Wrestlers look forward to dual success
By Kyle Salomon
Mustang wrestling looks to continue dual success while improving on tournament outcomes.
Last season when it came to dual competition, the Bronco grapplers were one of the best teams in their district, but they struggled at tournament-style competitions. This season the focus is to improve on their tournament places.
Mustang head coach Dave Rankin said that has been a focus in the preseason up to this point.
“Last year we really focused on becoming a really good dual team, and we had a good season,” he said. “We didn’t do very well in tournaments a year ago so that has been a big focus of ours this year as we prepare for the start of the season. We are still working hard to be a good dual team, but we want to be good at both.”
Mustang has been competing in several open tournaments throughout the month of November in preparation for the season to start. Rankin said he likes what he has seen so far.
“A lot of guys have really had strong showings in those open tournaments,” he said. “Their hard work is really showing up right now. We are still waiting to get a couple of guys from football so we haven’t set our full lineup yet, but we have a pretty good idea of what it is going to be.”
Mustang opens the dual season Dec. 5 at Edmond North. The Huskies are ranked No.1 in 6A wrestling and are the defending state champions. Rankin said his team will find out where they are right out of the gate.
“Edmond North is going to be a tremendous challenge for us,” he said. “They are the defending state champions and are returning most of their roster. It will be a great measuring stick for us to see where we are and give us something to really grade ourselves off of the rest of the season.”
Mustang has a total of 65 wrestlers in the program right now, which is the most they have ever had in the program’s history. The Broncos have 12 seniors returning from last year’s squad including state tournament qualifier Zac Julian.
Rankin said Julian will be counted on as a leader for the team as well as other seniors.
“Zac is going to have a big year for us,” he said. “He is a great example of how to work on and off the mat. Other senior leaders will be Gareth Ballard, Jordan Kalmeyer, Clay Feland, David McCright and Robert King. All of those guys will have great years for us.”
Two new assistant coaches have joined Rankin’s staff this season. Craig Allen and Brad Dick will start their first year in the Bronco wrestling program. Longtime wrestling assistant Will Allen is still with the program alongside Rankin.
“I have a tremendous coaching staff helping me,” Rankin said. “They do an amazing job with the kids and the kids really respond to them. Will Allen is a great friend who I have had the pleasure of coaching with for many years. I am very lucky to have him. Craig Allen and Brad Dick are two younger coaches who are very enthusiastic and relate to the kids really well. They help out a lot in the technique department. I’m very lucky to have them as well.”
Rankin said the strength of the team will be similar to last year as the overall team concept will lead the way.
“We are going to place a lot of guys in tournaments because we are a very deep team,” he said. “We have a lot of really good wrestlers on this squad. It’s going to be a fun year for Mustang wrestling.”