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.