By Jason Wesseldyk
Being an exchange student provides the opportunity to learn about a different culture and experience new things.
Sophomore Adrian Gomez has fully embraced that opportunity.
An exchange student from Spain, Gomez has joined the Fennville wrestling team despite having no prior experience in the sport. And Blackhawks coach Steve Fries couldn’t be happier to have Gomez aboard.
“This is our first time having an exchange student on the team,” Fries said. “(Gomez) has never wrestled before, but asks a ton of questions and is catching on very fast. He will be fun to watch once he finds his groove.”
On the other end of the experience spectrum are the Rastall brothers, seniors Tyger and Jaguar. The pair has been part of the Fennville wrestling program since middle school and is hoping to end their high school careers on a high note.
“Tyger and Jaguar have been wrestling for us for since their eighth-grade year,” Fries said. “They have been a challenge and blessing to coach all at the same time. They have both grown so much over the years, both physically and mentally. It should be a fantastic year for both of them.”
The Rastalls—who are slated to wrestle at 145 pounds or 152 pounds—are two of only five returning letter winners for Fennville. The others are junior Fred Arriola (130), junior Uzi Delgado (171/189) and junior Mario Fernandez (119).
Freshman Alex Marquez (135) joins Gomez as one of the newcomers to the team.
“This group of young men has been energetic and positive every single day so far,” Fries said. “They are all very hard workers.”
Fries is hoping that hard work can help compensate for the overall lack of experience.
“Our goal every season is to build competitive athletes,” he said. “This year, like many years past, will be filled with challenges and adversity. A majority of our team is new to the sport.
“However, we enjoy the challenge of training new wrestlers. It will be another challenging season based on experience levels, but I know we will be competitive.”
By Jason Wesseldyk