Tahlequah Daily Press

High School Sports

February 4, 2014

McGowan's mastery

Hulbert junior Bryson McGowan cruises to Maverick Conference Tournament title


WAGONER — Bryson McGowan grew up not really knowing what it was like to beat Riley Smith.

Now that they're both in high school, the tables have turned.

For the second straight season, McGowan posted a victory against Smith — a junior at McAlester — at the Maverick Conference Tournament. This year, however, it was for the tournament crown, which McGowan claimed with a 7-1 decision victory.

"When we were little, he used to beat me every time we wrestled," said McGowan, a junior at Hulbert who beat Smith 7-0 in the conference semifinals in 2013. "Then he kind of disappeared and then he was back on the scene last year. It feels good to come back and beat him. Childhood losses are never fun."

McGowan had plenty of fun with Smith for the second year in a row.

In the 220-pound finals at the Hughes Event Center, McGowan and Smith went a scoreless first period before McGowan struck first for two points in the second two-minute span. Smith would score an escape point to send the match into a third period at 2-1.

That's when McGowan exerted his dominance.

McGowan scored a quick reversal in the third period for a 4-1 lead, and he eventually put Smith on his shoulder for near-fall and the final three points.

"He can't ride me," said McGowan, who started down in the third period before springing a quick reversal on Smith inside the first five seconds of the third period.

"No one can ride me, that's the way I look at it. I just chose bottom, and I knew if I could get one (escape point), it'd be 3-1. And he wasn't going to take me down — I know that much, too."

Hulbert coach Mickey McGowan — Bryson's father — pointed to summer workouts — with four state champions from Edmond North (Derek White, Lance Dixon, Joel Dixon, Andrew Dixon — being the reason for McGowan's overall improvement.

"It doesn't hurt, when in the summertime, you're practicing with Dixon, Dixon, Dixon and White and those are your workout partners," Mickey McGowan said. "Just all of (Bryson's) hard work has paid off."

In the finals of the Maverick Conference Tournament in 2013, McGowan dropped a 3-2 decision to Cale Mays of Vian. That frustrated McGowan to no end, resulting in him trying to ease his disappointment by pacing outside of Stilwell's gym for nearly 30 minutes.

That wasn't the case this year.

"It feels good to have gold instead of silver," said Bryson McGowan, who advanced to this year's finals by pinning Cleveland's Nathaniel Henley and Sallisaw's Bailey Carter along the way.

"It feels good that (I didn't have to spend) 30 minutes out in the parking lot trying to cool off."

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