By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Most coaches don’t like to use the term rebuilding in talking about the next season. Stillwater wrestling coach Doug Chesbro is accepting that fact.
“We have a group of solid returners, surrounded by newbies,” Chesbro said. “It’s going to be fun. I’m ready to go and eager to see how we progress.”
Stillwater lost three state qualifiers from last year’s team. Included in that bunch 220-pound state champion Paul Wilson and heavyweight champion Travis Morgan. The Pioneers also lost Jase Depperschmidt, who finished fourth in the 145-pound weight class.
But there’s also plenty of talent back for this year’s squad. The Pioneers return three state qualifiers. Sophomore Joe Smith, son of Oklahoma State University wrestling coach John Smith and state champion in the 113-pound weight class, hopes to rack up another title, while fellow sophomore Kaid Brock, who took in the 106-pound weight class, looks to win his first title. Junior Benny Teegarden, also got some valuable experience at the state tournament in the 126-pound weight class. Chesbro said he will be counting on those three to lead Stillwater this season.
“If they do anything close to what they did last year, we will be close to last year,” Chesbro said. “I have some quality freshmen who are going to step up.”
Stillwater opens its schedule Tuesday against Claremore who is a district dual opponent. On Dec. 1, the Pioneers travel to the Ark City Tournament in Kansas then host Bartlesville before facing another district dual opponent in Sapulpa. On Jan. 3, the Pioneers face Enid in final district dual at Enid. The Dual state tournament is Feb. 9 followed by regionals on Feb. 15-16 and state on Feb. 22-23. Chesbro said the district duals are important.
“It’s how we qualify for state,” Chesbro said. “Both Claremore and Sapulpa beat us last year. We are looking to boucne back and avenge those lossess from last year.”
Stillwater finished third at state last season, its highest finish since being runner-up in 2006. Chesbro said his team will learn on the fly and hopes it starts building on its future.
“I’m starting a maximum of three seniors,” Chesbro said. “A lot of young guys will start. Hopefully we can build a strong foundation this year and build on it next year.”