Oklahoma brings talented wrestling team into Junior National Duals at Oklahoma City University

This week, the state will have a chance to display some of its top prep talent against the best from around the country during the Junior National Duals at Oklahoma City University.
by Trent Shadid Published: June 24, 2014
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photo - Stillwater's Chandler Rogers celebrates his win over Lawton's Taylor Wattenbarger in the class 6A 170-pound match during the Oklahoma State wrestling championships at the State Fair Arena, Saturday, March 1. 2014. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Stillwater's Chandler Rogers celebrates his win over Lawton's Taylor Wattenbarger in the class 6A 170-pound match during the Oklahoma State wrestling championships at the State Fair Arena, Saturday, March 1. 2014. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

A rise in talent across Oklahoma was the common theme throughout the 2013-14 high school wrestling season.

Coaches, wrestlers, and media throughout the state agreed the quality of elite wrestlers was up from recent years.

This week, the state will have a chance to display some of its top prep talent against the best from around the country during the Junior National Duals at Oklahoma City University.

The Greco-Roman tournament will be held Wednesday and Thursday with the freestyle tournament taking place Friday and Saturday at the Freede Center.

“In the last three years we’ve been sixth, second, and third in freestyle, and this is by far the most talented team that we’ve been able to assemble,” said Lawton MacArthur’s Bobby Cook, who is Oklahoma’s head freestyle coach for a fifth consecutive year. “We’re senior laden, but it’s a really good group that has had success on the national stage for a while now. We feel real good about our chances this weekend.”

Based on the previous season’s classification, the Sooner State’s roster consists of three freshman, five sophomores, seven juniors, and nine seniors. Of the 24 wrestlers on the roster, 16 won state titles last season, a number that would almost certainly be higher if some hadn’t been competing for the same title.

Of the nine seniors, six have signed with Oklahoma or Oklahoma State. Stillwater’s Chandler Rogers (170 pounds), Collinsville’s Gary Wayne Harding (132 pounds), and Berryhill’s Jonce Blaylock (145 pounds) will join the Cowboys’ program. The Dixon triplets — Lance (182 pounds), Joel (195 pounds), and Andrew (220 pounds) — are heading to OU.

From the 2015 class, Putnam City’s Keegan Moore (132 pounds) and Stillwater’s Joe Smith (152 pounds), the son of OSU coach John Smith, are promising Division-I prospects.

While Smith will almost certainly end up at OSU, Stillwater teammate Kaid Brock (126 pounds) has already verbally committed to the Cowboys.

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by Trent Shadid
Copy Editor
Trent Shadid is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Weatherford, Okla., and attended Weatherford High School. Before joining The Oklahoman, he spent two seasons as an assistant wrestling coach at Weatherford High...
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