Jules Joseph and George Schanck are ready to lead a strong Ocoee wresting team this winter.
OCOEE Three years ago, Jules Joseph and George Schanck were training together as a part of a football workout at Ocoee High School.
At the time, the two athletes didn’t know one another, but Joseph encouraged Schanck to come out for the wrestling team.
Now in their third season wrestling together, that invitation has paid dividends. Joseph and Schanck have already left a strong mark on the Ocoee wrestling program. At the end of last season, Joseph and Schanck made the state wrestling competition. Only one other wrestler in the Ocoee wrestling program’s five-year history had gone before.
“It was pretty exciting,” Joseph said. “A lot of hard work I put in the season making it to the state tournament. I was pretty nervous, but I was pumped to compete at that level at the same time.”
At the state competition, Joseph, now a senior, and Schanck, a junior, were able to wrestle against higher-level competitors and gain more experience.
They continued gaining experience this summer at the AAU National Duels and the USA Wrestling Freestyle and Greco Nationals.
In the AAU National Duels, the team they competed with, Westside Wrestling, came in fifth. Joseph won seven of 10 duels and Schanck won six of 10.
The competition made the teammates want to be more well-rounded wrestlers.
“It makes you want to work harder,” Schanck said. “You see that everyone is good, and you can be good in your area, but in other areas you can be bad.”
Both Schanck and Joseph learned they want to improve their shots.
“In those competitions we learned that shots help us win matches,” Joseph said.
Now, the duo leads a team of Ocoee wrestlers who have more experience than years past.
Mike Shultz, who takes over the program this year after spending the last three seasons as an assistant, has watched the team develop into a contender.
“This is a really good group,” Shultz said. “This is one of the better young groups I’ve worked with. They’re good, hard-working kids — very together.”
Now with a history of three players competing at state, the team has a foundation to build upon. But Shultz isn’t out to weigh his athletes down with pressure and lofty goals. Instead, he is encouraging the team to focus on every match and meet as they come and to continue to a build a culture for a strong wrestling program at Ocoee High School.
“Never look past the first match; always just focus on the next match, the next opponent you have,” Joseph said.
“Just take it one match at a time,” Schanck added.
Contact Jennifer Nesslar at [email protected].