By BEN JOHNSON
OKLAHOMA CITY — Few had challenged Hulbert’s Bryson McGowan this season. The junior 220-pounder was 29-0 heading into the Class 3A state tournament and 31-0 prior to the championship match with Davis’ Braden Ruth.
McGowan returned home with one loss and a less-desirable silver medal.
“At a loss for words,” said McGowan, who lost by fall at 1:01 at State Fair Arena on Saturday night.
McGowan — while trying to fight back tears of disappointment — tried to sum up what happened against Ruth, who collected his third state championship in four attempts.
“He caught me in a cradle,” said McGowan, who was taken down early in the first period and was unable to elude Ruth’s grasp while trying to escape.
McGowan — who finished third at the 3A state tournament at 195 pounds in 2013 — entered the state tournament with four tournament titles to his credit. He won crowns at the Inola, Pawhuska and Maverick Conference tournaments before claiming a regional title the week prior to the state tournament.
The state championship just wasn’t meant to be, though.
“It’s still an accomplishment,” McGowan said of second place. “It’s just not what I wanted.”
Hulbert coach Mickey McGowan tried to put things in perspective for Bryson.
“I’ll say this, he’s had a fantastic season, and people would relish that,” Mickey McGowan said. “The last three seasons he’s had...he’s just a great kid, a hard worker. We’ll go back and take a little time off, and we’ll get back to work with it and see if we can’t come back and win one next year.”
Sellers falls short against Steltzlen
Only one thing stood between Collinsville’s Will Steltzlen and a fourth state championship: Tahlequah’s Mitch Sellers.
However, when time expired during Saturday’s 145-pound final, Steltzlen joined the state’s most elite club of four-time state champions after posting a 3-1 win over Sellers.
“He’s a good wrestler, and it was a good match — a very tough match,” Sellers said. “It’s not the way I wanted to go out, but I’m happy with my performance and the way I performed in the finals even though I didn’t get it done.”
Steltzlen opened things up with a takedown in the first period and never let Sellers take him to the mat at any point. Then, both Sellers and Steltzlen traded escapes for the final score.
For Sellers, the second-place finish was an improvement on his fourth-place showing in 2013.
“Just to get back up on the podium for a third time is a blessing,” Sellers said. “I’m glad I got runner-up, but I would have liked to win it. But I’ll take what I can get.”
Sellers beat Del City’s Gavin Millhouse (2-0) and Pryor’s Kelvin Grubbs (4-3) to reach the finals. Sellers atoned for a one-point loss to Grubbs in the regional semifinals, which forced Sellers to wrestle for third at the regional tournament.
Sellers finished his senior season 33-4.
Fritts becomes Keys’ first placer
Seth Scarbrough denied Keys’ Seth Fritts third place at the Greg Henning Invitational at Tuttle earlier in the year. He did it again on Saturday at the state tournament.
Scarbrough notched a 3-1 decision victory over Fritts in the consolation finals with third place up for grabs in Class 3A. It was again more heartache for Fritts, who finished the season 32-6.
“They both wrestled a great match,” Keys coach Travis Kirby said, “we just happened to fall on the short end of it.”
Fritts nearly made the 3A finals but came short against reigning state champion, Perry’s David Thomas. Fritts pushed Thomas to the limit for two periods before suffering a shoulder ailment that allowed Thomas to prevail, 9-4.
Thomas went on to win the 3A crown with a 6-1 triumph over Newkirk’s Jacob Vap.
Fritts had to wrestle his way into the consolation finals, which he did with a 15-8 win over Sulphur’s Steven Baker. However, Fritts’ good fortune ended there and he had to settle for a fourth-place spot on the final podium at 160 pounds.
The silver lining for Fritts was that he became Keys’ first-ever wrestler to place at the state tournament.
“He’s definitely heading in the right direction,” Kirby said of Fritts, who went 1-2 and didn’t place at the state tournament as a freshman in 2013. “Next year, we look to get him the top spot on the podium.”
Class 3A/5A state tournament
Class 5A results
Team scores: 1. Collinsville 148.5; 2. Lawton MacArthur 107; 3. Altus 69.5; 4. Coweta 60; 5. Edmond Deer Creek 48.5; 6. Del City 48; 7. (tie) Piedmont 46, Tahlequah 46; 9. McAlester 35; 10. Guthrie 34.5; 11. Chickasha 33; 12. Western Heights 32; 13. Pryor 24; 14. Tulsa Edison Prep 20; 15. Bishop Kelley 15; 16. Shawnee 14; 17. Durant 11; 18. (tie) Noble 10, Duncan 10; 20. Grove 5.
106: Tanner Cole (Deer Creek) dec. Nate Keim (Collinsville), 2-1
113: Christian Moody (Collinsville) dec. Montorie Bridge (Altus), 5-3
120: Cole Powers (Lawton MacArthur) dec. Jacob Findley (Collinsville), 1-0
126: Donald Cannon (McAlester) dec. Aaron O’Brien (Edison), 8-6 SV
132: Clayton Lamb (Del City) dec. Dakotah McGarrah (Collinsville), 6-5
138: Gary Wayne Harding (Collinsville) tech fall Cody Foos (Pryor), 16-0
145: Will Steltzlen (Collinsville) dec. Mitch Sellers (Tahlequah), 3-1
152: Hestin Lamons (Tahlequah) dec. Wyatt Jordan (Collinsville), 7-2
160: Cameron Loving (Altus) dec. Colton Jump (Lawton MacArthur), 4-1
170: Blane Culp (Piedmont) maj. dec. Dillon White (Lawton MacArthur), 11-1
182: Cole Pacheco (Deer Creek) dec. Brice Inbody (Bishop Kelley), 3-0
195: Josh Latham (Chickasha) fall Nate Daniels (Del City), 1:42
220: Taven Birdow (Altus) dec. Garrett Shaw (Lawton MacArthur), 3-1 SV
285: Griffin Qualls (Coweta) dec. Cory Barnett (Western Heights), 5-2 UTB
106: Briar Adams (Lawton MacArthur) dec. Dillon Prutch (Coweta), 5-2
113: Fletcher Edwards (Coweta) fall Dayton West (Deer Creek), 0:34
120: D.J. Hendrickson (Western Heights) dec. Coulton Parker (Piedmont), 3-1 TB
126: Alex Nelson (Guthrie) dec. Justin Walker (Collinsville), 4-1
132: Colby Powers (Lawton MacArthur) maj. dec. Zech VanFleet (Tahlequah), 13-0
138: Reece Henry (Piedmont) dec. Jared Woods (Durant), 8-3
145: Kelvin Grubbs (Pryor) dec. Francisco Lopez (Piedmont), 8-3
152: Brok Williams (Lawton MacArthur) fall Connor Kelly (Duncan), 1:39
160: Kevin Figueroa (Del City) dec. Reese Davis (Tahlequah), 6-2
170: Sam Dawes (Coweta) fall Austin Baldwin (Altus), 2:35
182: Riley Williams (Chickasha) dec. Harley Stanley (Western Heights), 5-3 SV
195: Conner Howard (Guthrie) dec. Dokota Boxwell (Noble), 5-4
220: Riley Smith (McAlester) dec. Keenan Priddy (Collinsville), 7-2 TB
285: Blake Finley (Guthrie) fall Jake Douglass (Collinsville), 1:40
Class 3A results
Team scores: 1, Perry 118; 2, Tonkawa 82; 3, Chandler 76.5; 4, Newkirk 72; 5, Kingfisher 51; 6, Blackwell 49; 7, Plainview 46; 8, Berryhill 42; 9, Heritage Hall 41.5; 10, Sperry 31; 11, Davis 28; 12, Madill 24; T13, Pawnee 23; T13, Barnsdall 23; 15, Jay 19; 16, Hulbert 17; T17, Douglass 16; T17, Salina 16; 19, Pawhuska 14; 20, Marlow 12; 21, Tahlequah-Sequoyah 10; 22, Keys 9; 23, Geary 6; 24, Okmulgee 4; T25, Little Axe 3; T25, Inola 3; T25, Perkins-Tryon 3; 28, Comanche 2; 29, Sulphur 1.
106: Kaden Gfeller (Heritage Hall) tech fall Cale Betchan (Perry), 27-12
113: Zach Atencio (Plainview) dec. Anthony Jauregui (Tonkawa), 7-2
120: Owen Simpson (Tonkawa) dec. Cullen Patterson (Salina), 8-6
126: Briar Stopp (Newkirk) dec. Rio Zamora (Madill), 8-2
132: Derick Shrum (Jay) dec. Brandon Hurst (Tonkawa), 3-0
138: Tanner Wall (Chandler) dec. Brady Smith (Kingfisher), 7-5 SV
145: Jonce Blaylock (Berryhill) dec. Cody Ryan (Chandler), 3-1
152: Jared Schieber (Newkirk) dec. Colton Looper (Perry), 5-3
160: David Thomas (Perry) dec. Jacob Vap (Newkirk), 6-1
170: Sam Schuermann (Blackwell) dec. Heath Gray (Chandler), 6-3
182: Marlon Houston Jr. (Pawnee) dec. Darian Mixon (Chandler), 3-1 SV
195: Caleb Hawes (Barnsdall) dec. Garrett Beier (Perry), 9-4
220: Braden Ruth (Davis) fall Bryson McGowan (Hulbert), 1:01
285: Tanner Allen (Blackwell) dec. Bryan Jordan (Tonkawa), 6-3
106: Tanner Ward (Berryhill) dec. Louden Akin (Sperry), 8-2
113: Maddy Roney (Kingfisher) dec. Grant Sorenson (Heritage Hall), 5-4
120: Noah Nida (Perry) dec. Tyler Ramirez (Madill), 7-3
126: Will Tiger (Sequoyah) dec. Taylor Priest (Pawhuska), 2-1
132: Blake Avery (Perry) maj. dec. Cody Lewis (Geary), 14-6
138: Ryan Travelletti (Berryhill) dec. Brandon Smith (Newkirk), 9-5
145: Christian Roney (Kingfisher) dec. Jacob Collins (Tonkawa), 6-1
152: Kevin Howard (Tonkawa) dec. Aryion Young (Heritage Hall), 2-1
160: Seth Scarbrough (Marlow) dec. Seth Fritts (Keys), 3-1
170: Riley Betchan (Perry) maj. dec. Zalin Edwards (Pawhuska), 12-3
182: John Gruenwald (Sperry) dec. Connor Webb (Davis), 3-1 SV
195: Dylan Blundell (Kingfisher) dec. Jackson Kashwer (Chandler), 8-4
220: Cameron Hanan (Plainview) dec. Bo Montez (Perry), 4-1
285: De’Angelo Woodward (Douglass) fall Dorain Fagan (Plainview), 2:23