Wrestling takes historic place at tournament over break

Wrestler+competes+in+wrestle+off+in+November

Karina Brown

Wrestler competes in wrestle off in November

Katherine Dale, Staff Reporter

Over winter break, the wrestling team traveled to Allen, TX to compete in the ‘Outlaw Tournament’. This was the first time since 2020 that Vipers competed in the competition, being able to snag fourth place overall, including athletes Derek Ruffin (‘24) and Zachary Hampton (‘23) who placed first and third in their categories, respectively. This was the highest team placement at Outlaw in school history. For the team, the competition serves as additional practice for the final match, the state competition, which will take place mid-February. 

“Texas Outlaw went amazing,” Senior captain Rex Jacops said. “The tournament was great, my teammates really crushed it, and as an individual, I felt healthy.” 

Jacops placed fifth in his category of 28 competitors consisting of schools from all over Texas and neighboring states of the south. 

“It was my first time at the tournament,” Hampton said. “We had guys from Oklahoma and Alabama coming out to wrestle.”

Outlaw takes place annually at Allen High School, and this winter it featured over 30 schools. In the face of this competition, however, the Viper wrestling team showed resilience and initiative. 

“I placed fourth out of 27 kids in my weight class and it was a really motivating tournament,” Captain Carter Taylor said. “[and] I lost some matches that could have definitely gone either way.” 

According to Taylor, a continuity across the team is that they attempt to push through even the most difficult of matches and demonstrate a hard working attitude. They push through even the toughest of days with tremendous determination. 

“We have a work ethic that a lot of teams don’t have,” Hampton said. “Some teams take time off during break and rest. But for us, break is when the hard work really begins.”

This on and off the mat grit will allow the team to prepare for the UIL state championship that will take place Feb. 17 and 18 in Cypress, TX. Jacops’s ultimate goal is to sweep districts, regionals, and finally take home the state title in his weight class. A goal shared by many of his teammates.

“These large tournaments prepare us [for] state and that’s what everyone is working toward.” Hampton said. 

Despite the competition and intense work, something lies beneath the surface for this team, which separates them from their district competitors. A sense of family. 

“We’re like brothers,” Hampton said, “No matter how the match goes, those guys are going to be there for you. We just want to cheer each other on and lift each other up, which is something special that not all teams have.”