Video courtesy of the Johnston family; edited by CatchMark’s Zach Zweigle
MUSKEGON — If there were any doubt about Oakridge’s No. 1 fan, then that debate may have been settled Monday night.
It’s got to be Mike Johnston, a 47-year-old father of three Eagles sons. Don’t believe us? Watch the video above!
The 1992 Oakridge High School alumnus squeezed into a wrestling singlet and put himself out there, all in the name of supporting the Eagles and his youngest son, who wrestles for the program that was revived this season after being dormant since 1980.
Johnston has a message — well, maybe it’s more of a warning: Come out and watch the Eagles wrestle Montague and Whitehall at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Oakridge High School gym or else he’ll don the singlet again.
“Listen up, if you never want to see me wear a singlet again, you better show up this Wednesday,” Johnston said on the video while trying to fight back laughter. “If you do happen to want to see me in the singlet one more time, also show up this Wednesday.
“Oakridge Eagles wrestling: Get some!”
Chad Latsch is head coach for the Oakridge wrestling team, which features 11 wrestlers.
Latsch said the Eagles have taken their lumps this season, but they’re getting better each time out. In their most recent invite at Ravenna Saturday, they had one wrestler place third, two in fourth and one in sixth.
Oakridge has not won a dual meet, but Latsch said the team is improving.
“This has been a great experience,” Latsch said. “Obviously, as a football coach, having wrestling excites me. We had Randy Mosley (son of legendary coach Don Mosley) coaching our middle school team.
“There have been community members popping in during practice to check us out. The biggest support, though, has been from fellow wrestling teams and coaches. There is a lot of excitement in the conference that we finally have a team. We have been invited to practice with other schools, especially Fruitport and Ravenna. Whitehall coaches have offered help. I’m really overwhelmed by the support.”
When the hilarious video dropped Monday night, it was hard to imagine any bigger supporter than Mike Johnston. He keeps the book for Oakridge’s wrestling team, in addition to serving as announcer for girls and boys basketball at the school and holding the title of Eagles freshman baseball coach.
Baseball is his sport, he admits, and he’s proud of the fact that Oakridge is the lone West Michigan Conference school to feature a freshman team.
But, really, Johnston will do anything to support the Eagles — and that means ANYTHING.
“I love Oakridge. Always have. I am who I am and where I am in life in large part to my Oakridge education,” Johnston said. “My love for sports is still backed up by success in the classroom. Books first.
“I had so much fun in school. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. Wish more of these kids felt that way about school. I’ve never told my sons to have a good day in the mornings before school. (He’s told them), ‘Make it a good day!'”
Mike and Katie Johnston have three sons: Alex, 26; Andy, 18; and Aiden, 16.
Aiden Johnston, who wrestles in the 189- and 215-pound weight classes for Oakridge, shot the video of his father, who picked up the singlet from Latsch after work Monday. Aiden and Katie can be heard laughing in the background during the video shoot, as Johnston tries to keep it together himself.
“Mike and all of the parents have been supportive,” Latsch said. “Mike does my book and organizes meals for Saturday tournaments. He was at our Hart meet all day, even though his son couldn’t wrestle that day. One of the dads is helping me (coach wrestling) and the reception by the parents on our Facebook page has been great.
“Mike is well-known in the area. He was the president of Oakridge Youth Baseball, has coached freshman baseball and is the voice of Eagle basketball. He is willing to do anything to help out.”
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