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November 12, 2013

Wrestling set to hit the mat full-on

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CHICKASHA —

Resendez and Neff are prime examples. Both sophomores, the pair enters 2013 looking to go straight to the top in their weight class.

"I want to get my name up on the board this year," Neff said. "It's for only if you place at state, in the top four."

Resendez said he's out to try and win it all this year, and that's something Randle and his coaches emphasize with the wrestlers from the moment they walk in the door.

"They got a taste of it last year, and now we're trying to point them in the direction and say now let's look at ourselves and try to get our name up on the wall, or a higher goal," Randle said. "You don't have to wait until you're a junior or senior."

Neff and Resendez will be moving up in weight this year, Randle said, presenting new challenges for the young competitors. They plan to do so by focussing on their weaknesses, something the coaches stress in training. Resendez said he wants to work on his card and reduce the effects of fatigue, while Neff wants to improve his technique.

"We always want to have what we're good at, but we confront our weaknesses and say that's not what's going to get us beat," Randle said. "As a coach, that's what I'm looking at and preaching to the kids what they're strong points and weak point are. We work on them together. If you're not willing to work on your weaknesses, it's your weaknesses that's going to get you whipped in the end."

After 20 years in charge of the program, Randle has a solid idea of what it will take for each individual that enters his gym to become a state-title quality wrestler. A former Chickasha wrestler himself, his name was the first up on the wall as the school's first ever state champion. When he returned as a coach, their were five names on that wall, and the number now ranges in the several dozen with 11 state champions and 19 state runners-up.

"You can have a program or a team. There's a lot of teams out there that come in, do a little bit of work, and sometimes they'll have decent kids. We have a program here, and that's why I lose a lot of kids. We come in here and train. I could keep a lot more kids out, but I'd have less names up on the board."

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