In the much-anticipated Class 6A team competition, Stillwater prevailed over contenders Edmond North and Broken Arrow behind the strength of its five champions.
Leading the way for the Pioneers was senior Chandler Rogers at 170 pounds. None of Rogers’ three opponents made it out of the first period, and he claimed his fourth state title with a pin over Taylor Wattenbarger of Lawton in the finals. His previous three championships came while in Spokane, Wash.
“It was definitely a good experience for me to come here this year and get some great competition,” said Rogers, who has signed with OSU. “I would’ve been the first four-time champion ever in 4A back in Washington, so I had to sacrifice that, but it was worth it.”
Other champions for Stillwater were Andrew Nieman (106 pounds), Kaid Brock (132 pounds), Tristan Moran (138 pounds), and Joe Smith (145 pounds). Jordan Dieringer (182 pounds) was second.
Winning their first title since 1970, the Pioneers finished with 144 points.
Broken Arrow, which had defeated Stillwater in the dual state finals two weeks earlier, finished third with 104 points.
“We just changed our mindset after dual state,” Smith said. “We realized we could be beat if we didn’t stay focused on what we need to do and we started getting after it.”
DIXON TRIPLETS ALL WIN TITLES AS EDMOND NORTH TAKES SECOND
Edmond North was second in Class 6A with 122 points and four champions.
Winning titles for the Huskies were the Dixon triplets — Joel (182 pounds), Lance (195 pounds), and Andrew (285 pounds) — and Derek White (195 pounds).
LEWALLEN WINS BATTLE OF STATE CHAMPIONS
After advancing to the state finals at 126 pounds in Class 6A with two overtime wins on Friday, Yukon’s Boo Lewallen left was determined to put things away earlier in Saturday’s championship match.
He did just that, going on the offensive to get a 9-4 win over Broken Arrow’s Davion Jefferies and earn back-to-back state titles.
“Yesterday, I didn’t really get to my offense like I wanted to, but I got to it today and things started rolling for me,” said Lewallen, who was named Outstanding Wrestler in Class 6A.
Lewallen dominated the match on his feet, scoring two takedowns in the first period and two more over the final two periods. Jefferies, who was a state champion last season, only scored via escape.
“It feels great to be a two-time champion,” Lewallen said. “Now, I’ll get back to work in the room for some national tournaments this summer and start getting ready to get another (state title) next year.”
GFELLER FINISHES UNDEFEATED SEASON
Standing atop the podium with the gold medal around his neck, Heritage Hall freshman Kaden Gfeller heard the announcement over the State Fair Arena speakers.
“He could be on his way to being a four-time state champion,” the announcer said.
Gfeller finished his 28-0 freshman season with a Class 3A state championship at 106 pounds, scoring a 27-12 technical fall over Perry’s Cale Betchan. And the thought of trying to win three more didn’t seem to bother him at all.
“That’s the goal,” Gfeller said matter-of-factly. “I’m gonna take it year-by-year, but I want to be a four-timer.”
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.