Gfeller is ranked 14th nationally at his weight, and has competed internationally. But he said his nerves were up more for this weekend than any other tournament.
“I was more nervous for this than anything,” he said. “I think it’s just because this was my first really big high school tournament and I wanted to win.”
Gfeller will be in Brazil in late April competing in the Pan-American Games.
He was one of 50 freshmen to qualify for state in the four classes. Ten of them reached the finals, and two of them — Gfeller and Sand Springs’ 113-pounder Daton Fix — finished the year unbeaten.
STRINGER BRINGS BLANCHARD FIRST TITLE
Blanchard has had several wrestlers reach the state finals. Braden Stringer had done it twice himself before Saturday night.
And with a 5-1 decision over Vinita’s Brandon Street, Stringer brought Blanchard its first state wrestling championship.
“We’ve had a lot of guys in the finals and any of them could’ve won it,” said Stringer, who finished fourth as a freshman and runner-up the last two years. “To finally get it done feels like a weight off our backs. It means a lot.
“It’s been a blessing to have the teammates I’ve had pushing me, great coaches, my family and friends supporting me. It’s been an awesome journey.”
PERRY WINS 40TH TITLE
David Thomas explained the Perry wrestling mindset very simply.
“When you go into that room in junior high, you’re told you’re gonna win,” said Thomas, a Class 3A state champion at 160 pounds while helping Perry win its 40th team title. “The goal from the start of the season was the big four-oh. It was a big deal for us.
“We’ve been training hard, two-a-days, three-a-days, snow on the ground outside, it didn’t matter. Nothing was going to stop us.”
Perry scored 118 points to seal the title, with four wrestlers reaching the finals. Thomas was the only one of the four to win individually. Tonkawa was second in the team race with 82 points.
DEL CITY’S LAMB COMES THROUGH LATE, JAMES HONORED
Del City senior Clayton Lamb took the state title at 132 pounds in Class 5A with a 6-5 win over Collinsville’s Dakotah McGarrah.
Trailing 5-4, Lamb got a takedown in final minute and prevented McGarrah from escaping to earn the win. He finished the year with 34-7 record.
“It feels amazing,” Lamb said. “It feels like all the hard work running and in practice was worth it now. But I couldn’t have done it without my mom and my coaches being there for me the whole way.”
Lamb’s coach, Ronnie James, was named the Class 5A-6A Coach of the Year on during a presentation before the finals.
“I’m humbled and overwhelmed by that honor,” James said. “This isn’t for me, or about me. It’s a reflection of my coaching staff, my wrestlers, and my family.”
LEE BRINGS ‘A’ GAME
Clinton’s Grant Lee has achieved a lot as a high school athlete.
He won a state championship and earned All-State honors as an offensive lineman for the Red Tornado football team. He competed in the state golf tournament last spring. And on Saturday night, he added an impressive state wrestling tournament performance to his resume — but not on the mat.
Lee sang the National Anthem prior to the state finals matches.