By BEN JOHNSON
Only a handful of days during a five-month period define a wrestling season. One of those days is today for Tahlequah.
Aside from grueling days at the regional and state tournaments, the Tigers’ district quad with Skiatook, Coweta and Tulsa Memorial on Tuesday stands as one of the most crucial dates on the wrestling calendar.
Go 3-0, and the District 5A-6 crown awaits you, along with a trip to dual state. Anything else, and you’re probably more of a spectator than a participate at dual state.
Tahlequah coach James Rappe knows that.
“It’s the most important day of the season, for the team,” said Rappe, whose club will get underway at Skiatook High School at noon. “We’ve been stressing the team aspect all season.
“It’s the biggest day of the season and dictates if we get to move on as a team.”
Two years ago under then-coach Brandon Benson, Tahlequah picked up its first-ever berth to dual state with wins over Coweta, Bixby and Stilwell. However, last season, Tahlequah failed to repeat with two-point losses to both Coweta and Skiatook.
Rappe said the key this season is to pick up as many bonus points as possible in each weight class.
“We have a very good chance of getting in (dual state),” Rappe said. “Our guys are going to have to hustle those bonus points; they have to turn decisions into major decisions and turn those major decisions into tech falls.”
So, the question now is: who poses a bigger threat to Tahlequah at the district quad? Coweta? Or Skiatook?
“Both are going to be very comparable,” Rappe said. “Coweta might be our biggest adversary. They have some guys up top that are pretty good.”
Coweta’s strength lies in its lower weights, led by Dillon Prutch (106 pounds), Fletcher Edwards (113) and Dolan Calico (126). All three Coweta wrestlers finished in the top six at the Sapulpa tournament last weekend.
Skiatook’s talent is spread among the weight classes. Kurrey Harmon (120), CJ Miller (160) and Mitchie Ray (195) recently guided Skiatook to a 13th-place finish at the Jenks tournament.
“Skiatook matches up better with us in the middle,” Rappe said, “where we’re pretty good.”
One cause for concern for the Tigers could be Coweta’s recent finishes ahead of the Tigers at the Jenks and Sapulpa tournaments. Rappe isn’t too worried about it, though.
“At Jenks, we were decimated by the flu,” Rappe said. “We had some kids out.
“At Sapulpa, I didn’t even take a full team.”
That won’t be a problem in the district quad. Rappe has a full lineup card ready to go.
“It’s going to be a knock-down drag-out,” Rappe said.
District 5A-6 capsule
Tahlequah’s projected starters
106: Tate Medlin.
113: Zech VanFleet.
120: Wrighter Weavel.
126: Paul Sargent.
132: Mitch Sellers.
138: Reese Davis.
145: Hestin Lamons.
152: Trent Patrick.
160: Dakota James.
170: Logan Hulse.
182: Parker Weavel.
195: Justin Gibbons.
220: Rusty Ballard.
Hwt: Chad Harlan.
Wrestlers to watch
- Lamons: The Tigers’ driving force in the middle of the lineup, with Sellers. Lamons, a junior, is coming off a fifth-place at the Sapulpa tournament.
- Davis: Enters the district quad after finishing second at Sapulpa tournament. His only loss was to Berryhill’s Jonce Blaylock in the finals.
- Dillon Prutch (106): Turned in a fourth-place showing in Sapulpa and was third at the Jenks tournament.
- Fletcher Edwards (113): Was sixth at Sapulpa and recorded a third-place finish at Jenks.
- Kurrey Harmon (120): A third-place finish at Jenks included an opening-round win over Tahlequah’s Wrighter Weavel by pin.