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Northview beats Kelloggsville, Comstock Park to open wrestling season

Jeff Chaney | The Grand Rapids Press, December 07, 2011 11:33 p.m.

COMSTOCK PARK — In a time of uncertainty for the Northview wrestling team, one thing is certain: coach Dan Rottier inherited a pretty good squad.

Rottier was hired in late October to replace B.J. Schroder, who stepped down to take the coaching job at Catholic Central.

Rottier, who had been the East Rockford Middle School coach the past six years, is now 2-0 as a varsity coach after his Wildcats beat Kelloggsville 61-18 and Comstock Park 41-30 in a quad that Comstock Park hosted Wednesday on the opening night of the high school wrestling season.

“It’s been exciting,” Rottier said. “I’ve always wanted to become a head coach, and the opportunity presented itself and I took a chance. And it’s a great team with great leaders.”

Two of those leaders are senior 152-pounder Joe Preston and junior 160-pounder Ben Clinkscale, who are both state qualifiers from a year ago and won their matches Wednesday.

They agree that the past month and a half have been trying mentally, but know they have to get ready for individual and team seasons.

“It’s been a little different, but this team has a good group of guys, so the transition has been going well,” Preston said. “We wish coach Schroder well, but we have to worry about ourselves now.”

Added Clinkscale: “Of course it’s tough to see B.J. go because he was here so long, he coached my older brother. There is a difference between coach Rottier and coach Schroder, but coach Rottier is a really good coach. I think we are going to do just as good with him.”

Northview, which is ranked No. 10 in the Division 2 preseason poll, also got a pair of wins from junior Matt Norris (112 pounds), senior Malcolm Jefferies (119), sophomore Robert Brown (140), junior Matt Simmons (215) and senior heavyweight Alex Hankinson.

Comstock Park was led by senior Nick Ross (125), a returning state champion who helped his team beat Holland 56-18 in its other match.

Kelloggsville beat Holland 39-35.

“This was a good start for us,” Rottier said. “Comstock Park has five kids ranked in Division 3, so it’s a good start to beat them. But I told the guys afterwards, ‘We can’t be satisfied, we still have to work and improve.'”