November 28, 2012 - The definition of a sports dynasty is a team that dominates their sport or league for multiple seasons.
Oxford’s wrestlers are looking forward to continuing their dominance on the mat by returning to the state finals. Photo by Dan Shriner. (click for larger version)
The Oxford Wrestling team is coming off a second place state finish in 2011-12, following the 2010-11 state championship.
Coach Brandon Rank believes his team will once again be among the best in Michigan in 2012-13.
"Our expectations are to contend for the state championships," Rank said.
By any measure, that means the Wildcats are among the elite teams in Michigan and are a mini dynasty.
Rank said that competing at that level requires a commitment and hard work that Oxford wrestlers have come to understand.
"It's all about the kids. They buy into our program and know what it takes," Rank said. "It's not just the wrestling. It's the cardio work and all that goes into the daily work. We are not going to be as good on day one as we are by the end of the year. By the end of the year, we will be very good."
There are 45 wrestlers on this year's team and Rank said the school will often send a B-squad to meets so that those wrestlers can also experience the competition that will make them into better grapplers.
There are only 14 different weight classes, so the competition each week is intense. Rank said every wrestler needs to be ready to step up to be among those select 14.
Rank said he expects his senior co-captains to help lead by example and also to put up big numbers of wins.
The three, Rocco Borg, Dan Curtis and Marty Giannola, have been on the state championship team as well as last year's finalists squad. "We expect big things from them and they will show the others what it takes to be champions," Rank said. "They are the core of our lineup."
Junior Mike Willits at 145 pounds is another great Wildcat wrestler who finished second in the state last season. Liam Logan and Wesley Maskill were state qualifiers last season year and bring their experience back to help the team.
Rank said there are six or seven incoming freshmen who will step up to continue the team's top to bottom strength.
The Wildcats will jump into the fray quickly this season. On December 6, the team will face Davison at 7 p.m. at home. The pre-season state rankings have Davison second and Oxford third. "It should be a great test in our first meet," Rank said.
Former Leader Editor Dan Shriner will cover Wildcat football this season.