Wickham, co-founder of NJ wrestling program, passes

Mike Wickham

Mike Wickham, credited as being one of the founders of the North Johnston High School wrestling program, lost his fight with cancer on New Year’s Day. He was 63 years old.

Wickham came to North Johnston in 2003 to help keep stats for the football team as Ken Avent Jr. arrived in Kenly to coach the varsity football team.

It was during all the back-and-forth travel on the activity buses to games when Wickham and Ben Williams, then coach and teacher now principal, discussed starting a wrestling program at the school at a time when the sport was new to much of the area.

“I didn’t know anything about high school wrestling,” said Williams. “I got to talking to Mike and he talked a bunch about wrestling and I started researching about  it on that activity bus going back-and-forth everywhere.

“The conversations he and I had was that we had a good population at North Johnston to have a successful wrestling program.”

With the help of then North Johnston principal Ross Renfrow, Wickham and Williams started the program in 2004.

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