Hestin Lamons’ showdown with Putnam City North’s Velijah Cato was more than just for first place at the Malcolm Wade Invitational. It was a clash for top honors at 152 pounds on Lamons’ birthday.
“I was glad to have the opportunity to win on my birthday,” Lamons said. “But I didn’t let it stress me [out] or anything like that.”
Sure enough, it didn’t.
Lamons scored a 3-0 decision victory over Cato to claim top honors at Carl Albert High School, where most of the top teams in Class 5A gathered over the weekend.
“I had never wrestled the Putnam City North kid but knew he was a tough kid from 6A and knew he was undefeated as well,” Lamons said. “And as far as game plan, I didn’t have one. ...I’ve always been taught to wrestle to win rather than wrestling to keep from getting beat. I just went out there with a ready-to-win attitude and made it my match, not his.”
With Lamons and Mitch Sellers — who beat Duncan’s Hunter Kelley 7-5 to win the 145-pound championship — leading the way, Tahlequah finished fifth as a team at Carl Albert. The Tigers had 130 points, which was 120 points off the winning pace set by Lawton MacArthur. Shawnee (147), Del City (145) and Altus (142) rounded out the rest of the top four.
“It was another good weekend for us,” said Tahlequah coach James Rappe, who also had two other wrestlers record top-six finishes: Zech VanFleet (second at 126) and Reese Davis (fifth at 160).
On Lamons’ third tournament championship this season, Rappe said, “Hestin wrestled great this weekend. He’s 25-0 now and hasn’t been taken down. We’ve seen everyone in the stats, and he’s the one to beat (in 5A).”
Hard to argue, considering Lamons has yet to taken down at all this season.
“It’s my senior year and I’d love to finish the season without a takedown being scored on me but I don’t think about it while I’m out there,” said Lamons, who also won individual titles at the McAlester and Bristow tournaments this season. “If someone takes me down then they take me down. It’s not gonna keep me from anything.”
Even if someone took Lamons down right now, it may not matter. He’s wrestling with an ample amount of confidence.
“I’ve never wrestled as well as I am right now,” Lamons said. “I just feel more confidence this year.”
That confidence certainly grew after topping other wrestlers from the west side of the state over the weekend.
“Winning the Carl Albert tournament was good for my confidence, because it let me know what that side of the state had to offer,” Lamons said.
Now Lamons gets to put that confidence to the test again tonight. The Tigers will host Skiatook in a District 5A-6 dual at the Tahlequah Multipurpose Activity Center, where the Tigers will also host 5A No. 3 Shawnee on Thursday night.
“Both teams we dual this week are tough and dangerous teams,” said Lamons, whose team is ranked seventh in 5A. “...It’s going to be tough but our guys are tough, so I believe in them. We can (win) if we get those bonus points.”