Rogotzke wrestling for Team USA
Youth did not stand in the way of Woodbury wrestler Ryder Rogotzke achieving the biggest goal of his young wrestling career.
In the first year that he was eligible, Rogotzke qualified for the 2017 Pan-American Schoolboy team to wrestle at the 47 kilogram weight class. The Pan-American Schoolboy Championships will be held this August in Chile.
The East Ridge wrestler, who will be in seventh grade this fall, finished second in both freestyle and Greco-Roman at the ASICS Kids Freestyle and Greco-Roman National Championships in Atlanta on June 29 and 30. With a selection process that combines both wrestling disciplines at nationals, Rogotzke's two second-place finishes gave him a spot with the Pan-American Schoolboy team.
Rogotzke made it his goal at the start of his season to wear a Team USA singlet with the national team. Now he will have that chance in August.
"This is sponsored by USA wrestling, out of Colorado Springs, the Olympic training center," father Perry Rogotzke said. "So they bring down Olympic coaches and the Olympic trainers. This is the first age that he can actually wrestle for his country."
Rogotzke wrestled at the 98-pound Schoolboy class at nationals this year. The Schoolboy age class represents wrestlers who were either born in 2003 or 2004. Since Rogotzke just wrapped up his sixth-grade year of school, he was among the youngest competitors at nationals.
Both first place finishers at nationals, Cason Lindsey in Greco-Roman and Max Black in freestyle, will be two grades older than Rogotzke this year.
"Those two guys are both going to be freshmen in high school next year, and he's going to be in seventh grade," Perry Rogotzke said.
It has been a busy season for Rogotzke, who should soon be wrestling at the high school level with East Ridge. Rogotzke holds a record of 243-17, a demanding 260-match season on the road to qualifying for the USA Pan-American Schoolboy team.
"It's fun, we've gotten to go to more places," Rogotzke said. "Stuff like in Chile in August, Atlanta, Virginia, Vegas."
Now that he is a seventh grader, Rogotzke will have a shot to wrestle for the East Ridge varsity team this fall. Seeing what he has accomplished as a youth wrestler, Raptors coach Matt Everson is excited to have Rogotzke with the team this fall, where he will join older brother Roman Rogotzke—who is a freshman next year.
"Having him come up to the high school room is something we're very, very excited about," Everson said. "He's going to do some good things, and of course he'll have some things to learn."
Qualifying for the Pan-American team is another step for Rogotzke to reach his big wrestling dreams. He hopes to someday represent Team USA as an adult in two Olympic games.
"When I started wrestling, you would see all of the other people bigger people, that you would look up to, and they were going to the Olympics and winning it," Rogotzke said. "So you want to do what they do."