By Zachary Deppa
On Nov. 5 the wrestling opener was held at RCTC. The coach is Randy Rager, a full-time faculty member in the Health/Physical Education/Recreation Department. He has been coaching for the last 12 years for RCTC. He has some great visions for his team this season.
“We are wrestling this year for our fifth consecutive MCAC title,” Rager said. “In 2014 we won the NJCAA D-III national title. I feel that this team has the ability to win both of those titles.”
Rager said that one of the team’s advantages is its depth.
“This year we have a great team with a good number of experienced returners and new guys coming in,” he said. “We have good numbers in the room, which will help give us some depth at the weight classes. This team is solid all the way through the lineup.”
In that lineup a few of the great wrestlers are Brett Bradford who is currently ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA at 157, Chase Nottestad ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA at heavyweight, and Coltan Laganiere who is a two-time Minnesota state champion.
The first few weekends of the season are on the road, but they will be returning home for their first duel against Itasca on Jan. 18. “I’ve been involved with wrestling for over 30 years and coaching at the college level for the last 15 years,” Rager said. “The best strategy is tried and true: work harder than your opponent.”
The work ethic is what he believes will help him reach the goals he has for this season. He hopes for the team to be NJCAA champions, have six All-American wrestlers and to have six academic All-American wrestlers.
Rager’s philosophy is this: “When you start wrestling no matter what age it is, you are basically setting yourself up to become branded and labeled by others as a ‘wrestler.’ This says a lot about your personality to individuals who understand the sacrifice of the sport. I often speak to employers as a job reference for past athletes and explain to them what it means to be a wrestler. You are an individual who is willing to sacrifice for the greater good, and you don’t mind the hard work associated with a daily grind.”