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Linda Mah
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KC Wrestlers Take Back-to-Back Districts

Team Members Also Win Academic Honors

Freshman Joshua Boggan is proud that the Kalamazoo Central High School wrestling team was district champion for the second straight year — but he can’t wait to see what they do next.

“It’s cool, but we’re not satisfied with that. We can get to regionals and possibly even state,” he said.

As a freshman, he feels the team has a lot of depth on which to build the next few years — if they stay focused and committed.

This was the team’s second consecutive team district championship — only the second time in school history that they have won back-to-back district wrestling titles. Before 2018, the school had not won a district title in 11 years.

“The success of this team was built through hard work in the practice room,” said coach Michael Schrum. “The coaches are always preaching that if you focus on the process of personal improvement and doing things the right way, then the wins will eventually come.

“These wrestlers show up every day and work extremely hard, and over the course of two years, they have truly changed the culture of our program.”

Schrum’s work with the team was honored by his fellow Division 1 wrestling coaches, who named him Regional Coach of the Year. This is his second year as head coach of the team. He is a 2003 graduate of KC, where he wrestled, played football and ran track. He works in the KC counseling office as a 504 plan coordinator and homeless liaison.

“Not only are the Giants succeeding on the mats, they are also thriving in the classroom as is evidenced by their accomplishment of earning Academic All-State the last two years,” Schrum said. “We prioritize working with teachers after school over practice if it’s needed. We want to send the right message that academics are always the top priority.”

Team members are not only wrestlers, but some also attend the Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center, and the Academically Talented Youth Program, and participate in mock trial, orchestra and band, he said.

“We always preach the importance of being well-rounded citizens, and we do not want our wrestlers to sacrifice their passion in other areas at the expense of being on the wrestling team,” Schrum said. “We love when our wrestlers are involved in other groups.”

Senior Sam Henley said that choosing to wrestle was the best decision he made during his high school career.

“It changed my life,” Henley said. “All the coaches were there for me. It was just so important to me. Wrestling made me a better person.”

Senior Kolby Goheen said Schrum pushes the team members to do their best in all areas of life, inspiring them to pay attention to details and to be there for each other.

“There are a lot of guys on the team who want to be leaders,” Goheen said. “We worked hard to make big changes to the team and those changes benefited us and the team.

“This is a great team. It’s like a family. We’re all brothers. We always have each other’s backs and it’s always fun.”

Sophomore Leonardo Galasso, like Boggan, is proud of what the team accomplished this year, but he’s even more excited about the possibilities for the coming season — with a strong group of underclassmen ready to take the helm.

“Obviously we’re going to try to win state next year,” Galasso said. “We have a pretty tough regional, but we just have to listen to the coaches and do what they say and everything will work out.

“I think that everybody just believes in each other. When you have someone next to you, who believes in you that motivates you to do good things.”

Schrum was aided by assistant coaches Robert Espinoza, Nico Lopez, Shane Kelly, and Josh Morehouse.

The 2018-2019 team roster was: Greg Beilby, Seth Bilbrey, Joshua Boggan, Brandon BrownCase, Nate Buchanan, Ketrovion Davis, Liam Denney, Jeffrey DeYoung, Alex Dolislager, Hector Dorantes, Lafayette Evans, Kanye Ford, Evan Fulkerson, Leonardo Galasso, Kolby Goheen, Sam Henley, Nathan Horwath, Makenna Lopez (manager), Awsten Mielke, Kevin Moore, Andrew Olmstead, Felix Owinga, Austin Post, Makayla Post (manager), Dylan Ramber-Jach, Samuel Rice, Xochitl RobertsonRosas, Andrew Rudlaff, Nick Salvaggio, Simon Schwachter, Luke Skuratowicz, Colin Smith, Rhyan Smith, MarQuan Snell, Jeriean Steward, Jaiquan Tipton, Nicklas Vallier, Sean Vasquez, Maurice Wasson, Brian White, Cameron Williams, and Humberto Zamora.

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