By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Cyntrell Carden knows pressure. Wrestling in the 220-pound weight class and following state champion Paul Wilson, Carden feels that pressure every time he steps on the mat.
Perhaps that’s why the sophomore was unfazed when his team needed two big wins in a pair of duals against Blackwell and Shawnee this past week.
“He seems to be one of those kids that steps up when the bell rings,” Stillwater coach Doug Chesbro said. “He’s new to the sport. He’s young, he’s energetic and he’s a heck of an athlete and it’s all kind of paying off for him.”
Answering the call is nothing new for Carden. From his time on the gridiron to wrestling under the spotlight at the Pioneer Fieldhouse, Carden has spent plenty of time making plays for the Pioneers. That doesn’t mean it’s ever any easier when all eyes are on him.
“I felt a little bit of pressure on whether I was going to come out and show what I got or was I just going to go out there and be weak,” Carden said.
Weakness isn’t an option for Carden, however. He spends countless hours each week in the wrestling room working with whoever is around — including Wilson, who has been helping the Pioneers since he returned from college last week.
“I’ve been working on shots in practice,” Carden said. “Paul Wilson taught me some more shots and how to do them correctly.”
“He’s a good student in the wrestling room,” Chesbro said. “He likes to pick up new stuff and he does work hard. Probably his biggest attribute is the fact that he enjoys athletics. A lot of kids dread practice all the time, but he has fun in practice. Nobody loves going to practice every day, but while he’s there he’s having a good time.”
It hasn’t been easy for Carden. He had to come from behind to win both of his matches last week, but with each passing win it helps his confidence grow just a little bit more.
“In those big wins he had, he started off down in his match,” Chesbro said. “He’s going to gain confidence in his own ability and he’ll start to trust himself, so he can go off and beat a guy right off the bat instead of waiting for things to happen. That will make it easier for him in the long run.”
Confidence will be the key for Carden as he prepares for the rest of the season. Chesbro said he can see the sophomore getting a couple wins at some of the upcoming tournaments, but Carden has his eyes on a bigger prize.
“I’m just going to try my best and give it all,” Carden said. “I feel like I can make it to state. I’m just doing what I’m supposed to be doing and hopefully I’ll take that next step.”
Even if Carden can’t qualify for state, Chesbro knows that wins like the one over Blackwell’s Jody Green and Shawnee’s Gage Humphrey are crucial in building for the next few year’s of Carden’s career.
“There comes a time when a kid has to realize that all the hard work he’s put it pays off,” Chesbro said. “He thinks, ‘All that I’m doing, is it worth it?’ It takes a couple wins and especially if you can get in the forefront like Cyntrell is able to do. ... Something like that shows a kid that ‘Hey, I’m not doing this all for nothing. What I’m doing is making a difference in the outcome of my own record, my team’s record and how well the team is doing. Hopefully he’ll continue that and use it in the future.”
Laura Stettnisch, girls basketball
Carson Teel, boys basketball
Rico Thompson, boys basketball
Brett Budke, boys basketball