Ranger wrestling takes on Hudsonville and Sparta in a tight-knit matchup at the FHC Quad


Coming back from the break, the Ranger boys varsity wrestling team dominated the mats and proved itself against its toughest opponents yet. The boys sprung back into action after a rough last meet, winning against Sparta and falling short to Hudsonville. 

The Rangers won 39-37 against the Sparta Spartans in their first encounter of the day. With some key wins from boys such as Michael Campbell, Alex Korff, Will Richardson–and many more starting off their Saturday with a clean 1-0 personal record–the boys came out strong and proved themselves against Sparta, who they previously fell to over the break.

“We looked sharp and won our close matches,” head coach Brad Anderson said confidently. “We had some grit today and really showed heart. We came back and avenged a loss to Sparta from two weeks ago, and then had a battle with a really good and seasoned Hudsonville team.”

Senior Evan Elzinga felt similar to his coach in the way that the team really pulled of a well-deserved win that came down to the last few wrestlers’ matchups.

“As a team, we all did really well,” Evan said. “We lost to Sparta last time, so we came back and it was tough. If 1 or 2 matches were to have gone differently, we would have lost.”

After the Coopersville Military Appreciation Tournament, the Rangers made significant adjustments and looked much more confident and hungry on the mat; it paid off in their nail-biting first matchup of the day that set hopes high. After the Sparta match, the Rangers went up against the Hudsonville Eagles, where they fell short by 12 with a 42-30 score. 

“It came down to the last two matches. The match was a back-and-forth battle and the lead changed several times,” coach Anderson said. 

As stated before, the team had many star players that made the meet as exciting; it was keeping everyone in the bleachers on the edge of their seats.

“We had some really gutsy performances. Greyson Ripmaster was in a brawl at 119 pounds and won a close one. Evan Elzinga came from behind and pinned to win. Josh Elzinga won a nail-biter at 125 pounds,” coach Anderson said. “Landon Cooke was looking as strong as ever. Arash Kordbacheh got a pin in the first and really came out firing.”

On top of those star athletes, junior Landon Cooke came back from a rough start to his first matchup and got the hard win he deserved. 

“Landon Cooke at 160 pounds was down with seconds to go and came back and won at the last second,” coach Anderson said. 

Seasoned professional senior Will Richardson was the most dominant wrestler today with two first-period pins. 

“Will really lead the team today. He set the tone and is wrestling his best right now,” coach Anderson said. 

Will Richardson not only competed excellently but also felt great about his team and their abilities after how the day started before going up against Hudsonville.

“I felt it was a great turnaround coming back and beating Sparta after losing to them at the military duals over break, and we could be able to win the day,” Will said. 

The team competes next on Friday, January 14. in a spotlight dual against Kenowa Hills; the team expects a good showing. 

Following their Friday dual, the boys will practice until their youth night on Friday; the match will be wrestled at Central Middle School under a spotlight in the west gym. The junior varsity matches start at 6:00 PM, girls wrestling immediately follows, and varsity starts around 7:00 PM.

“If we wrestle like that every weekend, I couldn’t ask more of our team,” coach Anderson said. “We still have some things to work on and will continue to get better.