High School Sports

These Connell coaches have been practicing their body slams and suplexes. It’s for a good cause.

Connell wrestling coaches, from left JJ Magana, Hernan Serra, Seath Kimball and Scott Forsyth, will entertain students and the community at a school assembly Friday as a reward for raising more than $6,000 for Pennies for Patients.
Connell wrestling coaches, from left JJ Magana, Hernan Serra, Seath Kimball and Scott Forsyth, will entertain students and the community at a school assembly Friday as a reward for raising more than $6,000 for Pennies for Patients. Courtesy of Connell High School

For all the little Hulkamaniacs who took their vitamins and said their prayers, your day has come.

On a wrestling card like no other, Hulk Hogan and Sting will pair up to take on Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio in a tag-team match Friday at Connell High School.

Hulk and Sting will have to put their differences aside, because Guerrero is known to lie, cheat and steal to come out on top. Add in Mysterio’s high-flying antics, and who knows what could happen?

The fun and games are all part of the Pennies for Patients fundraiser at the high school that benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The wrestling match — Connell Body Slams Cancer — is a bonus for all the hard work the kids have put in the past two weeks raising money. The main event will be a school assembly, held at 1:45 p.m.

Hulk
Scott Forsyth, as Hulk Hogan, along with fellow Connell wrestling coaches JJ Magana, Hernan Serra and Seath Kimball, will entertain students and the community at a school assembly Friday as a reward for raising more than $6,000 for Pennies for Patients. Courtesy of Connell High School

The public is invited and the event is free, but donations will be accepted at the at the door.

There is premier seating for sponsors, and a few prime seats are available for a Ted DiBiase-sized donation.

Last year, wrestling coaches Seath Kimball (Sting) and Scott Forsyth (Hulk) squared off in the ring for charity. This year, they have upped the ante by adding fellow coaches JJ Magana (Eddie Guerrero) and Hernan Serra (Rey Mysterio) to the fun.

“Anything I can do to embarrass myself for their amusement is fair game,” Kimball said of the students. “We get people in the community saying it is awesome because they grew up watching it. Even though it isn’t real, it’s a lot of fun.”

Sting
Seath Kimball as Sting Courtesy of Connell High School

While the wrestling match is the main attraction, the Pennies for Patients fundraiser has taken off like like Rowdy Roddy Piper’s kilt in a windstorm.

Last year, the program raised about $1,600. This year, they surpassed that total in the first five days.

“The kids have gone out and found community sponsors,” Kimball said. “If each class (seventh grade through seniors) raises a certain amount of money, that will be matched by their community sponsor. The kids have taken that and run with it.”

Pennies for Patients

This is the second year the Connell students have put their efforts into the cause. The high school students were split into four teams, and the seventh and eighth grades classes also joined the fun.

“Our goal was to make it better than ever,” senior Dylan Radke said. “Some kid put a $100 bill in a box today. We are so pumped about how well this is going.”

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is a national organization, and multiple schools throughout the nation have been participating in the Pennies for Patients fundraiser since 1994.

Eddie Guerrero
JJ Magana as Eddie Guerrero Courtesy of Connell High School

“Some of the bigger school aren’t raising as much as we have,” student body president Makenna Price said. “Cancer affects everyone. Everyone knows someone who has had cancer, and this is a way we can give back.”

Radke and junior Israel Poulson started planning for this year’s fundraiser in November. Radke said his goal this year was $5,000, but that amount was eclipsed by more than $1,000 with one day to go, and did not include the sponsors’ matching money.

“It has been pretty stressful for me and Dylan,” Poulson said. “But our school has been amazing.”

While Poulson has coordinated the assembly, Radke has been in charge of the funds. Together, they have created a masterpiece.

They reached out to the community and got six sponsors — Easterday Farms, Back to Basics Chiropractic in Kennewick, Klaustermeyer Farms, Zurcher Dairy, Coulee Flats Dairy and Ed Poe Insurance Agency — who all agreed to match up to $665 per team.

“Originally, we didn’t think we would meet that,” Radke said.

Rey Mysterio
Hernan Serra as Rey Mysterio Courtesy of Connell High School

Poulson said it’s encouraging to see kids step up to make a difference.

“Some kids think we are just a farming community,” she said. “We are so much more. Every penny can help a family in need.”

Pulling off the look

Grandma’s favorites were Sting and ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage.

Seath Kimball, Connell wrestling coach, Sting impersonator

Kimball and his assistant coaches not only have the moves, but they can pull off the looks of their alter egos — for the most part.

Granted, Forsyth is NOT 6-foot-7 and 302 pounds, but he’s got the traps and biceps to pull off the Hulk’s look. Once he gets down to business with a leg drop or two, no one will notice he’s only 6 feet tall.

Kimball, who is 6-3 and muscular, fits the Sting image to a T.

“Coach Forsyth is the weight training coach at the high school and we are both former college athletes,” Kimball said. “We want to encourage them to do things the right way. It goes a long way in showing the kids in class and in coaching that we have put in the work.

“As our personalities go, Coach Forsyth is the Hulk,” Kimball continued. “He does that well. JJ is pretty close, no doubt he had to be Eddie Guerrero. Eddie and Rey are huge with the Latino community.”

This year’s event also will have a regulation ring, donated by UFC fighter Bryan Caraway. The ring currently is at Kimball’s house, where the wrestlers have been perfecting their moves.

“We have put it to good use,” Kimball said. “You will not be disappointed. We all kind of walk away from practice groaning.”

When Kimball and Forsyth were putting their plan into action last year, they thought about a regular wrestling match. With their size difference, they hatched a new plan.

“My grandma (Maxine Cormier) loved wrestling, and we grew up watching it,” Kimball said. “Grandma’s favorites were Sting and ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. When we decided to turn it into a WWE kind of match, we chose who we liked growing up.”

Annie Fowler: 509-582-1574, @TCHIceQueen

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