Blood running down his right eye from his reopened cut, Varsity wrestler Shane Ross ’15 readies his stance as his opponent gets into position. Both wrestlers brace themselves for this next round, neither backing down. As the round begins, the wrestlers lock together, nimbly readjusting their stance and form constantly while still utilizing all of their strength. The match is tough and hard fought, but eventually, Shane emerges victorious, placing second in his pool of six and advancing to the top eight.
For the dedicated Jesuit athletes, wrestling never stops, even when everyone else is on break. On January 3-4, the Jesuit wrestling team competed in its biggest event of the season, the Texas Outlaw. Taking place in Allen, Texas, the Texas Outlaw hosts 28 teams from Texas, Kansas, Nevada, and Oklahoma. In terms of caliber, the Texas Outlaw is about equivalent to the state tournament, which is why it draws so many teams from different areas.
Due to the intense competition, the team didn’t perform quite as well as they normally do. However, according to head coach Mr. Ryan Menard, “it was a format we’d never wrestled in before. They took and separated the guys into six man pools, and then the best two guys [from each pool] were put into an eight man bracket.” So, the competition was different than what the team was used to. Despite the intensity and new format, “almost everyone had some wins and everybody got at least five games.”
Both Nick Barker ’14 and Shane Ross ’15 placed second in their respective pools. Coach Menard mentioned that although not everyone did as well as they normally do, everyone wrestled well, and the team will continue to improve with similar challenges and with its determination, hard work, commitment, and competition.
Menard commented that the best part of the Texas Outlaw was “the opportunity to get a ton of competition and to see some of the best teams in Texas.”
Ross said that “the Allen Outlaw is without a doubt the toughest tournament we compete in as a team, aside from the state tournament. The Outlaw is the place where you will find your toughest competition, including a majority of your state champions. ” In order to prepare for this tournament, the team “trained daily for at least two hours,” and many wrestlers trained outside of practice as well. The team is still young, with only a few senior wrestlers. So, if this level of dedication continues, the team will soon begin to flourish.
The team’s big tournament, the Ranger Classic, is at Jesuit on January 17th and 18th. Both JV and Varsity are competing, so make sure to go out and support them!