Pictured are wrestlers and coaches from the co-op team of Madison Heights Bishop Foley and Madison Heights Madison. Coach Berney Gonzales estimated that there are nearly 30 wrestlers on his team this season.

Pictured are wrestlers and coaches from the co-op team of Madison Heights Bishop Foley and Madison Heights Madison. Coach Berney Gonzales estimated that there are nearly 30 wrestlers on his team this season.

Photo by Donna Dalziel


Bishop Foley/Madison wrestling team returns with larger roster size

By: Mark Vest | Madison - Park News | Published December 6, 2018

MADISON HEIGHTS — Madison Heights Bishop Foley wrestling coach Berney Gonzales doesn’t need a lot of wrestlers on his squad to make his job fun.

In fact, Gonzales recently said, “I could have eight kids and be excited.”

However, with what he said are 26, maybe 27 wrestlers on this season’s team, Gonzales acknowledged that “it’s a little more exciting to see all these bodies and training partners.”

Gonzales confirmed that it has been at least 10 years that the program’s roster size has been this large.

He estimated that four or five of the team’s wrestlers are from Madison Heights Madison, due to a co-op arrangement between the two schools.

“I’m so excited this year,” Gonzales said. “The numbers are up. … It looks like they’re all staying. Seven new kids came out; usually we get one or two.”

Although small roster sizes can be a detriment in other sports as well, they can have a direct impact on wrestling scores.

If a team doesn’t have a wrestler in a particular weight class, it has to void the match, thereby giving up six points to the opposing squad.

And if a team has to void multiple matches due to a lack of wrestlers on the roster, it can pose a real problem.

Fortunately for Gonzales, it is a problem he can presently avoid.

“We’ve got all the weight classes filled,” he said. “So as a dual-meet team, we’re (going to) be more competitive because we’re not (going to) go into a dual meet giving away 18, 24, 30 points.”

Aside from having a larger roster, the Ventures also have some talent.

Some of the wrestlers who Gonzales thinks have the potential to be state qualifiers are Luke Bishop (Foley), Kendel Taylor (Foley), Max Burk (Madison), Caleb Andrews (Madison) and Alex Loos (Foley).

With the squad he has in place, one of Gonzales’ aspirations is to come away with a postseason championship.

“If everybody stays healthy and gets better throughout the season, we might have a legitimate chance to win a district title as a team,” he said.

Taylor would like to come away from his senior season as a state champion. But whether he does or doesn’t, he gets to spend more time participating in a sport that has helped bring joy to his life.

“It excites me to no end,” Taylor said. “It’s hard to describe how much fun I have with this sport.”

Bishop is a junior transfer student from Lake Orion High. Although he might settle for All-State status this season, like Taylor, he would also like to be a state champion.

“That’s my biggest goal for wrestling, is (a) state championship,” Bishop said. “It would be ama zing. I think it’s just a great opportunity for me to be at my new school and different environment.”

Gonzales described the status of the program as “way up there.”

“We’re in a real, real good state right now,” Gonzales said. “The status of our program is at a high level right now, and I hope to keep it there.”

As for Gonzales himself, he has no immediate plans to walk away from the sport that has been such a big part of his life, as both a wrestler and a coach.

“I’m into my 51st year of this sport, and I’m feeling the pains of it, but I don’t let it hold me down,” Gonzales said. “I can’t see retiring. I got at least another 10 years left in me, good Lord willing.”