Randolph, LCC co-op will compete in Class C

RANDOLPH — After 11 seasons in charge of the Randolph High School wrestling program, head coach Mark Lech is about to dive into a new challenge.

This winter, the Cardinals will co-op with grapplers from Laurel-Concord-Coleridge as the new season beckons.

The team will compete as the Quad County Northeast Blaze.

“The co-op will help both schools as Randolph’s wrestling numbers were low and LCC was in need of a coach,” Lech said. “The timing was right to put the teams together and create a co-op that would benefit both schools.”

The co-op will move the schools up a class and will now be in Class C.  Both schools compete against this size of class often, so the change will be minimal, Lech said.

The squad has plenty to work with now as it takes a step up in the classification ranks.

“We had four wrestlers last year and won a lot of matches, but due to low numbers we weren’t competitive in duals,” Lech admitted. “We qualified three out of the four for the state tournament and had a state champion.”

Lech has a number of top wrestlers back in the fold led by seniors Levi Jackson (170 pounds) and Israel Vance (195 pounds), juniors Nolan Ohlrich (160 pounds) and Colby Wathor (182 pounds) and sophomores Lenny Schumer (170 pounds) and Fischer Carson (285 pounds).

“Both schools graduated their returning state qualifiers, so this year is a brand new start,” Lech said. “The team returns some experience, but also a lot of young wrestlers.   The numbers are good, and the team and coaches are still getting to know each other and look forward to a good season.”

A number of up-andcomers dot the roster including senior Cody Martin (132 pounds), junior Austin Stammer (160 pounds), sophomores Caleb Jones (113 pounds), Gabe Wortmann (126 pounds), Branden Meyer (138 pounds), Devin Eisenhauer (152 pounds) and Aeden Ottis (285 pounds) and freshmen Carter Olson (120 pounds), Tie Hollandsworth (145 pounds), Sutton Ehlers (152 pounds), Ajay Gubbels (170 pounds) and Kolby Casey (170 pounds).

“We have a full week of practice in and the coop has been going well,” Lech said. “We have had a lot of enthusiasm from the wrestlers and the coaches.  The logistics of practice and getting transportation worked out have all been smooth so far.”

The season starts at 10 a.m. on Dec. 7 when the team heads over to the Creighton Tournament.

“The team is looking forward to be able to be competitive in duals this year due to adequate numbers,” Lech said. “The goals for the team are to be competitive on an individual level and that should allow team points to work themselves out,” he said. “The wrestlers all set different goals by working hard in practice and getting better week by week.”

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