Central Montcalm mat coach predicting big things next season

By Chip Burch • Last Updated 9:34 am on Thursday, March 14, 2013

Central Montcalm’s Jesse Judge, left, wrestles during the individual state finals at the Palace of Auburn Hills earlier this month. Judge placed eighth in Division 3 at 189 pounds.

STANTON — There’s some optimism coming from Central Montcalm after this past wrestling season.

That optimism is coming from coach Dan VanderVlucht after his team finished with a 24-9 record in the regular season and won a Division 3 district title.

“I am very impressed with the season,” VanderVlucht said. “All the kids came together and wanted to wrestle.”

That coming together was what made the season so successful, according to VanderVlucht.

“We had seniors that worked together,” he said. “Then we had juniors who were on the team for three years. We had a good group of freshmen that came in and did as well with the seniors and juniors. Everyone stepped in. One kid stepped in one week and one would step up another week.”

And VanderVlucht knew right away that he had a good team. The Green Hornets opened up with a pair of wins over Farwell and Ithaca in the first competition of the season.

“We went down to the (Grandville) Calvin Christian tournament and the kids went together,” he said. “We beat some bigger schools and started clicking.”

The wrestler who went the farthest in the individual tournament was Jesse Judge. But there were others who were unsung heroes on the team.

“The No. 1 kid was Tyler Rydahl at 130” pounds, VanderVlucht said. “He had goals that he had set and he got all his goals. He did everything I asked him to do. He went right out there and went six minutes with a state champ, and not once but four times. When you only give up four points that’s major to a team. Whatever you asked, he would do it.”

VanderVlucht also singled out Trenton Braman.

“He (Braman) stepped up as a freshman and was 35-17,” he said. “He’s going to be a really good wrestler as he sticks with it. When you have a freshman that steps in with 35 wins that’s outstanding.”

VanderVlucht thinks next year’s team could contend for another district title.

“I think we should be right back in the mix for a district title and see where we sit for regionals,” he said. “When you lose Jesse Judge that’s a big thing. I do believe we can do another district title. The kids are doing real well. It’s up in the air.”

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