Wrestling team says goodbye to seniors

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by Ben Wengerd


   When most people think of high school sports, their minds immediately jump to football, basketball, track, or even baseball. Wrestling is one of the less talked about sports, but it is one of the most exciting to watch. While wrestling meets can be long, they can get very intense and exciting very quickly.

This year the RedHawks sent three wrestlers to Semi-State at the Allen County Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne: Rasheek Bonds (132 lbs.), Kaleb Kilmer (220 lbs.) and Jose Rosales (285 lbs.). Bonds and Rosales won their respective brackets at Regionals at Goshen High to be crowned Regional champs. The wrestling team’s season came to an end on Friday, February 21st, 2020, when Rosales competed in the state prelims at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

In addition to qualifying for Regionals, Bonds was Sectional champion, NLC champion and was named to the All-NLC team. Bonds was joined by Rosales who was an All-NLC Honorable Mention.

However, these seniors all had to start somewhere. For Bonds, it started when he was cut from the basketball team, and that may have been for the best.

 “I originally started in seventh and eighth grade,” said Bonds. “I wanted to try basketball freshman year, but I got cut and decided to wrestle. I just started loving the sport every day at practice. I didn’t even want to wrestle at first. My season wasn’t what I would call success, but when you get good you just let loose and it’s a lot of fun.” 

   Bonds is not the only one who found talent as a wrestler. For Kilmer, he started as a freshman and at first it seemed as though he didn’t have what it took. It’s very difficult to start wrestling and be good right off the bat, and Kilmer knew at first that he wasn’t as good as he could be.

 “I was not good at all,” said Kilmer. “Now I’ve gone to Semi-State for the second year in a row. It’s safe to say I’ve made some big strides since I first started. I kept coming back because I knew that I was getting better, and I knew that it was making me a better person in general.”

 All three of these seniors started out as lowly freshman, and worked themselves up to be Semi-State and State contenders. Even Rosales, who made the trip down to compete at State had to start somewhere.

“Jose has moved from just using his strength to throw people around to wrestling smart,” says Kilmer. “He uses real moves to win matches now, instead of just throwing people around like he used to.” 

“He’s always been fun to watch but from middle school to now he’s just been determined,” said Bonds.

Both of these guys pushed Rosales to keep coming back each season to improve, and it’s lead to great things.

“I kept coming back because the friends I made, and they knew I could be good,” says Rosales. “This season was decent. I had some losses that I shouldn’t have had. The team didn’t do as well as they normally do.”

This is new territory for Rosales, last season he qualified for Semi-State, but his season came to an end there. Now he’s made it further than any other wrestler from Goshen this season.

“It’s been good,” said Rosales. “It feels weird with everybody saying good luck and congratulations and all that. It’s new to me.”

This year has been a ride for these three seniors. While the team struggled, these guys had great individual seasons. Rosales and Kilmer do not intend to continue their wrestling careers following high school, while Bonds is mulling over different schools. Bonds plans to wrestle at the collegiate level next season. 

These three guys have come far from where they started, and through hardwork and dedication to their craft, they’ve been able to have great seasons. They encapsulate what it means to be an athlete, and during their careers here they represented Goshen High Schools in a great way.

Jose Rosales (12) pins Tom Busch (12) from Leo High School at Semi-State at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne as Coach Pickard celebrates in the background on Saturday, February 15th, 2020 to qualify for the State Prelims (Branden Beachy / GHS Sports Photographer).



GHS English Teacher


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