Lamphere wrestling is back on the mat in preparation for new season

By: Mark Vest | Madison - Park News | Published December 5, 2012

Work. Sweat. Win.

Those are words Russ McKenzie wants Madison Heights Lamphere’s wrestling program to embody.

McKenzie, who is in his 27th year as a head wrestling coach, has ideas as to how the Rams can do just that.

Instead of setting lofty long-term goals, McKenzie believes that if wrestlers will show up and put forth the kind of effort that is required to be successful, the results will help take care of themselves.

“Our goal is one, to be a family, and two, to make sure we get better every day,” he said. “In order to get better every day, you have to have the attitude of coming to the room ready to work. Nothing ever happens without hard work. We can’t control what the other guys do. We can control how hard we work. The key is to make sure you practice hard every day. Come in, help each other, (be) a good teammate, push each other, (and) take care of each other. We just try to make sure we work hard every day, get better, and move on.”

According to McKenzie, Lamphere has won seven district titles in the last 10 years. Prior to the one they captured last season, the Rams had gone a couple of seasons without winning a district championship.

McKenzie believes the small drought the wrestling program went through helped to develop a drive to bring a district title back to Lamphere.

“Last year, we put it back on the wall,” he said of Lamphere’s district championship banner. “Hopefully, we stay healthy and compete for another one. Winning breeds winning. Getting back into that winning mode — we did what it took. Now, we just want to continue to work. We have a dedicated group. We’re trying to carry on a tradition we’ve developed here.

“We’ve had a lot of alumni that still come back and support us,” McZenzie continued. “We’re looking to definitely carry on the tradition. We’ve worked hard to build it. We’re going to work hard to carry it on.”

Lamphere has eight returning wrestlers, including Andrew and Trevor Gorman, both of whom were state qualifiers last season, and Evan Reich, who won 35 matches.

While McKenzie believes there are also other solid wrestlers in the mix, he is counting on those three to help lead the way.

“They’re going to be our leaders,” he said. “We need them to have big years.”

Lamphere kicks off its season at 5 p.m. Dec. 4 at home against Hazel Park and Dearborn.

McZenzie is seeing some things he likes as the Rams approach their season-opener.

“Our kids are coming in working hard,” he said. “We’re getting in great shape. Things are coming together.”