Keegan Nordvold wrestles with Aaron Socha. Nordvold is returning after a one-year absence, while Socha is one of several talented incoming freshmen.
Keegan Nordvold wrestles with Aaron Socha. Nordvold is returning after a one-year absence, while Socha is one of several talented incoming freshmen.

   The Ripon High School wrestling team has a new coach this year.

   But the face is anything but.

   Lee Cotton takes over the program from Jared Esala after coaching the middle school team for the past four years and the youth program for several years before that.

   As a result, he has coached almost all of the kids on the team.

   “It’s beneficial because I have a rapport with them,” Lee Cotton said. “They don’t have to get to know a new guy, so they’re more willing to do new things if asked. We jumped right into it; there’s no feeling-out period ... When I coached at the middle school, it was the same thing. Boom, I walk into the wrestling room, I know all the kids and let’s go. They know what I expect and how I deal with things and I know how they are.”

   He also knows how practice has been run the past several years under Esala and the techniques he taught, which helped revitalize a program that was declining.

   Lee Cotton has no plans to change what has been done.

Read the full story, which includes information on some of the returning wrestlers as well as newcomers, in the Nov. 30, 2017 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.