WRESTLING COACH OF THE YEAR
Mark Rosenbalm doesn’t like to take the credit for Palmetto Ridge’s enormous success in wrestling.
The program is just three years old, yet has already won a state championship. The Bears won the Class 1A title this season by 60 points over second-place Riverdale, after amassing an impressive 36-2 dual record and No. 1 ranking throughout the season.
This year’s success followed a third-place finish last year.
"I really view our program as a family, and no one person is responsible for the success we’ve had," Rosenbalm said. "I’ve been blessed with great kids who work extremely hard in practice to get better. And we’ve got tremendous support from our fans and the parents. Everyone has made sacrifices to make us a better team."
The Naples Daily News Winter Coach of the Year knows what it takes to become a championship wrestler, putting together a 142-8 record as a high school wrestler in Indiana.
Rosenbalm finished in the top three in the state three times, winning a state championship as a senior. Rosenbalm wrestled for Purdue in college and was a four-time letterwinner (1991-94).
Rosenbalm attributed the team’s success to its closeness as a group and to its tireless work ethic in practice.
"I tell the guys that we all have a gauge that drives us, whether you’re a doctor or the President of the United States," Rosenbalm said. "With all the extra work you do, your gauge goes up. After the guys complete a tough practice or a long run, I tell them their gauge just went up and the kids really buy into it."
The wrestlers are also brothers off the mat, which is also important, Rosenbalm said.
"These guys are ‘Type A’ personalities and they really get after each other in practice, but away from wrestling, they hang out together," he said.
— Andrew Sodergren