Vikings win easily in first two matches

Published 9:38 am Saturday, December 4, 2004

By By ADAM FISHER / Niles Daily Star
Brandywine's wrestling team begins its season Saturday at Vicksburg with a first year head coach. After three-year head coach Brad Light resigned to spend more time with his family following last season, assistant coach Rex Pomranka was named the new coach.
However, the Bobcats will have to begin the season with almost an entirely new varsity team as well. One starter returns, Ryan Horner at 112 pounds, returns for Brandywine from last year's conference and district champion squad.
Luckily for the Bobcats, both their coach and their players, while young and new to Brandywine, have plenty of previous experience.
Pomranka served as Light's assistant for all three of his years as head coach. All told, Pomranka has assisted with the Bobcats' wrestling team for four years. Prior to Brandywine, he was head coach of River Valley High School's wrestling program for a year.
As far as the wrestlers go, Pomranka said, while there is only one true returning starter, most of the Bobcats have prior experience with junior varsity and middle school matches.
The young team must get used to varsity wrestling in a hurry because the Bobcats travel to the Vicksburg Invitational on Saturday.
Not only will each wrestler have to wrestle five times at the tournament, but he will face rigorous competition. Dowagiac, Mattawan, Three Rivers, Otsego and host Vicksburg will all be there.
The new wrestlers haven't had long to prepare for Saturday. The season-opening tournament comes little more than two weeks after Brandywine, and all schools, began practicing Nov. 15.
Another test for Pomranka's young team will be the travel early in the season. Brandywine's first four matches are all on the road. The Bobcats don't wrestle at home for the first time until Jan. 5, when River Valley visits.
Pomranka, a math teacher at Brandywine, is also an assistant football coach for the Bobcats. As a special teams coach, he got used to working with inexperienced players.
The football team had just three returners with varsity experience this fall.
As with his football players, Pomranka said his goal for the wrestlers is merely improvement. They may not win every match, but he just wants to see them get better for the future.