January 04, 2012 - Oxford's varsity wrestling squad closed out the 2011 calender year with a second place finish during their annual Oxford Invite on Wednesday, Dec. 28.
Oxford’s Liam Logan keeps his opponent all tangled up. (click for larger version)
After facing little resistance in a win over Ferndale (74-6), the Wildcats were forced to break a sweat in victories over Holly (43-19) and Shelby (40-20) before running out of gas in the final duel against Hudson.
Hudson defeated Oxford 38-27, avenging Oxford's come-from-behind victory during last season's Oxford Invite.
According to varsity head coach Brandon Rank, it was the bonus points Hudson picked up that ultimately hurt Oxford in the end.
Oxford gave up bonus points - pinfalls, technical falls and major decisions - in seven of eight matches they lost.
"We can't have that," he said. "We have wrestled better teams and given up a whole lot less bonus points."
In the end, Rank still gave credit to Hudson.
Oxford’s Zack Wood (left) battles it out with an opponent. (click for larger version)
"Husdon is a very tough team and they showed up ready to compete with us, and they certainly did that," he said. "They scored bonus seven out of their eight wins, and we scored bonus in five of our six wins."
Even in defeat, Rank said it was a "fantastic day of wrestling."
"We had four teams ranked in the top five in the state in division four, division two and division one, so everybody got good matches and this time of year over Christmas break, that is what we are really looking for."
"We are looking to push our guys, challenge them, and we certainly got that with the teams we brought in," he said.
160 lb. junior Tom Spicuzza, who made his first start of his varsity career, really impressed Rank despite his 1-3 record during the Invite.
"He worked hard and he really was a joy to watch in his first competition," Rank said.
Edwin Schlickenmyer (119), senior Kyle Hill (125), junior Rocco Borg (140) and senior Prescott Line all went 4-0 on the day. Junior Daniel Curtis (112), sophomores Mike Willits (135) and Zack Wood (heavyweight) each went 3-1, while senior Noah Cantera (140) and junior Marty Giannola (171) each posted a 2-2 record.
The loss exposed some areas Oxford needs to improve on.
"Our conditioning in the third period, I would still like to see us get better there," he explained. "As the day wore on, I think we got a little more sluggish...we need to compete all day long. We need to keep that high tempo, high energy and be able to sustain that throughout the day. Otherwise, we are going to lose big matches like that in the finals.
Up next for Oxford is a dual meet against Novi Detroit Catholic Central on Wednesday, Jan. 4.
"Some of these kids (on DCC) we have lost to already at County. They finished ahead of us at some places at County, so what we are going to do is we are going to look to come out there and work hard for six straight minutes and see what happens in the end," Rank said.
"We beat them before by outconditioning them, working harder throughout the whole six minutes, and that is really what our mentality is going to be," he added.
"Regardless if you are tired, you don't show it. You push them and push them and push them, and when the final whistle blows, win or lose, they know they were in a battle."
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.