George Bergman has been Oak Harbor’s wrestling coach for 20 years.
The Rockets have been a pillar of successful consistency in the Sandusky Bay Conference, as some things have changed while others have remained the same. Athletes have come and graduated, but the top of the program has been solid.
“I enjoy the fact that the kids, the alumni come back and help with the Biddy program,” Bergman said. “It feels good to see wrestlers with kids of their own giving back to the program. We’ve had state champs, but for everyone wrestling was part of their lives.
“Seven are wrestling at the next level right now and JD (Bergman) is still wrestling, too. We have alumni doing great things and it’s super to see. Seeing them grow from a boy to a man was wonderful.”
JD Bergman is a 2016 Olympic hopeful, Cody Magrum and Drew Stone are at Ohio State, and Keith Witt and Ian Miller are at Kent State.
Witt and Miller each earned a Mid-American Conference championship last season. Konner Witt is at Air Force, Alex Bergman at Navy and Jake Cramer at Tiffin University.
The Buckeyes, with Magrum and Stone likely in the lineup, will face Illinois at Oak Harbor High School in a matchup of likely top 5 teams Feb. 1.
“Any time two of the top college wrestling programs are here in Ottawa County it’s once-in-a-lifetime and to see that level of guys competing will be a treat. It will be good for our guys to see.”
Oak Harbor was fourth in the Sandusky Bay Conference last season.
Senior Jared Chambers was SBC champ, sophomore Nick Bergman, senior Jamie Balboa and sophomore TJ Lawrence were second, and senior Alec Bowlick and senior Luke Cramer were third.
Junior Brock Evans won the Perrysburg Tournament the last two seasons.
Chambers was a state qualifier and third at districts, Cramer was fourth at districts and state, and Bergman was a state alternate.
Balboa won two matches at districts, Lawrence had one at heavyweight and Bowlick finished sixth.
Fifteen of 25 Rockets were freshman last season as it was the youngest team Bergman’s coached. There are 14 sophomores and eight freshmen of 31 this year.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve had 30,” Bergman said.
Twenty years and still going strong.