The Rams placed 13 regional qualifiers (the most in school history), and also saw five Rams earn District Titles. ~ Contributed Photo
GRAND HAVEN – The Rams wrestling team traveled to Grand Haven for the MHSAA Individual Wrestling District 3-1, Saturday, Feb. 9, and came home with some impressive stats. The Rams placed 13 regional qualifiers (the most in school history), and also saw five Rams earn District Titles. Those Rams earning district crowns were: Trenton Wachter (125), Connor White (140), Jack Richardson (145), Noah Anderson (160), and Tyler Waterstrat (189).
“I felt that the team wrestled as well as they have all year, and we’ve been pretty fortunate so far, so that’s saying something,” shares head coach Jack Richardson. “We were able to set a school record by moving 13 wrestlers on to the Individual Regional. That was such an awesome thing to watch. The team not only wrestled their butts off, they really rallied around each and every team member to support them. As a coach you strive for that, and I was humbled to see them come together so well. We had five champions, of which the school record was six done in 2006/07.”
The day was an exciting one, as the Rams showed themselves to be a force to be reckoned with.
At 125 Ashton Halland (28-17) fourth place. Ashton received a bye in the first round, and then topped Kaden Morgan of East Kentwood TF at 2:23 (16-1). He then fell to Hunter Nykamp of Hudsonville Fall 3:46, to drop to the Consolation bracket. He then topped Quinten Curtis of Jenison in a 15-11 Decision, and then topped Anthony Allen of Muskegon in a 9-5 Decision to advance. In the Consolation finals, he fell to Pervez Naemzada of Grand Rapids Union to earn fourth place.
At the 130-pound weight class Trenton Wachter (44-1) claimed first place, Trenton received a bye in the first round, then topped Caledonia’s Jonah Siekman in a 7-1 Decision. Trenton then topped Sam Scott of Grandville in a Fall at 2:49, and finally overpowered T’Darrius Trice in the finals with a Technical Fall at 6:00 (20-3).
The 135-pound weight class was exciting for Ram fans as two Rockford wrestlers made it to finishes, wrestling most of the same wrestlers. Evan Kaser (36-9) wrestled his way all the way to second place, while Jack Tadych (28-8) claimed third. Kaser made quick work of beating his first opponent, pinning Lucio Torres of Grand Rapids Union at just 1:18. He then faced off against Zach Jenks of Hudsonville and earned a 14-0 Major Decision. He topped Anthony Taylor of Grandville 5-2 to make it to the finals. In the finals he faced Cameron Ensign of Hudsonville and fell in a 10-3 Decision to claim an impressive second place. Tadych fell to Anthony Taylor of Grandville in his second round after receiving a bye. He then wrestled Jenks of Hudsonville and topped him in a 5-0 Decision. He then gave the Ram fans an exciting match, bringing down Zach Boersen of Grand Haven in a 5-4 thriller. In the Consolation Finals, he faced off against Taylor again, but this time he took him to the mat, earning a 15-9 Decision and a third-place finish.
Connor White (38-5) claimed first in the 140-pound weight class. Traverse City Central’s Amadeus Vazquez didn’t even know what hit him when Connor pinned him at :24. Connor then faced Anthonie Taylor of Grandville and topped him by a 9-6 Decision. He then faced Hunter Derry of Traverse City West in the finals, and pinned him at 1:40 for the title.
Jack Richardson (38-3) easily worked his way through his bracket at the 145-pound weight class. He registered two pins – one over Traverse City West’s Gabe Flowers (1:06) and Grandville’s Jager Grifhorst (1:09) to make it to the finals. In the finals, he faced Jack Samuels of Hudsonville and claimed the title by a 9-5 score.
At the 152-pound weight class, Moses Bosscher (15-8) came up big, claiming a fourth place. Moses topped Matthew Barrett of Alpena in a 9-4 Decision after receiving a first-round bye. In his third round he fell to Josh Kenny of Grandville by a pin. He then topped Hudsonville’s Trevor McEachern by a 5-1 Decision. In the Consolation finals, he wrestled Grand Haven’s Trevor Rademaker and gave it his all, eventually losing by a close 6-4 score.
Noah Anderson (9-1), just back from an injury, claimed the 160-pound title, proving he kept working when he was off the mat competitively. Noah topped Jenison’s Zach Girschle in a :45 Fall. He then registered a Technical Fall (21-6) over East Kentwood’s Jucoy Johnson. In the finals he topped West Ottawa’s Julian Jimenez by a Major Decision (13-3).
At the 171-pound weight class, Cole Gleason (30-8) earned a second-place finish. Cole received a bye for the first round and then topped West Ottawa’s Logan Hornshaw with a 1:07 Fall. He then pinned Zach Schumaker of Caledonia at 1:41. In the finals, he faced No. 1 seed Jake Paganelli of Grandville and lost by a close 6-3 Decision.
The 189-pound weight class also brought double dividends for Rockford, with two Rams earning medals and the right to go on to Regionals. Ram Tyler Waterstrat (33-4) rocked it at the 189-pound weight class, claiming first place. He received a first round bye, and then topped Jenison’s Ryan Robinson by a 12-0 Major Decision. He then pinned Caledonia’s Ryan Stanton at 5:25 to make it to the finals. He then topped Caledonia’s Bryce Briggs in the finals by a 9-3 Decision to earn the title. Jacob Slabaugh (20-7) also had a great day, earning third place. Jacob pinned East Kentwood’s Hunter Bates in 1:14 in his opening round. He then topped West Ottawa’s Magarito Sanchez with a 2:56 Fall. Jacob then fell to Caledonia’s Bryce Briggs to move to the Consolation bracket, where he mowed down the competition. Jacob registered two falls – one at 1:38 over Michael Russo of Grand Haven, and then he registered a 2:05 Fall over Caledonia’s Ryan Stanton for third place.
At the 215-0ound weight class, Ram Taylor Green (29-15) claimed a fourth place. Taylor topped FHC’s Gordon Schimeck by a 3:12 Fall in his opening round. He then topped Hudsonville’s Garrin Szukalowski with a 4:32 Fall. He then faced No. 1 seed Joshua Hill of Muskegon, where he lost to move to the Consolation bracket. There, he topped Grandville’s Max Mingee in a 9-0 Decision. In the finals of the Consolation bracket, he faced off against Traverse City West’s Zac Masiewicz where he was topped in a 10-2 Major Decision to claim fourth.
Freshman Brysonn Aulbach (25-15) proved he has a bright future, earning second place in the 103-pound weight class. Brysonn received a first round bye and then promptly pinned Traverse City West’s Dominic Goff at :41 in his second round. He then faced Grandville’s Jaron Muratore and earned a 2:55 Fall. Brysonn then fell to Riley Rone of Grand Haven in the finals to claim an impressive second-place finish.
“I was so happy for Trenton Wachter to earn his first district title,” says Richardson. “He’s worked so hard all year for this and he finally got a very cool pay off. Connor White and Tyler Waterstrat also earned their first district titles and I was just pleased to see those two captains get what they’ve strived for. Connor got an amazing first period pin and Tyler knocked off his OK Red rival for the second straight week. They are two very deserving young men. Noah Anderson is hitting his stride right now and he absolutely dominated the competition today. He earned his second straight title in convincing fashion winning 13-4 over his opponent from West Ottawa (his closest match of the day).”
“Jack Richardson was able to win his third district title Saturday by knocking off the #2 wrestler in his weight class in division 1. Nothing comes easy when you wrestle those guys and Jack had to come back from a 5-2 deficit with less than 30 seconds left in the 3rd period to tie his match and take it into overtime. He eventually won 9-5. Having 5 champions is certainly exciting, but I’m also so very proud of our other qualifiers. We had 3 seniors place to become regional qualifiers for the first time: Jack Tadych 3rd @ 135, Jacob Slabaugh 3rd @ 189 and Taylor Green 4th @ 215. These guys have paid their dues and are taking full advantage of the short time they have left with the program. They are such great role models for our team, I couldn’t be more happy for them. We also had three underclassmen qualify for the first time: Freshman Brysonn Aulbach capped an amazing day by taking second at 103, Ashton Halland jump up a weight class and qualified at 125 and Moses Bosscher showed his toughness by making it through at 152. Evan Kaser (2nd at 135) and Cole Gleason (2nd at 171) topped the day by earning their second trips to regionals with very admirable finishes in the top two. Both lost to very good seniors and I truly believe that each of them can turn those losses around next week at regionals.
The Rams travel to Grandville, Saturday, Feb. 16, to compete in the MHSAA Individual Regionals. The starting weight will be 130 pounds.
Rockford's five Regional Champions. ~ Contributed Photo