While perennial Class 3A power Perry will be in Plainview at the West Regional at Plainview High School, the east field at Pawhuska High School will have its fair share of quality wrestlers. Of the 25 schools descending on Osage County, four will features reigning state champions. Here are some wrestlers to keep an eye on at the 3A East Regional on Friday and Saturday:
- Bryson McGowan (Hulbert): At 220 pounds, McGowan hasn’t been beaten this year while claiming three tournament titles (Inola, Pawhuska, Maverick Conference) along the way. As a sophomore last season, McGowan competed at 195 pounds and finished third after losing to Barnsdall’s Caleb Hawes in the championship semifinals.
- Seth Fritts (Keys): After becoming Keys’ first-ever state qualifier at 138 pounds last season, Fritts has had an up-and-down sophomore campaign this year. Fritts has won two tournament crowns at Inola and Pawhuska but finished second at the Maverick Conference Tournament and fourth at the Greg Henning Invitational in Tuttle.
- Owen Simpson (Tonkawa): A state champion at 106 pounds last season, Simpson has bumped up to 120 pounds this year and hasn’t missed a beat. Simpson is coming off the Will Rogers Conference Tournament, where he beat Salina’s Cullen Patterson in the finals.
- Briar Stopp (Newkirk): Despite six losses last season as a junior, Stopp claimed a state championship at 113 pounds. This season, Stopp is at 126 pounds with one tournament title (Will Rogers tournament) after finishing second and third at the Cushing and Tuttle tournaments, respectively.
- Jonce Blaylock (Berryhill): Whether it’s been at 145 pounds or 152 pounds, Blaylock has been nearly unstoppable this season — much like his mere one-loss season in 2012-2013. Blaylock, a state champ at 138 pounds last season, has won tournament titles this year at Cushing, Bristow, Sand Springs and Pawnee (Will Rogers tournament).
- Caleb Hawes (Barnsdall): A state championship at 195 pounds last season as a junior, Hawes returned strong again this season. In five tournament this season, Hawes finished first three times and second twice.
- Derick Shrum (Jay): At 132 pounds, Shrum — who finished third at state last season — has been on a roll this season, winning tournament crowns at Inola, Sallisaw and Wagoner (Maverick Conference).
- Cullen Patterson (Salina): A first-round loss at state last season led to a third-place finish overall for Patterson, who was a junior at 120 pounds in 2012-2013. This season, Patterson has claimed first place at the Inola and Pryor tournaments.