January 25, 2012 - Getting back to the basics paid off big-time for the varsity wrestling squad as they dominated Avondale and Lake Orion during senior night Jan. 18.
Oxford’s Dan Curtis (left) had an outstanding week. (click for larger version)
The Wildcats defeated Auburn Hills Avondale 60-3 in the first match of the evening, and then embarrassed the Dragons by shutting them out, 72-0.
"Beforehand I told the guys it was the last night they get to wrestle in front of all their friends in this building, and it was really about them," Rank said.
"Seniors give the leadership to the program. They were mentored by strong seniors, and they are mentoring kids who can be strong seniors next year," Rank added.
"This class was a very special class. They were juniors on a state championship team, so there are a lot of contributors there," Rank said. "We got a lot of points out of seniors in key situations."
Rank added the "pressure was definitely lifted" after they lost their first Oakland Activities Association match last week against Rochester.
"Our big goal was to get back to coming together as a team, everybody being in the match the whole time," he said. "We already lost in the league, we weren't expecting that, and went back to making wrestling fun, going out there and competing hard and at the end of it, hopefully we win matches."
Against Avondale, Kyle Hill, Noah Cantara, Wesley Maskill, Grant Krause and Prescott Line all picked up pinfall victories.
Dan Curtis got a technical fall with his 16-1 victory, and Marty Giannola scored a major decision.
It was much the same in Oxford's match against Lake Orion, as eight wrestlers picked up victories by pinfall.
Maskill, Jacob Peasley and Giannola all picked up major decisions, while Rocco Borg and Logan won their matches.
Logan's 11-4 victory over Avondale's Jacob Bloomberg and his 3-1 victory over Lake Orion's Durham Basso really impressed Rank due to Logan coming through and winning a close match.
"Something like that can help us turn the corner and start winning some of those close matches and scoring more points," Rank said.
He also noted Zack Woody "looked good" during his matches. "That was also excellent to see," Rank said.
The Wildcats traveled across I-69 over to Holt High School on Saturday to compete in the Holt Invitational.
When the competition ended, the Wildcats walked away with three individual championships - Hill (125), senior Jacob Peasley (152) and Line (215).
Borg (140) finished second, while Eddie Schlickenmeyer (119) and Willits (130), finished third. Fifth-place finishers include Curtis (103), Cantara (135) and Maskill (145).
Oxford finished third behind Invite champion Davison and runner-up Temperance Bedford.
"We only had 13 guys in our lineup and finished behind Bedford by 10 points," Rank said.
Rank said Curtis was his "most outstanding performer" of the tournament.
"He got the chance to wrestle the number one ranked wrestler at 103, and he put on a show," Rank said. "He wrestled fantastic, lost a close match...but bounced back and wrestled tough all day. He concentrated on scoring a lot of points and really attacking people. That is really what I like to see out of the kids and that is exactly what I asked them to do, and he did it perfectly."
Up next for Oxford is the final OAA League meet of the season at Clarkston High School against Clarkston and Rochester Adams on Wednesday, Jan. 25.
"We concentrating on right now is going out and wrestling tough against Clarkston and Adams," Rank said. "Those are both some pretty darn tough teams, and we would like to come away with some victories there."
The Wildcats will then travel to Waterford Kettering High School on Saturday to compete in the Macomb/Oakland County Duals.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.