By Matt Krumrie
It's not the type of start new Ridgewater College wrestling coach Joey Brown expected when he took over the wrestling program in May of 2020. But, it's still 2020, and things are far from normal. So nothing is a surprise.
In mid-November, Ridgewater College and Northland Community and Technical College announced that all winter athletics programs, including wrestling, would be suspended due to growing concerns over the Coronavirus. Ridgewater also canceled spring sports for this season.
"Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it presents, our season has been suspended," said Brown. "We would have had a very young team that had one returning wrestler from last year (285-pound national qualifier Charlie Farhat of Willmar). I came on in late May to take over the rebuild of our program, and we got off to a great start adding 12 first-year guys to the roster. We were excited because we would have filled a full varsity lineup for the upcoming season. Once we got word the season was not going to happen for us, we met with our guys and supported them in the option to move on. About half of the guys decided to move on, and one is going to graduate in the spring."
Northland had a strong team ready to compete in the MCAC and NJCAA this season. "I respect the fact that this was a difficult decision for our institution to cancel winter sports," said Northland wrestling coach Scott DCamp. "I don't agree with it, however, because I feel like we had a plan in place that would have allowed us to attend classes, practice, and compete in a safe manner."