The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


February 7, 2013

One fine Falcon

Ricker Maple is pleased to reach milestone win total, but he’s chasing something greater

Jefferson senior Ricker Maple has won enough matches in his wrestling career that he will finish his career with the second- or third-most victories in school history.

With two victories at the Eastern Ohio Wrestling League Tournanemt, Maple is 26-2 on the season and has run his career mark to 151-24 (.863).

“I know Kyle (Gilchrist) had 175 (wins),” Maple, the son of Kelly and Dave Kern and Warren Maple, said. “I didn’t think I’d get close to that. I had to keep working in the summer and the offseason. I never really had an offseason. I’m working in the spring and summer going to camps and stuff. I have a good partner in Joey Baitt to work with in practice.”

Despite all of the success, there’s still some business Maple needs to accomplish. In his first three seasons, Maple has missed the state tournament by one match.

“That makes you so hungry for the next year,” he said. “After my freshman year, I knew my sophomore year was going to be the year. I wanted it. I keep going because I can’t give up (on getting to state) after being so close.

“There’s more left I can accomplish.”    

That unfinished business has, in its own way, helped Maple to reach his milestone in wins.

“Each year, I’ve done something more,” he said. “I’ve kept working hard at it.”

Maple knows just how fine the line between victory and defeat can be at the elite level.

“(Getting to state) is all about the big matches,” he said. “You have to step up. When you’re down there (at districts), one move costs or makes the match for you.

“You just have to get by one move or make one move. Down at that level, everyone’s equal. It’s just that one move that makes or breaks you. All of those other guys have worked just as hard as you have. You have to push yourself to make that one last move.”

Every move Maple makes is highly calculated.

“I have a couple different setups, but I’m always looking for knee picks and the high crotch,” Maple said. “From the top, I run arm bars and from the bottom, I regularly stand up. Everything I do when we’re neutral is based off making angles.

“I move the guy around, look for the open shot. I pull on their elbows and snap them down and that create angles. That’s pretty much all I’ve been taught by all my coaches. My offense is created by angles.”    

Good competition and partners in practice has helped Maple.

“I would say a lot of the credit goes to (Joey Baitt, Jerry Scott, Troy Stitt, Rocky Tripodi and Blake Perry),” Maple said. “My coaches and even my family have pushed me. Without my friends and family to keep pushing me, I wouldn’t work as hard as I have.”

Avsec has been a good master for his student, Maple.

“I consider Coach Avsec like Yoda,” Maple said of the famed “Star Wars” sage. “He’s the all-knowing master of wrestling. He’s definitely a good guy and he knows what he’s talking about.”

The addition of Troy Smock as an assistant coach for the Falcons has been a blessing.

“I really like having him around,” Maple said. “He motivates us. He wrestles with us, well, he bangs us around sometimes. He always pushes us.

“He makes the atmosphere in the wrestling room different. He and his wife (Danielle) have done a lot for this team this year.”  

In the offseason, a few men have helped Maple along the way.

“I was in seventh grade when Kyle was a senior and Iain (Gilchrist) coached me,” Maple said. “When I was in youth wrestling, and even when I was in junior high at states, he was in my corner coaching me. I always listen for him. He always gives me good advice. He pushes me and keeps me headed in the right direction.”

A rival high school coach, who happens to live not too far away from him, has also helped.

“I go to open tournaments with Scott Francis (who coaches at Kirtland and was formerly the head coach at Jefferson, where he still resides) and (his son, Kirtland star) Evan,” Maple said. “Me and Evan go everywhere. He’s my dual partner.

“(Scott’s) a great role model. He knows so much about wrestling. He’s always pushing me and Evan. Sometimes, we end up wrestling in his basement. He’s got mats down there.”

It hasn’t hurt Maple that he had the example of Kyle Gilchrist to follow.

“When we were at the old school, we were in the same wrestling room,” Maple said of the Columbia graduate. “I got to see how he worked, how he pushed the others, how he was a leader. I try to that, too.”

“Kyle wasn’t just a good athlete. He worked hard at school, too. Him going to college, I got to see, and from what I hear now, wrestling in college is making his life better.

“Now, I want to go and wrestle in college.”

Ettinger is a freelance writer from Ashtabula.

Text Only
  • Maruna headed for Mount

    LeeAnn Maruna never really expected to play collegiate golf. She was so taken aback when the opportunity presented itself, she didn’t know how to respond. After all, the Grand Valley graduate had only been playing the game for a few years.

    July 23, 2014

  • Crate Late Models featured

    The Evergreen Lake Park Campground Crate Late Models, the premier class at Raceway 7, will be featured Friday night as they race for $1,000 to win.

    July 23, 2014

  • Norm He’s the Norm

    In the early part of the 20th century, as golf was taking off in popularity, it was not uncommon for boys to take up the game after becoming caddies.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don A Don McCormack column: The journey is what’s most important

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of weeks, you’ve heard over and over and over how it’s been a half-century since one of Cleveland’s big three professional sports teams have won a championship.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Murdick wins as Big Block Modifieds return

    The BRP Big Block Modifed Tour returned to Raceway 7 with 21 of the region’s fastest Modifieds turning out for the scheduled 35-lap event, the first for the Modifieds at the northeast Ohio speedplant since 2005, an event won by Todd Burley.

    July 21, 2014

  • Dale Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Chances for controlled waterfowl hunting

    Waterfowl hunters are invited to participate in special drawings for controlled hunting opportunities, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife. The drawing dates and times are as follows:

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kingsville gets it done

    In a rematch of a previous softball clash between the Kingsville 9-10-year-olds and those from Conneaut, Kingsville had settled thing quickly and decisively in a mercy-rule triumph.

    July 20, 2014

  • TD Club golf A Chris Larick column: TD Club hopes to score

    Though its life was never seriously threatened, the Ashtabula County Touchdown Club has suffered in recent years.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Don A Don McCormack column: A heartfelt plea to curb violence

    Like everyone who loves soccer — and the rest of us whose interest level rises dramatically every four years when the World Cup comes around — Kevin Meier was appalled at the recent attack of soccer referee John Bieniewicz in Michigan by a player that resulted in Bieniewicz tragically dying.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • valor A valiant effort

    Paralympians from all over the United States experienced three days of competition, education and fun during the Valor Games Gold Medal Camp at Spire this weekend.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video