Skipping right past typical coach-speak, Tahlequah coach James Rappe opted for hyperbole prior to the start of the 2013-2014 wrestling season.
“I fully anticipate this season to be one that people will talk about for years to come,” he said.
And thus the bar has been set for the Tigers.
Luckily Rappe returns a strong contingent from last year’s team that sent four wrestlers to the Class 5A state tournament. Reese Davis (138 pounds) and Hestin Lamons (145) both finished third at the state tournament, while Mitch Sellers (132) was fourth. Paul Sargent did not place.
Combining those four with Zech VanFleet and Colton Wright ------ who returns from a leg injury that forced him to sit out his junior season ------- has Rappe conjuring up high expectations for the Tigers this year.
“I anticipate this to be a great year for Tahlequah. We will have a lot of familiar faces in our line up with a few new additions,” he said. “The key for our success this year is to continue to grow as a team. If we are going to be able to successful those support guys are going to be the key to it.”
However, the weights that each will wrestle at are still in up in the air.
“Currently, we are still looking at possible lineup scenarios,” Rappe said. “The fans can expect to see the usual suspects such as Lamons, Sellers, VanFleet, Davis and Wright in the lineup. However, their roles will be changing throughout the season in order to get matchups we want for the team to be successful.”
Tahlequah’s chances of making it to dual state this year are also enhanced with all three district duals ------- against Skiatook, Shawnee and Bishop Kelley ------- taking place in the TMAC this year.
“I believe that this year should be a successful one not only from a Dual Team stand point but with the boys returning we should be able to make some waves in the tournament rankings as well,” Rappe said.