Yukon junior Boo Lewallen entered his third state wrestling tournament with a wealth of experience on the big stage.
Lewallen had already been to the Class 6A state finals twice, winning a title last season.
But even after compiling a 31-2 record and winning the regional championship at 126 pounds last week, a repeat trip was far from a guarantee.
His first-round opponent, Stillwater’s Benny Teagarden had pinned Lewallen earlier this season, and six of the seven other wrestlers in the bracket were also previous state qualifiers.
It wasn’t easy, but Lewallen punched his ticket to the finals once again on Friday with overtime wins over Teagarden and Sand Springs’ Cody Karstetter.
“I don’t know that I expected to have to pull two off in overtime, but I knew it would be tough,” Lewallen said. “(Teagarden) has beaten (me) before when I’ve been winning and he’s come back to pin me, and it’s always tough with (Karstetter). It was just about finding a way to get it done for me.”
Lewallen’s 10-8 victory over Teagarden came on takedown in sudden victory. In his semifinal win, Lewallen used an escape to take a 2-1 lead in overtime and then rode-out Karstetter in the final 30-second overtime period to earn the win.
“He’s in the toughest weight class here,” said Yukon coach Joe Schneider. “He beat two really tough guys today, and we knew it would be tough. There’s only one guy out of the eight at that weight who hasn’t been here before and that’s because he’s a freshman.”
Lewallen will face fellow state champion Davion Jefferies of Broken Arrow in what is expected to be one of the best matches during Saturday night’s championship finals. The two haven’t faced each other this season, but Lewallen believes his key to success is focusing on what he does best.
“I’ll be ready and I’m confident,” Lewallen said. “I’ve just got to get to my offense and I can get it done. I think, even though everyone is good, that I’ve got the best offense out of anyone. That’s my advantage, so I’ll just be focused on working my stuff.”
“Tomorrow will be just like today for him,” Schneider said. “It’s just another tough kid in a tough weight class.”