There are 18 weight classes in middle school wrestling. More often than not, the Oxford middle school wrestling team could only fill 11 slots, so winning a dual meet after starting out 42 points in the hole from forfeits was pretty difficult. But as this team showed, it wasn't an impossible task, as the young Hornets finished with a pretty impressive 5-6 record."Even though we ended up 5-6 it could be said we were the toughest team with a losing record to ever wrestle in the Southern Chester County Middle School League (SCCMSL)," said Coach Tim Hershey. "We had five more wins than last season. We only had 11 men in the lineup of 18 and some meets we were able to bump some wrestlers up a weight class to slide in a JV wrestler to give us a 12 man lineup, and how these boys responded was phenomenal. To be able to come back from sometimes 42 or sometimes 36 points down right out of the gate and still win five matches is incredible."
Obviously, the team was getting quite a few wins from the guys that did take the mat, and that led to great optimism heading into the SCCMSL Championship tournament held last weekend. Of the 11 wrestler to take the mat in the tournament, eight came home with hardware, including four champs and a runner-up. And the three that didn't reach the medal rounds missed by just one match. The end result was a second place finish in the team standings.
"They sometimes say just throw it all together and the cream will rise to the top," said Hershey. "Well, we weren't number one, but we were number two and it is the most satisfying number two anybody could ever ask for. It kind of feels like we were a 100-meter sprinter with one leg and finished just behind the world record holder. Stetson, who had a tremendous season going undefeated, did in fact win the championship, but to finish behind a team like that feels sensational. What can I say? Our boys were just awesome."
Collin Moran (105-pound weight class), Ryan Montgomery (110), Jason Hostetter (115), and Jamie Sanchez (155) all stood atop the podium as champions for Oxford. Also placing were Eric Chavez (2nd, 95), Alex Chavez (3rd, 100), Kyle Leonard (4th, 85) and Damien Matthews (4th, 100).
"Our other three wrestlers, Jake Bradley, Justin Lyster, and Humberto Bernal all had great tournaments but missed the medal round by one match," said Hershey. "Even though this was just a varsity tournament, I would like to acknowledge the Junior Varsity wrestlers as well; Matt Kline, Aaron George and Antoine Prigg all had winning seasons and all three did have both varsity and junior varsity rolls through the entire season."
"I was asked who my team leaders are and truth be known, they're all leaders," said Hershey. "They all have exactly what it takes to be a strong leader in the wrestling room and as well as in society. Wrestling builds character and all these boys bring something to the table that the other one can learn from therefore strengthening each other. With seven eighth graders moving onto the high school next year, let's just hope that we can fill the wrestling room with some new faces and mold these newcomers into champions."