Bishop Foley and Madison combine wrestling squads

By: Christian Davis | Madison - Park News | Published January 22, 2016

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MADISON HEIGHTS — Madison Heights Bishop Foley wrestling coach Berney Gonzales had considered the prospect for a few years.

His Ventures had struggled to fill a full lineup, and he was looking for a way to increase his numbers.

“For last 10 to 12 years, we’ve gone into matches with six voids,” Gonzales said. “That’s 42 points off the bat you’re giving up.”      

The veteran coach didn’t have to look far for a solution to his problem. He contacted Madison Heights Madison, a school he graduated from in 1971 and also coached for nine years, about combining programs.

The Eagles finished with only four wrestlers on their team last winter.

After an agreement by both schools, and the Michigan High School Athletic Association accepting their petition, Gonzales was proud to introduce the Foley-Madison wrestling team.

“We’re one family; we’re no longer enemies. We’re one. We’re Foley-Madison. One team,” Gonzales said.      

The squad now boasts 23 grapplers: seven from Madison, 16 from Foley.

Coach Scott Wiederhold, who coached Madison last season, is on the staff along with Gonzales’ longtime assistant, Phil Coleman.

“Between the three of us, we’re having a blast,” Gonzales said.

Wiederhold noted that the combination has also made a diverse wrestling room with kids from all different backgrounds.

“I think it’s been really good for them,” he said. “It’s been great for both sides.”

At press time, Foley-Madison was 3-3 overall. The team has taken on the Madison schedule, which competes in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division. The program has also moved from Division 4 status to D-2 in the postseason.

Madison senior Josh Jones leads the team with an 11-4 mark. He wrestled at 160 to start the year and only has one loss since moving to 152.

“It took a little bit of time for the new kids to adjust and get used to the new environment,” Jones said of the combined team. “Overall, we are one team, one family, for sure.”

Kendall Taylor, a 171-pound freshman from Foley, agreed.

“It’s been great. I really hope that we get to keep it like this, because it’s been a blast together,” he said. “We just bonded on wrestling.”

Calling Foley and Madison wrestling alumni
Foley is hosting the Alumni Wrestling Match for both schools Jan. 30.

The action starts at 5 p.m. in the fieldhouse with matches, which will be set up by Gonzales and include a referee.

At 7 p.m. is the Beef-n-Beer Bash in the cafeteria. All proceeds will benefit the wrestling program. The cost is $10 for students and $20 for adults. The event is for adults and students only, and includes raffles, live music, drinks and food.

For more information, contact Gonzales at (586) 202-7265 or email him at bernold53@att.net.

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