Donders snags 300th win

By David Fleet
Coach Erik Donders recently etched his name in the Blackhawk Varsity Wrestling record book.
On Jan. 15, Donders notched the 300th victory of his more than 16 year plus career at Brandon
“It’s not my win,” said Donders. “It’s all about the wrestlers, coaches, parents and community that stepped up and made this happen.”
The 300 milestone came at a meet in Imlay City versus Harper Woods.
“I started the season knowing the magic number to 300 was just four,” said Donders. “After the (300th) win I actually forgot that milestone was reached. I was thinking more about the matches.”

Donders was hired as the Blackhawks new coach for the 2006-07 season after spending a season as an assistant to former varsity coach Josh Cross. He previously spent time as an assistant coach at Michigan Center High School in Jackson during the 2000-01 school year and volunteered as an assistant at Lake Superior State University from 1992-94.
Donders arrived with plenty of high school and college wrestling experience as a three-time state qualifier at DeWitt High School in the Lansing area, and was a two-time national qualifier at Lake Superior State, as well as an All-American his senior year at 126 pounds.
“Coaching varsity wrestling keeps me going,” said Donders. “It’s not about the wins, rather when I get a wrestler that works hard, puts in the effort and wants to improve, I’ve succeeded.”
Donders said the only way to develop a successful wrestling program at the high school level is to get kids involved in wrestling at an early age, and teach them the same principles from when they first start in the sport through the high school level. He said the keys to being successful in high school wrestling are to be disciplined, mental toughness, and working well within a structured environment.
“I’m most proud of the eight consecutive years as Michigan High School Academic All-State,” he said.

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