By Emily Polsten
Wrestling: a sport where people without pants fight over a belt.
Drake Vannoy, one of our very own Jenks High School wrestlers is the back to back champion at the state tournament a few weeks ago. At the time of publication, he is currently on his way to Virginia for the National tournament with his friend Thrasher Hall.
For Vannoy, wrestling is one of the really important things in his life He has been wrestling for 10-11 years, since he was four years old. An old family friend suggested to Mrs. Vannoy that he had the perfect build for a wrestler and should put him in as soon as possible. He started in West Virginia, then moved to Edmond North and then to Jenks High School. “That’s when I really started to get good,” said Vannoy.
Mrs. Ellen Vannoy, Jenks High School assistant principal and also Drake’s mom, told me about Drake’s very first tournament when he was four. “The first time he wrestled, he bit his kid in the back and he cried. He’s just always been competitive.”
He went up against his equal opponent. I talked to him about it and he gave me some insight on what happened.
His equal opponent goes to Sand Springs High School. Vannoy has gone up against this teen a few other times with no luck. The first time he lost 3-2. The second time he went up against this teen, he lost 5-4. That’s what makes this very moment special. Vannoy beat him 6-2.
After losing to this opponent from sand springs not once but twice, then having to go up against him in the state tournament and beat him is a very special and overwhelming moment.
“It felt really good beating him. He had already beaten me twice so the fact that I just overcame everything and beat him in the state tournament felt really good,” Vannoy said.
I asked Vannoy what he did differently this time around. He responded, “I just worked a lot harder and pushed through.”
I went from there to ask Mrs. Vannoy. Our very own Jenks High School principal about how she felt when he won as well.
“I don’t watch Drake. I can’t watch when he wrestles because it makes me feel as if my child is being captured and he can’t get out. So while he was wrestling, my kids and I were doing our ritual at home to cheer him on.”
The family ritual consists of starting a playlist of certain songs where they get super pumped, then start clapping and chanting, “Lets go Drake, lets go!” According to Mrs. Vannoy, his little sister gets especially into it.
“He doesn’t know we’re doing all of this at home but we just kinda feel like we’re sending him subliminal messages,” says Mrs. Vannoy.
Drake is planning on wrestling for college. Mrs. Vannoy told me that she is especially happy about this because of all the scholarships it might possibly come with.