By MIKE MOGUIN
GTR Sports Writer
Family ties often influence athletes’ decisions on where to go to college.
Such was the case for Jenks’ Thatcher Hall, who signed to wrestle for the University of Oklahoma last month.
“I’m pretty excited to go to OU. I’m grateful and excited for the opportunity to wrestle there,” Hall said.
“I’ve always wanted to go there and once they gave me the chance, it didn’t take a lot for me to say yes because my whole family went there and I grew up a Sooner fan,” Hall said.
Growing up a Sooner got him a fair share of trips to football games in Norman. His family has been season-ticket holders for most of his life and he definitely plans to keep going as a student-athlete.
Hall chose OU over UCO.
He is aware that Oklahoma State will be a major hurdle since the Cowboys are known for being a perennial power in the same way the Sooners are football.
“But I think OU is ‘coming up’ right now and hopefully we can get to that level soon. They (OU) have a lot of good recruits coming in and I like what coach (Lou) Rosselli is doing down there.”
Hall has also gotten to know other coaches on the OU staff through visits to the Oklahoma Regional Training Center.
“It’s basically where all people from across the state train in the summer,” Hall said. “And I first met them there and I’ve had several conversations with them after my visit. He’s (Rosselli) a great guy really. I decided to wrestle for him.”
As of late February, Hall was preparing to compete in the Class 6A state tournament in Oklahoma City in the 145-pound bracket. He began wrestling when he was in the second grade and came to Jenks as a sophomore after attending Metro Christian beforehand. Hall placed fourth with the Patriots his freshman year. As a junior last season, he finished in the top eight in the 182-pound bracket at state.
He was sporting a 33-6 record going into this year’s state tournament.
You don’t have anyone else to lean on but yourself in wrestling and Hall likes it that way.
“In other sports, like football, you’ve got 10 other guys that can help you out if you make a mistake. But in wrestling, it’s just you and the other guy you’re competing against out there, so I like that,” Hall said.
His favorite move is the double-leg, which is where you shoot for both your opponents’ legs to take him down.
Hall’s favorite wrestler to watch is Jordan Oliver, a former Oklahoma State standout who has wrestled for Team USA in the past and became part of the Tar Heel Wrestling Club in North Carolina last summer.
“I like his style because he is really good on his feet,” Hall said of Oliver. “And I feel like that’s where I’m best.”
Wrestlers often have to maintain their weight to remain competing in their weight classes and that can be challenging, Hall said.
“What’s good about wrestling is, it’s a long season,” he said. “You can get down to where your weight is manageable. But at the beginning, it is definitely tougher because your body is used to being at a certain weight and you are trying to get it down to where you want it to be. It takes some discipline and that is hard. You can’t be snacking on cookies and cake like you want to. But it gets easier throughout the season.”
Heading into state, Hall was looking forward to a possible state title.
“I’m just hoping to go out there and do the best I can, wrestle my hardest and whatever result comes is what comes. I’m just going to go out there with high expectations for myself and hopefully I can achieve those expectations,” he said.
“I’m just grateful for the opportunity they gave me at OU. I’m going to go in and get to work and see where my work can take me,” Hall added.