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Holly Roughriders Wrestling Club builds champions

Written by Amy Mayhew
Friday, February 04 2011

HOLLY, Michigan – There are several reasons why Holly High School’s varsity wrestling team is ranked 7th in Division 2 and one of them is called Roughriders Wrestling Club.

In existence since 1973, the Holly Roughriders Wrestling Club is a community-based wrestling program with the goal of teaching fundamental folk-style wrestling skills to elementary and middle school-aged students.

Allowing youth to experience wrestling at a competitive level while instructing them on fundamental wrestling techniques they can use at the high school level is what it’s all about, says 12-year veteran coach Monty Munro. “We try to create a fun and positive environment that will give our young wrestlers the opportunity to learn proper wrestling techniques while gaining experience and confidence,” he said.

Working along side Munro are several other qualified and experienced coaches including Club President Guy Cleaver, Mike Cavender, Tony Messina and Steve Gonzales.

“We have a very good relationship with Holly’s varsity wrestling program and talk to their coaching staff quite often throughout the season,” Munro said. “We stress to our wrestlers that, while immediate success and state championships at the club level are great to win, our coaching staff works very hard to develop fundamentally sound wrestlers that have a solid wrestling style that will win matches throughout their high school careers.”

Munro said two more club goals are to have a program that consistently places in the top 10 of its association, and for Holly to have one of the best varsity wrestling programs in the state. “We’ve placed in the top 10 four out of the last five years, and Holly’s varsity program is ranked 7th in Division 2 right now, so we feel that we’re meeting our coaching goals.”

Over the years, Holly has produced many successful wrestlers both at the high school and collegiate level including one two-time state champion and five other wrestlers who won state championships at the high school level.

This year, the Roughrider coaches have 60 to 65 kids ages 5 to 14 competing in 2-year age brackets.

Since early December, Munro said club members have been hitting the mats at practice for 3 hours per week to prepare for the season.  “Our tournament schedule with the Mid-Michigan Wrestling Association runs from January to mid-March and we are at anywhere from 3 to 5 events every weekend,” Munro said. “Many of our wrestlers continue to practice in the off-season and compete in other tournaments in-state, with some of our more advanced wrestlers competing in national events with Team Michigan or other all-star teams.”

Sherman Middle School student Levi Bischer, 11 has wrestled with the Roughriders for the last 2 years. “I’m just really grateful to the coaching staff,” Levi’s mother, Lisa Bischer said. “They dedicate all their time and efforts to the club, and that’s a huge commitment,” she said.

As a result, Bischer said Levi has benefited greatly.

“Wrestling really has given him a boost of confidence and it has translated into other areas of his life including school work,” she said. “The program has just really allowed him to mature.”

The Roughriders can be caught in action this weekend as they host a MMWA tournament at Holly High School, 6161 E. Holly Rd., Holly. Wrestling starts at 9:30 a.m. and is expected to finish around 3:30 p.m.

For more information on the Roughrider Wrestling Club, visit them online at

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