Small-school wrestling notebook: Transfer pays off for Newcastle's Steven Fernandez

BY RYAN ABER, Staff Writer, raber@opubco.com Modified: February 26, 2011 at 10:40 pm •  Published: February 26, 2011
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Newcastle's Steven Fernandez wasn't sure Newcastle was the right place for him when he transferred there at the end of last year from Southmoore, where he'd just come from Westmoore.

"I didn't like it there much," Fernandez said. "It was tough and I'm just now starting to make friends there. But it's getting better."

But after Fernandez beat Pawhuska's Cameron Kirk 7-0 for the Class 3A 130-pound championship Saturday at State Fair Arena, the decision to move was fully justified.

"I was getting into trouble over there," Fernandez said. "Being at my dad's house now, it's a lot safer and he's a lot more involved in my school and wrestling.

"It's been a great thing for me.�

The match remained scoreless late in the first before Fernandez took Kirk down in the closing seconds and dominated the rest of the way.

�He gets so focused,� Newcastle coach Jim Smith said. �He's so locked in and so intense. I can't say enough about the kid.�

TUTTLE FRESHMAN BEGINS QUEST FOR FOUR

When Levi Berry moved from Southwest Christian Academy to Tuttle, Saturday's state championship wasn't the culmination of what he hoped to accomplish but the beginning.

�I wanted to become a four-time champion,� Berry said. �I knew I couldn't do that where I was, that I needed to go a school where I could wrestle for this.�

Berry, a freshman, took the first step toward accomplishing that goal with a 4-2 win over Cushing's Gage Stallworth.

�Pretty much all my life I've been working toward this,� Berry said. �I didn't get nervous even as a freshman. This isn't anything new for me.

�I plan on definitely becoming a four-time champion and definitely wrestling Division I.�

Berry started wrestling at 4 at the urging of his father, Tim Berry.

�I just wanted to play football,� Levi Berry said. �But the second year, it started becoming more and more me and since then, this is all I've ever wanted to do.�

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