Grapplers earn seventh straight district title

Dating back to 2008, the Oxford Wildcats wrestling program has won 12 league titles in the last 13 years. On Feb. 12, head coach Ross Wingert’s program extended an equally impressive streak, capturing their seventh consecutive district championship at Romeo High School.
Drawing the hometown Bulldogs in the semifinals, the Wildcats came out on the right end of a back-and-forth match, 30-27. Romeo jumped out to a 12-4 lead, but Oxford began to mount their comeback with wins by junior Jack Thompson and senior Nate Call at 125 and 135 pounds, respectively.
Considering the Bulldogs had defeated the Wildcats by 19 points, 30-11, roughly one month prior, this result represented a significant turnaround for the program. Riding this momentum, Oxford made quick work of the Port Huron Northern Huskies, 68-4, in the district final.
The Huskies had advanced by topping their archrival, the Port Huron Big Reds, 59-12, in their semifinal matchup.
“We had wrestled Romeo on Jan. 11 at the Algonac Team Tournament,” Wingert shared. “With us changing regions this year and being placed in the same one as Davison, we really put it in the kids’ heads about wrestling Romeo.
“It was really cool to wrestle them in their new school, and the kids really answered the bell. One of the things we continuously talk about is, it takes 14 individual efforts toward a team goal. All 14 weight classes were superb for us tonight, Romeo is a very young, talented team, as well.”

Eight Wildcats qualified for regionals
At Davison High School on Feb. 15, eight Oxford wrestlers fared well enough in the individual districts to qualify for the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Individual Regionals at the Ian Smith Gymnasium, this past Saturday.
Senior Nate Call, third-place at 135.
Sophomore Zach Call, fourth at 103.
Sophomore Darren McLeod, fourth at 125.
Freshman Tate Myre, second at 160.
Junior Ty Myre, third at 189.
Sophomore Jack Smith, first at 140.
Junior Jack Thompson, second at 125.
Sophomore Sal Vackaro, second at 145.
“We’re extremely excited to have eight guys going (to individual regionals),” Wingert said. “The kids had to come out of a tough district. If you look at some of the districts around the state, they might only have one good team at them.
“We went to a district that has, arguably, a top-10 team in the country in Davison, I like to think we’re a pretty decent team, I know Romeo is a good team. There were some very quality opponents there in districts. So, to get eight guys through, we’re pretty happy about it and excited about our chances at home in the individual regionals.”
Wingert’s humbleness is underselling the success of the program he and his staff have maintained and continued to build. The last time Oxford did not return home with a district title was in 2013, the current junior class was in fourth grade.
“I think we’re a lot different than some of the ‘premier’ programs, if you will,” Wingert offered. “We promote being a multi-sport athlete. Most of our kids play two sports, and a lot of them play three.”
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From Saturday’s Indy Regionals, five Wildcats qualified to wrestle in the state tournament: Jack Thompson, Nate Call, Jack Smith, Sal Vackaro and Tate Myre. Action starts Friday, March 6 and continues Saturday at Ford Field. Staff will Live Tweet from the event for up-to-the-minute results.

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