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Grapplers suffer first-ever OAA loss



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January 18, 2012 - Oxford's varsity wrestling team suffered its first-ever Oakland Activities Association loss during the opening week of Red division play on Wednesday, Jan. 11.

Traveling down to Rochester High School, the Wildcats started out strong with a 65-10 destruction of Farmington Hills Harrison, but came up short against Rochester, 37-29.

Varsity head coach Brandon Rank said the loss to Rochester showed the team's youth. "I sat down and realized that we only have four guys that have been in pressure situations, in a tight duel meet with league implications on the line," Rank said. "I think that showed. It was eye opening for us all."

"We only have the four guys that were in our lineup (last year) and were expected to play a role, whether it be (to) win, not giving up a major, things like that," Rank said. "We gave up a couple of pins that really hurt us, one of them while we were winning, and those are the kind of things in a tight duel meet that you are going to be undone by."

Rank said he knew going in the OAA Red was a tough league.

"We still got the likes of Clarkston, Lake Orion is looking good, Adams. We got tough teams here coming up. Those are teams we would like to beat and we would like to get a chance in the league tournament to wrestle well (and) hopefully get a share of that league title."

Rank noted before the meet his team seemed "wound up and nervous."

He added this week during practice he was looking to "take some of the pressure off."

"We want to get back to having good, fun wrestling," Rank said. "Sometimes when you think about being returning state champions and things like that, there is added pressure."

"In all reality, this team is at a different point than last years team was," Rank added. "It's a different team, and they need their time to grow into their roles, and sometimes a little bit of fun and getting back to the basics and enjoying wrestling again is what is needed."

After taking the weekend off from wrestling, Oxford returns to the mat on Wednesday, Jan. 18 at home against Lake Orion and Avondale (5:30 p.m. start) before traveling to Holt on Saturday, Jan. 21.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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