It’s a new year and the start of a new season for the Oxford boys varsity wrestling team.
Head coach Ross Wingert said that the team is feeling a new energy this season.
With 14 members on the varsity team this season (54 total and 48 returning) the Wildcats wrestlers have set their sights on a state title.
“Every year we train to win a state title as a team,” said Wingert. “We’re a big believer that if we take care of our team goals that our individual goals are going to come through as well… it’s not an easy goal but with the amount of work we put into it and the amount of time and effort and discipline… there’s no reason we shouldn’t be shooting for a state title every year.”
According to Wingert, the Cats are always pushing to challenge themselves, a drive which serves as their greatest strength.
“Versatility is probably our biggest strength. We have quite a bit of depth and that allows us to move our kids around in weight class. It allows for them to have different practice partners day in and day out, as much as we can. Most teams, they will have to wrestle with the same partner day in and day out. We can afford to move kids around and have that depth.”
Even with the team’s innate strengths, Wingert said the team has one major hurdle it will be working to overcome this season.
“We need to improve on our overall mentality. We need to get tougher,” said Wingert. “Wrestling is a tough sport, but our staff really views it as (whoever) has the bigger will and desire to win is going to always come out on top. Our technique is very important. Strategy is important, however in the end, it’s really about the bigger want and the bigger drive and we need to get better there. I’m not saying we aren’t good there, but we need to get better in that area, become tougher, we need to have a better mindset and we need to be unbreakable.”
Among the team’s stand-out athletes, Wingert listed senior captain Sergio Borg.
“They have really developed into good leaders. Obviously, through their performance you can see they are solid wrestlers,” said Wingert.
Wingert also listed senior captain Ryan Miller as one of the team’s top performers, alongside junior Devin Trevino, who he described as a ‘tough wrestler.’
“He’s very versatile,” Wingert added about Trevino. “We count on him to do quite a few things for us.”
Wingert also mentioned juniors Caleb Tabert, Trent Myre and Austin Schlicht.
“Those guys are very solid veterans that we ask to do a lot and are pretty versatile. Austin has probably come the furthest from last year to this year in performance and in his work ethic. He’s a guy that we moved through three different weight classes already and performed well at all three. He’s a top performer and has come a long way since last year,” Wingert added.
On Jan. 6, at Detroit Catholic Central High School the Wildcats wrestling team sent 10 individuals to compete in the Catholic Central Invitational.
All 10 Wildcat wrestlers competed among top wrestlers from around the state and six Oxford wrestlers earned awards by placing in the top six in their respective weight division.
The Cats were led by junior Caleb Tabert’s second-place finish, senior Captain Sergio Borg and junior Devin Trevino placing third, freshmen Ashton Anderson’s fifth-place finish, along with senior Captain Ryan Miller and junior Austin Schlicht, who both placed sixth.
Having such a high number of wrestlers placing at the county invite has left the coach confident that good things will keep on coming this season.
“Our best wrestling is yet to come,” Wingert said. “Last year, in counter action we probably had a really bad start and we didn’t end as well as we would have liked to. This year we started a little slower and we have not put out our optimal lineup yet. We have guys moving around and getting in shape to set up our optimal lineup, knowing that our best wrestling is coming. Oxford wrestling is going to make a statement at the end of the year and we’re excited to do that. The kids are working towards really putting their staple on 2018.”