By Andrew Glover
PERRY, Okla. —
The last time the Stillwater Pioneers wrestling team found themselves among the top three in the Perry Tournament of Champions was in 2006.
Saturday at Perry’s John Divine Hall, Kaid Brock and Joe Smith won their weight classes and Stillwater had three third-place finishers to claim third.
“I’m really pleased with the way the kids came back,” coach Doug Chesbro said. “We had a great day yesterday. We kind of skinned our nose this morning. The kids wrestled with all they got and it turned out great for them.”
The day started rough for the Pioneers, who had seven semifinalists entering Saturday’s semifinals. Kennedy Monday (106) lost by major decision, Benny Teegarden (126) and King Williams (120) lost by decision, Beau Bigheart (145), Pete Pickens (182) and Mason Mefford, who was wrestling as an extra in the 120-pound weight class, lost by fall.
Monday, Williams and Teegarden came back in the consolation to win third. Monday beat Yukon’s Xavier Hill by decision 8-1 and Logan Terrill of Ark City, Kan., by decision 11-5. Williams beat Muskogee’s Chase Soper and Perry’s Noah Nida. Teegarden beat Dalton Harnage of Muskogee and Dalton Dietrich of Ark City. Bigheart and Pickens finished fifth. Chesbro said he was proud of how his wrestlers battled back.
“Kennedy Monday after a tough loss beats a kid for third and fourth by six,” Chesbro said. “King Williams came back and earned a technical fall. ... Benny Teegarden comes back from a devastating loss. For those guys to put that behind them and step up, that’s great for them.”
Brock reached the 113-pound weight class finals with a pin of Claremore’s Cody Williams with 30 seconds left in the second period. It only took Williams 47 seconds to pin Locust Grove’s Braden Bennett to win the weight class.
“I wanted to be dominant,” Brock said. “My first match I teched a kid then got pins in my last two. I wrestled good. I made sure I hit the target to get (Williams) down.”
Smith earned a fall 21 seconds into the second period over Locust Grove’s Dakota Simerly. In the finals, Smith faced Edmond Memorial’s Josh Nunley, who proved to be a challenge. Smith ultimately prevailed with a technical fall victory, 23-8.
“I wasn’t expecting (Simerly) to lay down,” Smith said. “I knew it was going to be a tough match. He was making me work on my moves. I just have to get better with my technique.”
The Perry Maroons, who had a less than stellar first day in the eyes of their coach Ronnie Delk, came back and sent all five semifinalist to the finals in rout to a second-place team finish.
“It was 10 times better than yesterday,” Delk said. “Everyone was excited to wrestle today and were ready to go.”
Looper, who earned falls in his first two matches had to work for a victory in the 145-pound weight class finals. Looper held a 4-2 edge in the second period, only to see Ark City’s Cody Eastman even the score. In the last minute Looper scored to take the lead for good,
Garrett Beier had to pull off a close 2-1 decision victory in the semifinals of the 195-pound weight class. In the finals, Beier was in control of Muskogee’s Cori Andrews and took him down for a pin with 51 seconds left in the second. Beier said it felt great to win the tournament.
“I just stuck to my strategy,” Beier said. “Hang with him a little bit then got him down when I got the chance.”
Dalton Revels (106), Austin Allen (152) and Kyle Varley (220) finished second as all three fell in the finals. Revels lost by fall. Allen lost by major decision 15-6 and Varley lost by decision 7-2. Delk said he was pleased with how his team finished and hopes it can ride the momentum.
“It was huge for us,” Delk said. “Tournament-wise, I didn’t know how we were going to be with some of our guys getting down to weight. We did OK.”
The Pioneers return home Tuesday to face Blackwell. The Maroons continue their dual schedule at Tuttle.