February 2020 ROAR

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Coverage of Rockford athletics at all levels.

“Last year we graduated a very talented senior class so I

think a lot of people thought we would take a dip with the

losses,” shares Richardson.

“But, since day one this team has wrestled hard. It has been

an absolute joy to coach this team, they showed up last summer

when we started getting back together for the camps, and

they showed they were ready to make their own mark in the

world.”

Richardson shares part of the reason his team is so successful.

“This group has embraced the attitude of we aren’t taking a

step backwards and it shows. I always try to adapt as a coach to

the team that I have, and this group is just a lot of fun. I’ve had

to adjust and tweak practices and tweak the line-up and they

are so open to new ideas and new things. They all get along

so well, and they have great vision. They understand that a

change might be the best thing to do for the good of the team.

They never hesitate to put the team before the individual and

it has clearly paid off. You can’t ask for much more than that

as a coach.”

Richardson looks forward to tackling the day, every day.

“I’m having a ball with these guys. I walk into practice and

I’m so happy to be there. I think, ‘this is going to be a great

day,’ and every day is. They are always prepared, and they show

every intention of maintaining the success we’ve had this season.

These kids embrace the challenges. We make mistakes, for

sure, but we are getting really good at not making the same

ones.”

Richardson points to the senior class as excellent role models

for the team.

“They are a tight-knit group of friends. There are no big superstars

and they show it by valuing each other equally. They

all get along so well and that sets the tone for how our team attacks

every day. It’s clear that it is our leaders who set the tone

and are phenomenal young men.”

Varsity A wrestling seniors Josh Hill, Ashton Halland, Reid

Nicholson, Andrew Bolen, Evan Kaser and Brocke Fisher have

added positive points on the mat. Kaser, along with junior

Trenton Wachter, claimed their 100th high school career win

at the Lakeshore Super Duals. Underclassmen Brysonn Aulbach,

Cole Gleason, Hunter Chilcote, Moses Bosscher, and Mason

Jakiemiec have also added points to the Rams’ season.

There are two freshmen who are also making a mark on this

season’s team.

“We are getting amazing contributions from Jak Keller and

Elijah Bunn. They are establishing themselves as the cream of

the crop of the lightweights in the area. It’s been a lot of fun for

the team to see that happening. It’s been a while since the program

had wrestlers walk in and make such a big contribution,

and it has been a big help that those two have blossomed early

for us. They’ve done a great job and have made the team better.

The experience, attitude and toughness they’ve brought

is impressive. Both of them are fierce competitors and have

already matured with the high school competition. They’ve

taken some losses, sure, but every week they have also taken

a giant step forward. I can’t wait to see what the ceiling can be

for these two.”

There is no doubt that Richardson and his group of hungry

wrestlers are stepping up their game and furthering the

program.

Richardson concludes, “This year’s team is all about making

their own identity, about taking the excellent examples

they have been given over the years to make this program better

than they found it. I think that’s such an admirable goal.”

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FEBRUARY, 2020 ROCKFORDROAR.COM 25