Wakefield Wrestling Coach Ross Ickes never pushed her twin sons Luke and Nat in his beloved sport.
This has never been more evident than in the spring of 2021.
The pandemic forced wrestling to switch seasons from traditional winter to spring, which created a problem for many athletes, including the Ickes twins. Although they loved wrestling for their dad, their favorite sport is baseball and they opted for a diamond jump instead of the mat.
“It was tough for me, but I understand baseball is their number one sport,” Ickes said. “So basically I would lay the mats down, practice, and then run out to the baseball field to watch them play.”
Luke Ickes credited his father for his support during this time.
“It was a tough decision,” said Luke Ickes. “I love to wrestle, but baseball has always been my main sport. My dad was very supportive, he knew what it meant to us, and he was always there to watch us play.
Fall 2 was one of the few times the Ickes twins couldn’t be found near a wrestling mat. To say they were born to be wrestlers isn’t necessarily far from the truth.
“They’ve been coming to practices since they were in car seats,” Ickes said. “They have always been around wrestling since they were young. Obviously, I wanted them to be interested in wrestling, but I was never going to push them. I let them decide what they wanted to do.
Neither child needed extra encouragement.
“I loved it from the start,” said Nathan Ickes. “I loved the competitive nature of the sport. You didn’t have to rely on other people to beat people. You might just focus on beating the person in front of you.
Luke Ickes added: “I always loved wrestling as a kid. I started practicing with the team in 7th grade and still love the team culture.
Like any coach, their main goal is to maximize the talent they have. When you coach your own son or daughter, expectations are amplified. It’s no different for Ross Ickes.
“You still think you got the most out of it and it’s not just with my kids,” Ickes said. “That way it was a bit difficult. But overall it was great to see them fight for me.
Nathan Ickes knows that’s not always the easiest arrangement.
“I think it’s harder for him,” Ickes said. “He’s usually not around when I’m wrestling. I think it took a few years off his life.
There is a flip side to this. For 99% of high school students/athletes, games and practices end and they walk away from it at home. For Luke and Nathan Ickes, being able to go home and have someone to discuss wrestling with has been a blessing.
“It’s nice to be able to go home and talk about the competitions with him,” said Luke Ickes. “Hearing the different things he sees during a match is always interesting.”
The wrestling marriage is about to end, a fact that Ickes didn’t miss. Their wrestling careers are six weeks away and today will not be a good day for Ross Ickes.
“I think about it all the time, that they’re finishing up and going to college in a few months,” Ickes said. “They’ve been here in the wrestling room with me since they were three years old.
“But I’m very proud of them both. They were three-sport guys, not kids who specialized in one sport and that’s a rarity these days.
Xaverian Trainer Tom Trovato say every time Michael Bobola comes out on the mat, he feels he is going to win.
In 30 matches, this has been the case.
The 160-pound Xaverian star is 30-0 this season and has been so dominant that the only opponents who have scored on Bobola in a game have escaped.
“Wrestling is a sport where you get what you put in,” Trovato said. “Michael took time and effort to get there.”
Bobola knew heading into the season that he was going to be one of the best wrestlers in New England. Following a grueling offseason of training and conditioning, he set himself some extremely high goals.
“I want to be an undefeated New England champion and win the senior national championships in March,” Bobola said. “I don’t want to give up a withdrawal during the season. I just want to finish my season knowing that I gave it my all every day because you never know what can happen.
Bobola wrestled at Xaverian since 8th grade and gradually made a name for himself over the next three seasons. He made the decision to skip wrestling in Fall Season 2 last March in order to focus his time and energy on looking his best going into the senior season. He trained at Metro West United Natick under former Herald All-Scholastic Nick Avery and came back ready to show how much he had improved.
Bobola sent the first reminder in December. He competed in the George Bossi Lowell Holiday Invitational tournament, considered by many to be one of the toughest events in New England. He continued to dominate the 160-pound class, beating the coveted Raphael Knapp of Algonquin to conquer the crown.
“It was really good to win there,” Bobola said. “I’ve wrestled there three times before and reached the semi-finals in my second year, so it was really meaningful to win this tournament. It just showed that all the hard work I put in paid off. fruits.
Hard work on the mat and in the classroom allowed Bobola to wrestle at Harvard. It was a kind of homecoming for Bobola, who trained with the Harvard assistant coach Muzaffar Abdurakhmanov and former Harvard NCAA champion wrestler J.P. O’Connor.
“It’s the best place for me in which I can pursue my academic and sporting career,” Bobola said. “It’s always been a dream of mine to fight Harvard. I had private lessons with Coach Muz and JP O’Connor and it really helped me.