Oxford athletics add wrestling to winter sports lineup


Jordan Solinger, staff writer

The Oxford School District introduced a new sport to its lineup for the 2022-2023 school year: wrestling. Tryouts will be held on Sept. 12 through the 16. The wrestling team will be led by head coach Konrad Ernst and assistant coach Brandon Beckerdite. Ernst and Beckerdite previously coached at the Oxford Wrestling Club. Ernst was a two-time All-American at Wisconsin-La Crosse and previously served as a substitute teacher at Bramlett Elementary and Oxford Middle School. Ernst brings years of experience and puts the new program in great hands.

“With 18 years of wrestling experience, I feel that my knowledge of the sport is exactly where it needs to be to lead this team through our first season,” Ernst said.

Ernst explained how certain traits and developments are required of students who want to partcipate in wrestling.

“A great wrestler will have attributes such as consistency, willingness to work hard, passion to be their best, patience,respect, responsibility, tenacity, and a competitive edge,” Ernst said. “Whether an individual looks at these and thinks they have all of these traits or think they don’t have any, wrestling can still be a sport for them. They are characteristics that will be learned and developed throughout the season.”

Oxford Athletic director Christopher Baughman speaks very highly of Ernst.

“We are so extremely lucky to have been able to name Coach Ernst as our first head wrestling coach,” Baughman said. “Many times, that person may not have a tremendous amount of experience in the program you are starting. Not only is Coach Ernst eager to see wrestling finally begin to grow in Mississippi, he brings a tremendous wealth of experience and knowledge about the sport.”

Baughman explained why wrestling is an important program to add to Oxford sports, providing more diverse opportunites for all students.

“To us, this not only gives more students another opportunity to participate in something while in high school, but it also gives those students another chance to earn scholarships to help further their education after high school,” Baughman said. “We felt it was extremely important for us to add this to the list of numerous opportunities we have at Oxford for students to get involved.”

Ernst is excited for the opportunity to lead the first wrestling team in Oxford and grow the sport in the community.

“I’m really looking forward to watching the student athletes grow and develop in wrestling, but also as young adults. Wrestling is a sport that can bring out the best in people and I’m excited to help create a culture of what it means to be a wrestler at Oxford,” Ernst said.