As Ridgway wrestling enters the District 9 team duals this Saturday, Ridgway's co-captains reflect on head coach Gary Gerber's last home match which took place Tuesday night at Ridgway Area High School.
The trio of co-captains have a cavalcade of accomplishments within the Ridgway wrestling program. Senior Corey Bush is a 2-time district champion, 3-time regional qualifier, 2010 regional champion and 2-time state placewinner. Bush compared his time with the program to a roller coaster ride without many of the valleys.
"It's been a roller coaster ride kind of with a lot of ups," Bush said. "We haven't had many downs with him."
Slade Horner won his first district championship last season and took fourth at regionals. He said Tuesday's dual was "intense."
"It's weird to see him leave after so long," Horner said. "It's awesome to be a part of his last home match."
Kyle Caggiano recently passed the 100-win mark for his varsity career. At the junior level, he finished seventh in the state at 75 pounds in 2004 and was third at 80 pounds in 2005. Both results were in the age 10 and under age grouping. He said after Tuesday's dual that he is excited for Gerber.
"I was happy for him," Caggiano said. "I'm kind of excited for him."
The three co-captains for Tuesday's dual have been wrestling since their days at the JO level. They said the lessons learned coming up through the program and at the varsity level through Gerber will be taken with them moving forward.
"It's definitely fun, we've been together since JOs," Horner said. "He taught us right and wrong, mental toughness, how to be a team leader, really just everything about wrestling."
Caggiano has had a surge of success the last two seasons. He went from 22 wins as a freshman to 24 as a sophomore to 33 last season to a 24-1 record so far this season. He credits Gerber with an installation of confidence.
"He really gave me confidence in myself," Caggiano said.
Bush summed up all the wrestlers' progress as they graduate from wrestling with Gerber this season.
"I don't know where'd we be without him," Bush said.