June 06, 2012 - A group of Oxford High School wrestlers is preparing to represent Wildcat country on a national level, but in order to compete, they need some financial support.
OHS wrestlers Daniel Curtis (front, left),Rocco Borg (front, right) along with (standing from left) Kyle Hill, Coach Joe Wood and Zachary Wood need your help. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
Senior Kyle Hill, juniors Rocco Borg and Daniel Curtis, and sophomore Zachary Wood have all earned spots on the Michigan USA Wrestling National Team.
Later this month and next month, they will be competing in duals and individual events in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Fargo, North Dakota; and Daytona Beach, Florida.
"This is the third summer that we've had at least one kid go to the national championships," said Joe Wood, assistant wrestling coach for OHS and coach for Michigan USA Wrestling. "This is the biggest contingent we've ever taken."
All four young warriors will battle it out on the mat using the classic Olympic wrestling styles of Freestyle and Greco-Roman.
"This being an Olympic year, everybody's kind of excited," Wood said.
Wood is thrilled about this golden opportunity for his wrestlers. "They get national exposure," he said. "A lot of college coaches will be there watching them. This has a big impact on what colleges they get into and getting scholarships."
"They do well (at these events) and that's where they get ranked in the country," Wood added.
But in order to go to these three competitions, these talented wrestlers need to raise somewhere "in the neighborhood of $4,500." That covers registration, gear, transportation, camps/training, housing, food and coaching.
"With the way the economy is, that's a huge chunk of money," Wood said. "We'd appreciate any support we can get from businesses, families and individuals. Anybody that wants to help out, just get a hold of me and we can make it happen."
Those interested in donating can contact Wood via e-mail at email@example.com or by calling (248) 808-0260. The wrestlers are conducting a returnable bottle/can drive as well.
Wood is pretty confident about his boys' chances of bringing home the gold. "I think we're going to do really well," he said.
Not that he's biased or anything, but Wood has high hopes for Zachary Wood, who is his younger brother.
"He had over 30 wins as a sophomore heavyweight, which is pretty dang good," he said. "On the national scene, he's ranked Number 9 (in folkstyle high school wrestling) amongst freshmen and sophomores in his weight class."
Zachary is currently the Central Regional Heavyweight Champion for the entire Midwest in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman.
"My brother was projected to be a top three heavyweight (champion) in the country this year," Wood said. "We'll see how it goes. He didn't make the podium last year (at the national individuals), but he beat two of the guys that were on it. He's expected to do pretty well this year."
Wrestling for OHS, Borg has placed three times at the state level.
"He's placed as high as third," Wood said.
Borg competed in a folkstyle duals tournament in Virginia over Memorial Day weekend and defeated two nationally-ranked wrestlers.
"Rocco's a tough, tough kid," said Wood, noting he won the state championship (145-pound weight class) in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman during his very first tournament wrestling these styles last month.
Hill has placed twice at the state level and helped lead the OHS team as a senior captain last season.
"Kyle is one of the hardest working kids we have," Wood said. "Once he gets down to weight, Kyle's going to be very, very hard to beat in Greco-Roman."
As for Curtis, he began wrestling at the varsity level for the first time during the 2011-12 season and he was a state qualifier at 103 pounds.
Curtis qualified for the Michigan USA Wrestling National Team by finishing second in the 120-pound weight class for both Freestyle and Greco-Roman.
"He's put the extra effort in," Wood said.
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.