Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

March 5, 2014

Great grappling

State tournament caps banner year for wrestling in Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY — Dustin Mason held on for dear life. The junior heavyweight at Tuttle wasn’t about to let Weatherford’s Jose Cuevas break free of his grasp.

Cuevas split Mason’s hands apart and appeared to scramble away from Mason’s stranglehold. The Weatherford coaches started to rejoice, but at the same time, so did Tuttle’s Matt Surber.

The officials conferred and Mason was credited with the victory, winning a Class 4A state championship with a 2-1 victory after an ultimate rideout at the heavyweight division. Mason grabbed both ends of his singlet, pushing the word “TUTTLE” further out for all the fans in State Fair Arena to see. He even made it a point for Weatherford fans to see his school’s name across his singlet — all while sticking his tongue out for all to see.

And if that wasn’t enough heavyweight excitement for those in attendance, there was Coweta’s Griffin Qualls on the mat next to Mason. Qualls put on a show at Tahlequah High School for the Class 5A regional tournament on Feb. 22, and he didn’t stray from the same script at the state tournament.

And not to be outdone by Mason’s ultimate rideout showdown, Qualls and Western Heights’ Cory Barnett engaged in the same winner-take-all scenario. Qualls not only broke free of Barnett’s possession, but he also managed an additional takedown to cap off a 5-2 win.

Qualls celebrated by unhooking his headgear and launching it in the direction of his Coweta backers — which, coincidentally, was not far from media row. As the headgear cascaded down just short of stands, Qualls stood and flexed with his palms near his head as Barnett mourned his loss by remaining face down on the mat.

That’s how the 2013-2014 wrestling season concluded. And what a season it was.

Much like the final acts provided by Mason and Qualls, the wrestling campaign was full of fantastic storylines.

• The elite four-time state champions club expanded by two with Collinsville’s Gary Wayne Harding (138 pounds) and Will Steltzlen (145) joining the mix. Harding capped his season with yet another dominating performance, a 16-0 technical fall over Pryor’s Cody Foos. And while getting all he could handle from Tahlequah’s Mitch Sellers, Steltzlen still managed to join the upper echelon of wrestlers in the state with a 3-1 decision triumph only a few moments after Harding was done.

“We made a little bit of history (Saturday) and we did it together in every way,” Harding told the Oklahoman. “Being on the same team and being workout partners since third grade, we’ve made each other better over the years.”

There’s no denying that. Now Harding will head off to Stillwater and join Oklahoma State’s wrestling team where he’ll chase his next ambition — a national championship.

• The Dixon triplets — Joel (182), Lance (220) and Andrew (285) — at Edmond North each repeated as state champions. Now they’ll head to Oklahoma, while teammate, Derek White, who is nationally ranked at 195 pounds, will venture to Nebraska and wrestle in the Big 10.

• Collinsville (5A), Tuttle (4A) and Perry (3A) all continued their yearly dominance with state titles, and Stillwater provided Class 6A with a new champion for the third straight year.

There’s no denying it; it was a banner year for wrestling in Oklahoma. From guys like Sallisaw’s Jadon Davenport (4A 195), Locust Grove’s Cub Yeager (132) and Davis’ Braden Ruth (3A 220) claiming their third titles to Braden Stringer gracing Blanchard with its first wrestling state champion to Hestin Lamons winning Tahlequah its first state title since 2006 to 50 freshmen qualifying for the state tournament, it was a season of memorable moments across the state’s wrestling landscape. And while wrestlers such as Harding, Steltzlen, Davenport, Ruth and the Dixon triplets move on, they pass the torch to Daton Fix and Kaden Gfeller — freshmen at Sand Springs and Heritage Hall, respectively.

The aforementioned seniors were great ambassadors for wrestling in the state. Now it’s up to the youngsters to keep the momentum going for years to come.

One thing’s for sure: if we keep years like this in wrestling, the sport is in great shape.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Lamons-main.jpg Tahlequah wrestler Hestin Lamons adds to memorable season with All-State triumph

    Hestin Lamons’ fitness regiment has been a grueling one this summer. It paid off in a big way at the All-State wrestling dual on Wednesday night.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • ropin-make-a-wish.jpg Dirteater, others help Make-A-Wish

    The event will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Tickets are $5, with kids 6 and under free.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Photo-for-Shinn-story.jpg Coaches preview Sooners season

    Toby Rowland addressed the elephant in the room even before Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel arrived at Journey Church on Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Date set for Keys football physicals

    Before scheduled practices can begin in order to prepare for the season, players must first receive a physical.
    Next Tuesday, Aug. 5, Keys High School will be administering physicals in the high school cafeteria.

    July 31, 2014

  • Keys-Dakota.jpg Playing both sides of the line

    Recently, Keys High School football standout Dakota Matlock was nearly severely injured in a terrifying car wreck.

    Matlock is coming off a stellar gridiron season for Keys High School. On offense, Matlock ran for over 1,000 yards for the Cougars. In his sophomore season, Matlock led Keys in tackles from the safety position.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bassmaster.jpg Crossing, and fishing, the Delaware

    Bassmaster Elite Series anglers to compete Aug. 7

    BASS has fished out of some legendary venues over the years (including Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans), but never Philadelphia, which is host of the Bassmaster Elite at Delaware River, Aug. 7-10, 2014.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mison.jpg Mixon’s attorney says incident with woman self-defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon says the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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

Poll

Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Stocks