Tahlequah Daily Press

February 20, 2014

McGowan ready for regionals

Class 3A wrestling notebook

Sports Editor

— Two weeks out of the year trump all others in Bryson McGowan’s opinion. Those two weeks include regional and state tournament wrestling action.

The former starts this week when Hulbert travels to Pawhuska for Class 3A regional action on Friday and Saturday.

“This is what I’ve worked for all year,” McGowan said. “This is the time of year everyone waits for and misses when it’s gone.”

McGowan, a junior, will be in the 220-pound field after reaching the state tournament last season at 195 pounds. In the state tournament, McGowan came in third place after losing to eventual state champion, Barnsdall’s Caleb Hawes, in the championship semifinals.

Heading into the postseason, McGowan has yet to beat during the current 2013-2014 campaign. With that, McGowan will likely pick up the No. 1 seed in regional action.

“I’m just ready to go win,” he said.

Cougars hoping to build off 2013

As a freshman last season, Seth Fritts become Keys’ first-ever state qualifier at 138 pounds. This year, Keys coach Travis Kirby hopes to double — if not triple — the number of state qualifiers this weekend at Pawhuska.

“Like anything that you build on to, you add to it,” Kirby said. “So last year we had one qualifier, so this year I’m hoping for two or three.”

Headlining Kirby’s group at regionals will once again be Fritts. This year, though, he’ll be at 160 pounds.

“Without a doubt, Seth will qualify and he will probably be somewhere on the podium at the state tournament,” Kirby said. “He just has to be confident in himself and wrestle like he’s capable of doing.”

In addition to Fritts, Kirby is hoping to have John Haeberle (145) and others punch tickets to Oklahoma City.

“We have a couple of others in the room who can not only qualify but place as well,” Kirby said. “Anything is possible and the craziest things happen this time of the year.”

Indians hope to end drought

In 2009, Chris Hummingbird finished fourth at the state tournament. No Sequoyah wrestler has qualified for state tournament since.

“It’s been a while,” Sequoyah coach Brad Jones said.

But he’s hoping to bring that dry spell to a close this year.

“The coaches and I have always had big goals for our team,” Jones said. “We want this program to be successful. We believe the first state champion in Sequoyah history is not far away.”

Among those vying for state spots for the Indians this year will be Damon Davidson, Will Tiger, Nolan Philpott and Bradly Davis among others.