Stillwater News Press

February 27, 2014

Stillwater searching for state

By Andrew Glover
Stillwater News Press

STILLWATER, Okla. — The Stillwater Pioneers will be looking for more than just individual medals when they take the floor at Jim Norick State Fair Arena on Friday. They will be looking to bring home the gold state wrestling championship trophy.

“We’ve been talking about that for quite awhile,” Stillwater coach Doug Chesbro said. “Now it’s here and it’s time to put all that stuff together.”

The Pioneers sent nine wrestlers to state with six winning their bracket at regionals. Joe Smith (43-0) at 145-pounds and Chandler Rogers (41-0) at 170 pounds enter Friday’s action with undefeated records. Chesbro said it’s all about winning the next match.

“Lot of it goes out the window,” Chesbro said. “We all start from scratch. We have an advantage with six regional champions. If they are able to fulfill their seeds, they will get to do something really special.”

Kaid Brock (38-2) will look to win gold for a second consecutive season. Brock moved up three weight classes to 132 pounds after winning state at 113 pounds. Jacob Fontanez, who lost to Brock in the finals last year and Smith, who lost in the finals are looking for redemption. Benny Teegarden, who advanced last season hopes for a better finish this season.

“Seven of our nine wrestlers have competed at state before,” Chesbro said. “It’s nice because they won’t have that deer in the headlights look when the ref blows the whistle for the first time.”

The Pioneers haven’t won a state wrestling title since 1970.

The Perry Maroons are looking to build on their dynasty as they seek their 40th state wrestling crown. Perry sent 12 of its 14 wrestlers to state.

“Everybody is healthy,” coach Ronnie Delk said. “They all want to win another team championship.”

David Thomas (37-4) will look to defend his crown at 160-pounds. Thomas’ finals victory last season clinched the state crown for Perry. The Maroons essentially clinched the title after the first day but only won two matches on second day. Delk said he hopes for a stronger performance this go-around.

“Saturday was a long day last year,” Delk said. “We kept getting beat. I’m hoping we have a strong first day but compete better on the second day.”

The Maroons have a handful of wrestlers looking for better finishes this season. Noah Nida was a runner-up in the 120-pound weight class last season. Colton Looper finished second in the 145-pound weight class and is seeking a title in the 152-pound weight class this season. Zane Johnson qualified last season but lost both matches in the 126-pound weight class. Former Perkins-Tryon wrestler Blake Avery (132) lost in the consolation semifinals. Garrett Beier lost in the consolation semifinals in the 195-pound weight class. Delk said he is expecting big things from Beier.

“He’s wrestled well all season,” Delk said. “He’s been very dominant.”

The Cushing Tigers will have a mix of experience and youth in their 10 wrestlers that they are sending to state.

Cushing won it’s 4A regional and sent all six seniors to state and two freshmen. Senior Gage Stallworth (19-0) will look to keep his undefeated season alive and win his third state title at 160 pounds. Senior Daniel Hood (35-1) will look to go out on top in the 113-pound weight class after finishing third last season. Senior Mason Roberts (34-3) looks for redemption after falling in the finals of the 126-pound weight class.

Tuttle is the heavy favorite to win its sixth consecutive state championship. Cushing coach Chad Short said his team will give their best shot.

“We can only worry about is what we do as a team,” Short said. “Getting to compete for a team championship is just icing on the cake.”

The Pawnee Black Bears sent two wrestlers to the state tournament. Marlon Houston Jr. (24-4) hopes to come away with the 182-pound crown after finishing runner-up at 170 pounds last season. Adam West (22-10) finished fourth at regionals in the 126-pound weight class.

Perkins-Tryon sent two wrestlers to state. Clark Crotty (17-9) qualified in the 182-pound weight class. Garrett Self (15-9) qualified in the 195-pound weight class.