December 18, 2013 - With the Wildcat grapplers back on the mat, Head Coach Paul McDevitt says fans can expect a "great group of wrestlers that will train hard and compete with the best in the state."
Front row: Coach Joe Wood, Coach Brandon Rank, Zach Wood, Wesley Maskill, (Captains), Coach Paul McDevitt, Coach Alan Wilfong, Coach Jason Eldridge Second row: Managers – Bella Giannola, Brooke Viviano, Natalie Wardlaw, Kaitlyn Barber. Third row: Matteo Lombardo, Eddie Schlikenmeyer, Grant Krause, Adam Schlikenmeyer, Ben Line, Brian Brougham, Seth Davis, Levi Kinne, Evan Tazzia. Fourth row: Peter Veltigian, Mike Smith, Jamal Pettiford, Noah Kinne, Wyatt Harden, John Brish, Austin Newby, Byron Schlikenmeyer. Fifth row: Noah Goodman, Brendin Floyd, Dustin Hurtado, Ethan Kerin, Chance Garcia, Nick Johnson, Julio Pettiford, Joe Fisher, Jacob Call. Sixth row: Rain Fredricks, Zeb Throne, Collin Campbell, Ethan Moll, Peter Economou, Brenden Goodman, John Hassenzahl, Garrett Tyrrell. Photo by Matt Johnson. (click for larger version)
"We expect to have a lot of fun challenging ourselves to bring out our personal best. We have built a very competitive schedule that allows us to experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat," McDevitt said. "We hope to use this to prepare us for the MHSAA post season tournament run in February."
One of the first tournaments will be the 43-team Oakland County Championship meet Dec 20 starting at 3 p.m. and again on Dec 21 starting at 9 a.m. It will be held at the Oxford Middle School field house.
"Oakland County has many strong programs including Rochester and Detroit Catholic Central that will make this a great early challenge for us," noted McDevitt.
While they have many wrestlers returning this year who contributed to the team last year, McDevitt said they have six returners who are individually ranked. They include No. 2 Alex Hrisopoulos, Soph. (State 5th), No. 5 Eddie Schlickenmeyer, Sr. (2X State Placer) No4 Wes Maskill, Sr. (State 5th) No. 9 Grant Krause, Sr. (25-11 record) No 6 Ben Line, Sr. (State Qualifier) and No. 4 Zach Wood, Sr. (State Qualifier).
"In Division I, we currently are ranked Number 4 in the state," McDevitt added.
Other returning varsity wrestlers include:
Bailey Kammerer, Jr. (19-23), Colin Campbell, Jr. (25-8), Noah Kinne, Jr. (13-6)
Wyatt Hardin, So. (23-5), Levi Kinne, So. (21-2) and Jamal Pettiford.
They also have several new wrestlers on the team including many freshmen.
"Their job is to work hard, learn from the coaches and veterans and prepare themselves to be ready to step in and get the job done when they are called upon whether it be this year or in future years," McDevitt said. "A few freshman that might see some significant time in the lineup include Jacob Call, Vinnie Vackaro and Peter Economou. However, it is still way too early to know which of the newbies will have an impact on our varsity-A lineup."
The team's strength lies in "collective experience," noted McDevitt.
"We have the potential to put together a pretty balanced line up if we can sort out some of our weight classes. Right now, we have several of our top wrestlers competing for the same two or three weight classes," he said. "If we can get that balanced line up, sprinkled in with a few very outstanding individuals, we could have a very good team that is difficult to match up with."
As far as the league goes, McDevitt said the OAA Red is always tough with teams that are "traditionally strong" like Rochester, Clarkston, Adams and Lake Orion. However, he hopes to continue Oxford's streak of six consecutive league championships, three of which they won in their current league and three from their previous league, the Flint Metro League.
"It will be a challenge for sure," he said.
The goal of the season is "to do the little things well that make the difference between good and great."
"We are going to be a good team, but we have the potential to be a great team if we do the little things well. This includes our technique, physical training and mental toughness," McDevitt said. "It feels great to be back."
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.