the hunt. Trailing 24-21, with two matches remaining, heavy-weight Jesse Somsel won a 10-0 major decision over Lake Orions Tyler Benson, giving Rockford a narrow 25-24 lead. The hopes of advancing to the final round landed on the smallest Ram in the lineup, Tyler VanRooyen (103). Although small in stature, VanRooyen carried the weight of his team to the mat in a winner-take-all battle. At the 4:30 mark of the match VanRooyen became the biggest Ram, recording a 16-0 technical fall over John Atwater. VanRooyens five team points brought the score to 30-24, placing the Rams in the championship finals against defending state champion, Holt. Rams found themselves in similar circumstances in 1997 when they lost to defending champion Holt 30-25 because of disqualification due to a bloody nose. In that match the Ram heavyweight Ben Miller was ahead in the match but unable to stop a bloody nose, causing his disqualification and a Holt victory. Like twelve years ago, Rockford is ranked number one in the state and Holt is ranked number two. Holt was also the defending state champion and Rockford was hungry for the win. Unlike 1997, bloodtime would not be a factor. With the starting weight drawn at 112 pounds, B-team wrestler Alex Padilla of Rockford entered the lineup for the injured Charlie Hall. Padilla fell to Ben […]
On Wednesday, Feb. 25, Rockford High School hosted the High School Regional Wrestling Team Tournament. Rams first faced Grand Haven in a dual meet with the winner advancing to take on the winner of the Jenison and Portage Central dual meets. With a starting weight of 152 pounds, CJ Scholl of Rockford went to the mat facing Evan Ingalls. With neither wrestler gaining an advantage in the first period, the two grapplers took a 0-0 tie into the second. Early in the second period, Scholl used a stand-up to escape from Ingalls and begin scoring on a regular basis. Scholl took his opponent to the mat, building a three-point lead before Ingalls was able to score on a reversal. Scholl quickly reversed Ingalls, giving the Ram a 5-2 lead. Ingalls escaped from Scholl, putting both wrestlers back on their feet. The Ram wrestler continued to show his dominance by taking the Buccaneer back to the mat and turning him for a two-point near fall as time expired. With a 9-3 lead at the start of the third, Scholl continued to build his advantage by taking a stalling point. Scholl used two more takedowns to build a 14-5 advantage and the win, giving the Rams a 4-0 team score. At 160 pounds, Jake Johnson used two takedowns in the first period against Taylor Collard, giving him a 4-1 advantage after two minutes. In the second, Johnson reversed Collard for two points before giving up a second point to Collard for stalling. In the third, Johnson took Collard to the mat three times, releasing him each time, giving Johnson a 12-5 victory. The team score stood 7-0 for Rams. Jake Dorulla (171) placed his number-one ranking on the line against Grand Haven’s number-three-ranked Chris Lucas. In the first period, Dorulla showed why he’s held the number-one spot in the state all season. Using a single leg at the whistle to score a two-point takedown, Dorulla quickly turned Lucas for a three-point near fall. Lucas was able to scramble away from a pinning situation only to have Dorulla turn him again for a two-point near fall as time ran out. In the second, Dorulla started on the bottom, escaping from Lucas and building an 8-0 lead. Dorulla took […]
by TIM COOPER On Wednesday, Feb. 18 at Kentwood High School, the top-ranked Rockford Rams faced Grand Ledge in district dual competition. The district consisted of Rockford, Grand Ledge with the winner facing East Kentwood. Leading off for the Rams at 140 pounds was Zach Johnson facing Josh Vaillencourt. In a short and sweet match Johnson tidily disposed of Vaillencourt in 51 seconds with a fall. At 145 pounds Bruce Carlstrom took on Corey Knapp of the Comets. In a match that would go the full six minutes, Carlstrom came away victorious with an 11-4 decision, giving the Rams a 9-0 lead. CJ Scholl (152) was up next for the Rams, facing Ethan Schulert. Scholl jumped to a quick 2-1 lead in the first after taking Schulert to the mat and releasing him. Scholl carried the lead into the second and at the 2:41 mark turned his opponent to the mat, securing the fall. The win brought Rockford to a 15-0 lead. At 160 pounds, Jake Johnson carried a 7-1 lead through the first against Grand Ledge’s Wade Smith. In the second period Smith chose the down position, reversing Johnson only to have the tables turned as Johnson reversed Smith and turn Smith’s shoulders to the mat for the pin in 3:31. At 171 pounds Paul Crieghton came up from his usual B team spot to face the comets John Cosgrove. Creighton kept the mat close as the first period ended in a 3-3 tie. The second period saw Creighton in the up position and Cosgrove reversed for two points, giving him a 5-3 lead going into the third. In the third period Creighton scored one point on a technical violation for locking hands. Time expired with Creighton trailing 5-4, putting Grand Ledge on the board with a team score of 3 to Rockford’s 21. Rockford spent the next few matches racking up plenty of points. The Rams began their tear with a pin by Zach VanAzak (189) at 5:50. Voids by Grand Ledge at 215 pounds and 285 pounds Tyler VanRooyen used just 17 seconds to pin his Comet opponent in the 103 pound weight class. The match was followed by a void in the 112-pound weight class, bringing the team score to 51-3 […]
On Wednesday, Jan. 21, Rockford made their first of two trips to the lakeshore to do battle against Grand Haven. Zach Johnson started out at 140 pounds and received a void because of a coaching decision by Grand Haven Coach Jamie Richardson. Tyler Johnson, dropped down from 152 pounds to 145 pounds. Using a late third-period reversal won his match 2-0 over Grand Haven’s Jack Dempsy, giving Rockford a 9-0 lead. Bruce Carlstrom put in a strong match at 152 pounds, and lost to Tyler Collard 10-2. At that point Grand Haven was within five points of Rockford with a score of 9-4. Jake Johnson (160) was next, taking on Tyler Kaffenberger. Falling behind early in his match 2-0, Johnson turned the tables, only giving up five more points the rest of the way and winning 16-7. At 171, Jake Dorulla continued his winning ways, building the Ram lead with a 12-2 major decision, making the team score 17-4. Zach Banazak (189), stepping up from the B team, faced a very tough Grand Haven opponent, losing his match with a 6-5 score. Banazak moved up to the A team because of a possible season-ending injury to Jarod Dubay, who broke his arm during practice when another wrestler fell on him. At 215 pounds, Joe Stephanski won his match by a fall in 1:30, bringing the Ram lead to 16. At this point the team score was 23-7 for Rockford. At the heavyweight division, Jesse Somsel took just 1:08 to pin his opponent, giving the Rams a 29-7 lead. Tyler VanRooyan (103) gave up the first takedown to the Grand Haven wrestler. He was able to reverse the situation, only to give up an escape to fall behind 3-2. Just as the first period was about to end, VanRooyan made a wonderful double-leg takedown to pull ahead 4-3. In the second period, a technical violation by the Grand Haven wrestler and an escape by VanRooyan made the score 6-3. Choosing the top position for the third period, VanRooyan exposed his opponent’s shoulders to the mat, giving him an 8-3 lead and the victory. Kyle Hurley (112), another B team wrestler stepping up to varsity, went the full six minutes, losing to Grand Haven’s Vanderhyde 11-3. The […]