Rhyan: Handling adversity is the key to postseason success

Oak Ridge wrestlers prepare for postseason with league tournament Saturday at Sheldon High
By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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As Oak Ridge High’s wrestling team prepares for the postseason, which begins at Sheldon High Saturday with the Delta River League tournament, Oak Ridge coach Casey Rhyan knows he has prepared his team well.

The key to postseason success, according to Rhyan, is successfully dealing with adversity. This isn’t something he plans on springing on his wrestlers this week, however.

“I’ve been telling them all year that the key is how they handle adversity,” Rhyan said. “It’s four grueling weekends of tournaments and if you keep winning there is no time off. You have to weigh in twice at these tournaments too so you have to be smart with your diet, your running and everything.

“Another thing is most everyone is going to have something that hurts or will be sick during this time, as the odds are not with you of going through the postseason without an injury or without being sick. The kids need to be prepared for that.”

Rhyan added that except for the rare wrestler who is by far the best around, sooner or later you’re going to lose and you have to know how to deal with it.

“You’re going to lose at some point and you better get over it because in about 45 minutes you’re going to have another match and if you lose again your season is over,” Rhyan said. “Wrestling is a vehicle to teach life lessons and one of the big things in life is how you handle adversity.”

At the league tournament, wrestlers must place in the top-four of their weight class to advance to the Division I section tournament the following week at Vintage High School. Oak Ridge’s Keaton Subjeck and Brandon Claiborne figured to be No. 1 seeds in their weight classes at the league meet, while other top Trojan wrestlers such as Zach Claiborne, Ali Atebar and Jacob Proul enter the tournament as underdogs.

For Zach Claiborne, Subjeck, Proul, Atebar and Xavier Liongson, as seniors, it’s their last chance to achieve their goals as a high school wrestler, which for many is to make the state tournament.

“I tell the seniors all that matters is that they have no regrets,” Rhyan said. “No regrets that they didn’t do enough to prepare or that they don’t hold back during a match or anything like that.”