SIOUX CITY – This was the start Zach Rozeboom was looking for.
Last Saturday, the senior Sioux Center wrestler kicked off his season in style, as Rozeboom picked up a victory in the 195-pound division at the Sergeant Bluff-Luton Invitational at the Long Lines Family Center.
For his flawless performance at the SB-L Invitational, Rozeboom was selected as Siouxland Athlete of the Week by the Journal.
Rozeboom clinched the tournament title by pinning Underwood’s Carter Davis at the 3:28 mark, a win that also improved his season record to 6-0.
After missing the state tournament twice and then seeing his junior season end with a left knee injury, Rozeboom was happy to start his senior year on such a happy note.
His tournament victory also marked the third straight season that Rozeboom won the SB-L Invitational. He’s won it in each of the past two seasons at 182 pounds.
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“Just knowing it’s a good competition puts me in a great frame of mind to go out there and fight my best,” Rozeboom said. “You have to stay smart and be in a good position all the time because you’re up against other good opponents who might put you in bad positions if you get it wrong. You just have to stay in the right mindset and do well. prepare, and our coaches are doing a great job of preparing us for that one.
Rozeboom entered his junior season in 2020 with high expectations after finishing two spots behind a state spot as a sophomore. He was crushed when he went down with a torn medial meniscus in his left knee, which required season-ending surgery.
“It sucked to finish it early last year and not be able to finish it,” Rozeboom said. “I had high hopes for last year, so it’s been a long process of coming back and recovering. But I feel ready to go and the knee is strong. It’s just a good time to come back, and I am ready to get to work.
Rozeboom’s strong start to 2021 follows a strong football season, where he threw for 12 touchdowns and 1,354 yards as a Warriors quarterback while leading the team with 548 rushing yards.
He admits he was nervous at the start of the football season as it was the first sport he had played since undergoing knee surgery last New Year’s Eve. But his production on the pitch has gave Rozeboom and head wrestling coach Aaron Schmidt the assurance that Rozeboom was fully healthy and ready to hit the mat.
“He did the things he needed to do to rehabilitate himself and had a really good season of football,” Schmidt said. “I think football was good for him on that knee. Anytime you have some kind of injury, you want to go back and ask yourself, ‘Hey, is that stable?’ He’s proven as a quarterback that he’s pretty stable.”
According to Schmidt, the mindset needed to be a quarterback is very similar to that needed to become a successful wrestler.
“When you’re playing quarterback, you can’t sit down,” Schmidt said. “It’s that ‘go’ mindset, and being able to process things in the middle of the action is a huge quality,… that’s really how he struggles throughout the year. He really is like that, and it’s quite telling of him, with the way he’s struggled in the SB-L tournaments, but also throughout the other seasons.
Earlier this week, Rozeboom announced that he will be playing football next season at Dordt University and has no plans to wrestle at the college level. Before we get there, there’s one more thing he wants to do in the mat wrestling at Wells Fargo Arena as a state tournament qualifier.
It would be his first and only appearance at the event and it would be a perfect way to end his long road back.
“I push really hard for this, it’s something that’s been on my shoulders since second year,” Rozeboom said. “I took a chance, and then last year I got cut short, that’s a really big goal for me. I really want to get over this hump and get to the state.”
“Competing there is my main focus right now, and I’m looking forward to it.”
McKenzie Goodwin, Kingsley-Pierson Women’s Basketball: Goodwin scored 33 points last Friday against OABCIG.
Gracie Schoonhoven, Unity Christian Women’s Basketball: Schoonhoven has 127 points so far, third in the state heading into Wednesday’s games.