Madison Heights Lamphere wrestling working hard to improve

By: Christian Davis | Madison - Park News | Published December 18, 2013

 Madison Heights Lamphere wrestling coach Russ McKenzie said this team has the most wrestlers of any he’s coached.

Madison Heights Lamphere wrestling coach Russ McKenzie said this team has the most wrestlers of any he’s coached.

Photo by Deb Jacques

MADISON HEIGHTS — Madison Heights Lamphere wrestling coach Russ McKenzie doesn’t bother himself with rankings or predictions.

For him, and the rest of his squad, the focus is only on what happens on their blue mats in the wrestling practice room.

“We set our goals as, one, get better every day, and two, worry about Lamphere. Quit worrying about anything on the outside,” the coach said during a break from practice Dec. 9. “With the Internet and all the things that are out there, too many things are being decided before there’s even a match. We want to wrestle as hard as we can every day.”

Last season, the Rams finished 26-7 overall and 3-2 in duals in the Macomb Area Conference White Division, tied for second place behind Warren Lincoln.

Lamphere returns six starters from that group, but the current roster boasts the most total wrestlers McKenzie has ever had, with 48 on the team.

“The kids are coming to practice every day and working real hard. I do like the work ethic and the camaraderie of the group. I think we’re going to be pretty good by the end,” McKenzie said. “There is definitely competition for all the spots and a lot of people for everyone to work with, too. It’s not like the same partner every day. We can have four different people work in.”

McKenzie is also pleased with his senior leadership. There are 12 seniors on the team, including 10 four-year wrestlers, such as Trevor Gorman, who wrestles at 119 pounds.

“I feel like we have a lot of experienced wrestlers. We like to go around helping the team out, the freshmen and all the new kids that we have in here,” Gorman said. “We’d like to see the juniors do the same when they’re seniors.”

McKenzie hopes the combination of experience and numbers helps them make a run in the MAC White.

“Lincoln is, by far, the favorite in the division. I’m hoping we’re in the mix,” he said. “Marysville is real good — so is Roseville, so is (Utica) Ford II. It’s a very good wrestling division. You have to work hard, and you have to get some breaks and stay healthy when the matches come.”

Gorman’s 45-7 overall record a year ago was tops among returning grapplers.

“He’s won a lot of big matches over his career,” McKenzie said. “A kid of his caliber, his goal is to win the whole thing. You train to do it and then, that weekend, the chips fall where they may.”