ROCHELLE — Five members of the Rochelle Township High School wrestling program and administration have been selected as finalists for awards from the Illinois Wrestling Coaches & Officials Association this year. The IWCOA Awards Banquet will take place at Lyons Township High School on Sunday, April 8.
Rochelle senior Alex Harvey is one of six high school wresters who are finalists for the IWCOA’s Class 2A Scholastic Wrestler of the Year Award. Harvey went 47-2 with the Hubs this season while placing second in the IHSA Class 2A Individual State Championships at 195 pounds. Harvey also helped Rochelle take fourth in the IHSA Class 2A State Dual Championships this year, and the senior received IHSA First-Team Academic All-State recognition as well.
“Being named a finalist for the scholastic wrestler of the year is a tremendous honor,” Harvey said. “The continued dedication of the team members and coaches to the common goal of getting better has really been a positive impact on Rochelle wrestling… I’m proud to be part of the Rochelle community that has contributed so much toward wrestling over the past several years and I’m glad that we’ve been recognized at a state level.”
Rochelle head coach Richard Harvey is one of three coaches up for the IWCOA’s Class 2A Head Coach of the Year Award. The Mt. Zion High School Hall of Famer and Millikin University Hall of Famer led the Hubs through a historic season this past year, helping Rochelle win its first-ever team sectional match and back-to-back individual regional championships for the first time in program history.
“It’s an honor to be nominated by my peers for this recognition and it shows all of the hard work that our coaches, wrestlers, and families have done to receive this recognition,” Harvey said. “These nominations show the hard work that our coaches have put in and the support of our community. Our coaches are truly passionate about helping kids in the wrestling room… Our coaches provide role models for wrestlers and they are passionate about being there for all of our kids.”
Two assistant coaches including Carl Harvey and Kyle Bridgeman are finalists for the IWCOA’s Class 2A Assistant Coach of the Year Award. Harvey is also one of two men selected by the IWCOA as NWCA (National Wrestling Coaches Association) nominees as well. Harvey is an NWCA nominee for assistant coach.
“A lot of the work I’ve done has been voluntary and I do it for the kids,” Harvey said. “I know the sport really well, I know the techniques well and I want to share my knowledge with the kids. I. hope I can make them the best wrestlers they can be and good people before anything else… We try to teach the kids to never get upset when they lose, and all I want is for them to be successful in life and on the mat.”
“It’s an honor being nominated and it’s a testimony to these kids putting in all the hard work that brought them so much success this year,” Bridgeman added. “I was truly blessed being able to coach these extremely talented young men who competed hard and represented their school well through their actions on and off the mat. I will never forget this group.”
RTHS athletic director Kevin Crandall received the IWCOA’s Administrator of the Year Award in 2013, and Crandall will have his second opportunity to receive the award this year for Class 2A. Crandall has served as Rochelle’s athletic director since 1994.
“To have a chance to be honored twice is almost unbelievable,” Crandall said. “For me it’s a byproduct of what coach Harvey and his assistant coaches have done to build up the wrestling program… Richard and his assistants have done an unbelievable job and they’ve truly developed their team. We’ve had some good individual wrestlers in the past but we’ve never had the type of team success we’ve experienced in recent years.”