March 14, 2012 - "Tough."
Oxford Middle School's wrestling team celebrates its first-ever victory in the Oakland County Tournament. (click for larger version)
That's the word Coach Kyle Brammer used over and over again to explain why, for the first time ever, Oxford Middle School's wrestling team won the Oakland County Middle School Wrestling Championships held over the weekend at Rochester High School.
"This is a very young, inexperienced team that's really just tough. They show up ready to wrestle," he said. "We're not packed full of kids that have been wrestling their whole lives. We have maybe three or four kids that have been wrestling for more than two years. Our kids are just tough."
Oxford's seventh and eighth-grade grapplers scored a combined 252 points in the tournament, soundly beating their nearest competitor, Rochester Reuther Middle School, which finished second with 215 points.
"We won it outright, from start to finish," Brammer said. "We were in the lead through the whole thing."
"I knew we were going to be in the top three and I knew we stood a great chance to win it overall," he noted. "But to come in and dominate it the way we did, I didn't think thatwas possible. My kids wrestled their best."
Winning this tournament was the team's main goal this year. "It's our only individual and weekend tournament, so it's our only chance to really prove our team," Brammer said.
A total of 17 Oxford kids wrestled in the tournament, which featured grapplers from approximately 20 middle schools.
Earning championship status in their weight classes were Vinnie Vackaro (100) and Adam Schlickenmeyer (189).
Four Wildcat wrestlers were runner-ups in their classes – Dylan Terrian (85), Byron Schlickenmeyer (heavyweight); Peter Economou (140) and Derek Medvedik (125).
Finishing third in their respective weight classes were Garrett Tyrrell (90), Anson Rowley (135) and Jacob Call (75).
"From lightweight to heavyweight, we out-toughed kids," Brammer said. "We didn't quit. We pulled off some big upsets in some big matches."
As a team, the OMS wrestlers are 10-0 this season. "These kids work hard," Brammer said. "They might not be the most experienced when it comes to technique, but they're the best-conditioned and toughest kids around. They have the biggest hearts."
Brammer, a 2008 Oxford High School graduate and former Wildcat grappler, believes Oxford's developed a solid wrestling culture that's really starting to pay off on the mat.
"From the club program all the way up to the high school, I think we finally have everything in place," he said. "Kids are starting to buy into the program and believe."
Brammer wanted to make sure his assistant coach, Mike Myer, a 2009 OHS graduate and former Wildcat wrestler, got the credit he deserves for this fantastic season.
"He's been my right-hand man through all of this," Brammer said. "He's really contributed a lot to this team."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.