Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

February 20, 2013

A first for Fritts

Keys freshman Seth Fritts made school history by picking up a state tournament berth to become the first Keys wrestler to do so.

PARK HILL — No matter what he does down the road, Seth Fritts’ name will forever be etched into the Keys record books. Just like the boys basketball team picking up the school’s first-ever trip to the state tournament, Fritts made history of his own on Saturday.

The 138-pound freshman advanced to the semifinals of the Class 3A regional tournament at Berryhill High School to guarantee himself a spot in the state tournament. Once that happened, Fritts became Keys’ first-ever wrestler to reach the state tournament.

“It’ll mean quite a bit,” Fritts said when asked what it will mean to him when he’s older and his name will always be first on the state-tournament list. “I mean, it does right now, knowing that I’m the first one ever.”

In the regional semifinals, Fritts dropped a 4-3 decision to Jay’s Cole Wheeler, sending him to the consolation bracket to wrestle for third place. Fritts would end up beating Tonkawa’s Brandon Hurst 11-2 for the bronze, but something was still eating away at him.

“Of course I wasn’t satisfied with third place,” he said, “I always thought I should have been in the finals. But at least I got to punch a ticket, and I’ll get a chance to redeem myself at the state tournament.”

For Keys coach Travis Kirby, Fritts’ invitation to the state tournament was four years in the making.

“It was a great accomplishment,” said Kirby, who had wrestlers come close but failed to get over the hump in his previous three years on the job. “Last year, I had two kids come really close. They took fifth, both of them. They weren’t quite able to get in.”

Luckily for Kirby, Fritts transferred in from Tahlequah to bolster the Cougars’ program.

“Seth came in and he was a great workout partner for Brent (Gladd),” Kirby said. “I thought those two were going to make each other better and they did throughout the year. (Seth) has been a huge asset to the team, and I’ve seen him improve throughout the year.”

Fritts joining the Cougars was a last-second decision before school started in August.

“We didn’t know I was going to move until the head coach over at Tahlequah (Brandon Benson) got fired,” Fritts said. “So we decided it would probably be the best decision...and I thought I would have more of an opportunity here.”

It didn’t take Fritts long to establish himself as a dominate wrestler in 3A. He racked up tournament victories at Okmulgee, Inola and Pawhuska.

However, en route to winning the gold in Pawhuska, Fritts injured his knee and was forced to sit out during the Maverick Conference Tournament.

“I was kind of concerned,” Fritts said of his right knee. “It was hurting pretty bad, but after a couple of days the swelling went down. Then the pain wasn’t as bad, so I wasn’t as worried. I knew I could push through it and go to state.”

That’s exactly what he did.

Now Fritts — wrestling at 138, after winning regular-season tournament titles at 145 — will take his 34-2 record this season into the state tournament where he’ll face Kingfisher’s Christian Roney in the first round on Friday. Fritts was originally slated to take on Chandler’s Blake Barrier, but he opted to take the No. 4 seed from the east side.

“We found out that the kid from Perry (Hunter Condit) got hurt and wasn’t able to finish out the (regional) tournament, so the Kingfisher kid stepped in and I don’t think he’s been ranked all year,” Kirby said. “...We figured, (Berryhill’s Jonce) Blaylock, for sure, deserves the No. 1 spot and he’s going to the finals. We figured it was an easier route to get him in the finals.”

Joining Fritts and Roney on their side of the bracket will be Hinton’s Kyler Vowell and Wheeler in the other quarterfinal matchup.

“I honestly think me and Blaylock will meet in the finals,” said Fritts, whose win percentage is slightly lower than Blaylock’s mark of 33-1. Last year, Blaylock was the state runner-up at 132 pounds, losing to Comanche’s Jon Townsend in the finals.

As for Kirby, being able to coach at the state tournament for the first time will be something special.

“It’s definitely going to be a different experience,” he said. “I haven’t ever gotten experience sitting in the chair in the state tournament, so it’s definitely going to be a little different. I’m excited for it, and I’m excited to see what he’s going to do.”

Text Only
Sports
  • Hooper.jpg Sparking the flame

    Sequoyah High School’s Justin Hooper looking to lead this year

    Last season was Justin’s last chance to play alongside Cody at Sequoyah High School.
    Justin had to battle to win the Indians starting tailback. The coaching staff did not know who was going to be the Indians starting running back coming into fall practice.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NSU-fishing-team.jpg NSU teams compete in fishing tournament

    Three teams from Northeastern State University’s Bass Fishing Team competed in the Fishing League Worldwide College Fishing Tournament on Grand Lake in Grove on Saturday, June 21.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Johnson, East win easily at All-State

    Jake Johnson was able to hold off Lawton MacArthur’s Trent Meisel at the Class 5A state tournament in May. On Monday at the All-State tournament at Cherokee Hills Golf Club, Johnson had it much easier against Meisel.

    July 29, 2014

  • McMillan-blackboard.jpg Hometown brothers team up for RiverHawks football

    Northeastern State’s football program will include a pair of hometown brothers for the 2014 season.
    Mason McMillan returns for his sophomore season, and this year he will be reunited with his younger brother, Kourtland. The brothers graduated from Tahlequah High School – Mason in 2013, followed by Kourtland in 2014. At Tahlequah, Mason and Kourtland shared the gridiron for one season.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Yurcich ready for second season

    With the 2014 season on the brink, Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State University football offensive coordinator, is ready for his second year at the helm after coaching a powerful offensive squad a year ago.

    July 28, 2014

  • James_Ethan-(12)-vs.#2CC63C.jpg Back on the line

    RiverHawks’ Ethan James returns to the line healthy and ready for 2014

    RiverHawks offensive lineman Ethan James will enter the 2014 season healthy – something the team, and James, were not in 2013.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Sooners shifting several positions

    Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches.
    However, both will be seeing new things when practice begins. Grissom is moving to outside linebacker. Wilson will be getting a look at cornerback as his senior season begins

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • BobBowlsby.jpg Media Week: Change is coming

    Changes are coming to college athletics.
    That was the theme of the state of the conference speech by Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the first day of Big 12 Football Media Days.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peterson.jpg Cowboy quandary: OSU defense trying to replace seven starters

    A year after the best defensive team in the Mike Gundy era, the questions now surround how those few returning starters and second-year defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer can maintain that high level of efficiency.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Stocks