Celebrations at Cache warranted
Mon, 01/27/2014 - 1:55pm Tyler Palmateer
Celebration broke out within the town just west of Lawton this past weekend, after both Cache boys and girls basketball teams won Comanche County Tournament championships.
It's easy to forget that in the same gym those two teams call home, there was a different kind of elation almost two weeks ago when the school hosted its first-ever wrestling dual.
It's true that only one high-schooler is on the squad, and Cache's current wrestlers are mostly in seventh through ninth grade. But Cache head coach Jimbo Smith still grasped the importance when that group of roughly 15 kids posted a 42-33 win over Eisenhower's junior high.
"I put a lot a lot of emphasis on that being the first dual in school history," Smith said. "I don't think (the kids) realize there's just not that many people walking around who can say they played in the first basketball game at Cache, or the first football game. Those guys are hard to find."
Right now, Cache doesn't have enough wrestlers to take to high school tournaments. Smith plans on recruiting some athletes from the school's hallways in hopes of doing that next year.
Smith reassures, however, that in a few years when this junior high group hits the high school Cache will have a full-on wrestling program on its hands.
Cache athletics director Lonnie Nunley couldn't be happier.
"We've got a kindergarten through sixth-grade program run by Mark Henslick that has over 90 kids in it," Nunley said. "There's great excitement for this program."
That was on full display when a healthy, vocal crowd showed up for the historic dual against Ike. Smith wasn't surprised one bit by the turnout.
"I knew there would be a good crowd," he said. "They're excited about wrestling and so am I. It's getting ready to get hopping real quick."
Smith wrestled at MacArthur in high school and had a long coaching stint at Lawton High, before working the better part of the past year with his brother inside Mac's junior high program.
Cache pulled the funds together, partly through its youth wrestling club, to purchase singlets, mats and other equipment. The whole idea came to a head in late October.
"We were about a month behind when we got going," Smith said. "We started late. I tossed (the offer) around for a while, but realized: You've got a one-high school town with a nice facility and a lot of kids. That's the perfect storm for a good program."