GVSU club wrestling takes fourth place at nationals, Bolhuis inducted into Hall of Fame
The Lakers had six All-Americans this season
The Hall of Fame is not something taken lightly. Only a select few are chosen to be honored with lining the walls. It’s a testament to superior skills because of your hard work and dedication in your field. Grand Valley State club wrestling coach Rick Bolhuis has been awarded that honor.
Not only was he awarded a Circle of Champions Hall of Fame induction, he also coached his wrestlers into a fourth place victory at the NCWA National Championships Thursday, March 9, through Saturday, March 11, in Allen, Texas.
Bolhuis’ induction into the hall of fame was a recognition of his achievements as a wrestler and continued work as a coach and conference board member. He was inducted Friday, March 10, also in Allen, Texas during the 20th anniversary of the NCWA National Tournament.
“It’s a reflection of the program,” Bolhuis said. “We’ve had so much depth for so many years—so many great workout partners, so many great competitors, that it allows me to go in and be successful.”
Bolhuis grew up as a coach's son and wrestled throughout his childhood. He was offered a spot on the GVSU team when the club sports program first returned the wrestling program in 2001. He wrestled for the Lakers from 2001-2004.
Throughout that time, Bolhuis was on two national championship teams, was a three-time National Runner-Up and an individual national champion in 2004.
Two years later in 2006, Bolhuis took over as coach of the GVSU club wrestling program, and was named National Coach of the Year in 2008.
The most recent history, however, is his team taking fourth place at nationals. The team now holds six men who made the All-American team for this season.
Sophomore Brendan Hazelton won All-American at the 125 lb. weight class. This is his second All-American honor after finishing sixth at 125 last year as well.
Also winning All-American was freshman Dylan Dwyer. He has been rock solid for the Lakers all season and he took third place at 149 lbs. In his path to third place, he won his final match in an overtime victory.
Junior Nick Reddy is no stranger to the NCWA nationals. Last season he was heartbroken to be one point away from an All-American honor, but ultimately fell short. This season he was looking for redemption.
“There was a really strong desire to go out there and get it done this year,” Reddy said. “Then when I did, it was really very satisfying.”
Reddy earned his first All-American honor this season after dropping a weight class toward the end of the year. He took seventh place at 133 lbs.
Another All-American on the team is Harun Bogdanic. He wrestles at 235 lbs. and earned second place in that class. Last season he placed fifth in the 235 class. Bolhuis called him the most improved wrestler of the season.
Another junior, Bailey Bischer, has an interesting story. In January, Bischer suffered a concussion which put him out of commission until a week before nationals started. Normally, someone who couldn’t wrestle until a week before nationals wouldn’t be allowed to go, but Bischer able to participate thanks to a loop hole.
“I received a medical wildcard,” Bischer said. “I couldn’t do anything for almost a month. No running, no lifting. I couldn’t work out. I couldn’t go to the normal weigh-in. I had to do my weigh-in at a hospital and send it in to be considered.”
This didn’t stop Bischer from showing out. Last season he finished third in his weight class. This year, after almost two months of no wrestling, he took fifth place at 174 lbs.
Similar to Bischer, sophomore Ahmad Khatib also took fifth place, and earned the All-American honor. However, his honor was somewhat bittersweet. Earlier in the season, Khatib took third in the Great Lakes Conference Tournament, where expectations of his performance were higher. This time around, he avenged himself.
However, in order to earn All-American, he was pitted to wrestle against GVSU wrestler Brenden DeVries, who is also Khatib’s workout partner. In order to achieve All-American, Khatib needed to take it away from his friend and workout partner.
This was the end to the 2016-17 GVSU club wrestling season, and the Lakers will be back at it again in the fall—but this time with a Hall of Fame coach.