Tahlequah Daily Press

February 25, 2014

Sellers fights back to reach state

Regional wrestling notebook

Sports Editor

— A grueling 4-3 loss to Pryor’s Kelvin Grubbs forced Tahlequah’s Mitch Sellers to seek out a state-tournament berth in the 145-pound consolation bracket on Saturday. Sellers nearly didn’t make it.

Tahlequah’s senior had to scrap for a 7-5 victory in sudden victory against Durant’s John Woods in the consolation semifinals at the Class 5A regional tournament at the TMAC. Sellers found himself down 5-1 before fighting back to send the match into extra time.

“It was a good match,” Sellers said. “I didn’t go out there the way I should have, but I’m happy and blessed to get into the state tournament for the fourth time.”

In the first period, Woods took Sellers down and nearly pinned Sellers, who had to fight off his back for survival in the tournament.

“What’s going through my mind when I’m on my back is just ‘this isn’t how my senior year can end’ with me not qualifying for state,” Sellers said. “I just fought off my back as hard as I could.”

Sellers parlayed the consolation semifinal victory into a third-place finish at the regional. Sellers beat Shawnee’s Jason Tiger, 10-4, to head to the Class 5A state tournament in Oklahoma City as a No. 3 seed.

However, Sellers opted over in the first round of the state tournament, so he’ll face Del City’s Gavin Millhouse as a No. 4 seed on Friday at State Fair Arena. Sellers finished fourth at 132 pounds at last year’s state tournament as a junior.

Area trio makes 3A state tournament

In Pawhuska, Keys, Sequoyah and Hulbert each had one wrestler qualify for the 3A state tournament.

At 126 pounds, Sequoyah’s Will Tiger lost to Newkirk’s Briar Stopp by fall at 3:46 in the championship finals. Tiger will face Perry’s Zane Johnson in the opening round of the state tournament.

Keys’ Seth Fritts, a sophomore, punched his second straight state-tournament ticket, despite being beaten 4-3 by Newkirk’s Jacob Vap in the finals. In Oklahoma City, Fritts will face Quinton’s Peyton Knell in the first round.

The final area qualifier for the state tournament was Hulbert’s Bryson McGowan at 220 pounds. McGowan shut down Blackwell’s Dayne Thomason, 9-0, in the regional finals. McGowan will take on Madill’s Judge Hartin in the first round of the state tournament.

Cardinals roll to a regional crown

Going after its fourth straight state tournament championship, Collinsville made it look easy while rolling to the regional crown at Tahlequah High School over the weekend.

The Cardinals piled up 292 points while Shawnee was the next closest team with 179. Coweta was third with 164.5.

“Our goal is next week,” said Collinsville coach Wes Harding, who had seven individual champions in the regional round. “We accomplished one of our goals last week with dual state, and I feel good coming in here...but I still feel like we need to get better. We need to get in better shape for next weekend.”

Nate Keim (106), Christian Moody (113), Jacob Findley (120), Dakotah McGarrah (132), Gary Wayne Harding (138), Will Steltzlen (145) and Keenan Priddy (220) all claimed regional crowns for the Cardinals, who had all 13 wrestlers it took to the regional qualify for the state tournament.