By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
It seems like all season, the lighter weights have been the ones carrying the load for the Stillwater High School wrestling team.
Thursday, the shoe was on the other foot as the Pioneers rattled off four wins in the final seven matches to beat Norman High 32-28 during homecoming at Pioneer Fieldhouse.
“I kind of wondered what was in the water that they drank before the match,” Stillwater coach Doug Chesbro said. “It seemed to me like some of the kids had trouble getting their motor started and it was kind of scary for a while there. ... It’s nice that we were able to get a win out of those guys, but shoot, we shouldn’t have been in that position to start with.”
While normally solid wrestlers like 106-pounder Kennedy Monday and 126-pounder King Williams struggled to get a win, others like 152-pounder Beau Bigheart and 160-pounder Cory Revier answered the call.
“We just had to step up when the time was needed,” Bigheart said. “We went out there and wrestled tough to the best of our abilities. We had to do it for the team and for all (the other) guys. The middle part of our lineup stepped up really, really well.”
After back-to-back losses trimmed Stillwater’s lead to 16-13, Bigheart got the ball rolling and ignited the large homecoming crowd with a 15-4 major decision win over Zac Jenson. The senior had an opportunity to score a technical fall, but a late mistake kept him from picking up the extra bonus point.
“It was kind of heartbreaking but in the end I still ended up getting my hand raised,” Bigheart said. “It was not quite the way I wanted to because I had him on his back two or three times. But at the end of the day, getting my hand raised and smiling from ear to ear — that’s all that matters.”
Revier took Bigheart’s momentum and ran with it, pinning Norman’s Justice Boatright in 48 seconds.
“I heard his coach saying to shoot an ankle hook,” Revier said. “I was just worried about going out there and getting the pin. I wanted to make sure we had a big lead going into the heavier weights.”
“I’m not a big fan of a headlock — never have been, never will be,” Chesbro said. “But if you’re ever going to throw it, what you saw (Thursday) is how you throw a headlock because he threw it with bad intentions. He hit it, it stuck and he got the fall. That’s how you do it and I was awful proud of him for that.”
Pete Pickens continued the string by nearly pinning Lane Stephens in the first period before defeating Stephens 6-0 in the 170-pound match.
C.J. Citizen also earned a hard-fought 6-3 victory over Colin Kappel at 182, before Norman’s Cale Stumpff ended the string with a pin of Cody Knight in the third period of the 195-pound match. Norman ended the match with two more wins, but the dual had already been sealed with Citizen’s win.
“I couldn’t wait to get another win under our belt,” Chesbro said. “It was about time that we did and it feels great, and it was kind of nice to back up my statement to the kids that we’re going to score enough points to win. We scored 30 points in a loss last Thursday and we scored 32 points in a win this Thursday.”
The dual may have been wrapped up early, but it didn’t look like that was going to be the case after the first few wrestlers.
Monday had to come from behind, earning a reversal with 16 seconds left to force overtime. He then got a takedown for a 6-4 win over Norman’s Nigel Jolliffie.
After Kaid Brock picked up a 15-5 decision over Norman’s Derek Ross and Mason Mefford’s 4-3 loss to Lucas Stanfield, King Williams found himself in a battle with Daniel Mybainyal in the 126-pound match.
Trailing by one after Mybainyal nearly pinned Williams at the end of the second period, Williams finally broke free for an escape and reversal with less than 5 seconds in the match to score a 10-8 victory.
“(Thursday) showed that they’re warriors — that they’re champs,” Chesbro said. “Wrestling is probably the easiest sport in the world to just check it in when you’re behind because not only are you losing on the scoreboard, but you’re getting physically beat up out here in front of hundreds of people. ... It would be easy to cover your head and wait for the buzzer to go off, but they have that will and that drive — that heart — for a champion to go out there and win the match.”
With the win, the Pioneers will go into the Big 4 Tournament with a lot more confidence after snapping a four-match losing streak.
“It feels good to get a win, especially on homecoming, that’s for sure,” Revier said. “Breaking the losing streak was definitely a bonus too. Hopefully we’ll be better because we ended the week with a win.”