Rocket wrestlers gaining strength in numbers

by DAVE PEDERSEN

SUN PRESS Newspapers

Describing how the Rockford wrestling season is going, coach Nick Peterson cringes, saying, “It has been a grind is best way to say it. You name it- it has happened.”

Sophomore Eric Dahl goes for the pin for Rockford. (Photo by Bill Nord)

Sophomore Eric Dahl goes for the pin for Rockford. (Photo by Bill Nord)

Peterson refers to having a rebuilding year working with a smaller number than usual, including several new and inexperienced wrestlers. The team also ran into a number of injuries, illness and other issues.

“By the end of the year we might have a full lineup since the first week of the season,” hopes the coach, adding how his top two wrestlers, including a defending state champ, have been sidelined. “Our first-year kids are grinding through it and I hope they can look back and say they worked hard and accomplished something.”

Last year the Rockets accomplished much, capturing two state titles, the first in school history. Junior Ty Griffin returns to defend his crown, but has missed two months with a sprained knee ligament. He returned to action last week and went 3-0, improving to 13-4.

“The injury changed the perspective Ty had on this season,” says Peterson. “Instead of having the pressure of being a state champ, he is out to prove the injury didn’t set him back.”

Junior Brad Johnson is 23-3 after losing to two ranked wrestlers at the recent Totino-Grace Invitational. He also beat a state-ranked opponent in the tough 132-pound weight class.

Johnson has won three tournament titles this season and cleared the 100-win milestone for his career.

Senior Joe Heffernan of Rockford is out for the sport for the first time. (Photo by Bill Nord)

Senior Joe Heffernan of Rockford is out for the sport for the first time. (Photo by Bill Nord)

Lucas Klonne is a seventh-grader working at 103 pounds. Colton Weber is an eighth-grader at 120 pounds. Ninth-graders are Fordy Thorson at 138, Brad Scribner at 145 and Nick Selly at 170.

Sophomore Kado Cano is in his second varsity season at 182. Sophomore Eric Dahl works at 152. Senior Zach Nelson came out for the first time last year at 160 pounds and senior heavyweight Joe Heffernan came out this season.

When sophomore Sasha Galka and others return to the lineup they could make some noise in the section tourney. At least the team will have strength in numbers.

Rockford is at Richfield Thursday, Feb. 7 and home against Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa and Kimball for the last regular season meet on Friday, Feb. 8. The Section 5AA team tourney starts the following week.

 

Contact Dave Pedersen at sunpressnews@ecm-inc.com

 
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