By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Before the season started, Stillwater wrestling coach Dough Chesbro said his team was rebuilding with a lot of young talent. Though he saw some areas for improvement, Chesbro was pleased with the Pioneers opening with a 48-30 victory over the Claremore Zebras Tuesday at the Pioneer Fieldhouse.
“I think our kids have a little bit more confidence now that they have a good solid base to build around with some kids they know are going to win every time,” Chesbro said. “That raises the confidence level of the other kids. They went out and won eight or nine matches. We got a lot of falls and that’s what it takes.”
The Pioneers opened with Kenny Monday pinning Claremore’s Bryce Magness in the second period. The Zebras drew a lot closer with Cody Williams defeating Andrew Nieman by decision after scoring seven in the first period. State qualifiers Kaid Brock, Benny Teegarden and Joe Smith had strong first performances with each getting pins. King Williams also got a pin as he controlled his opponent from the start using the fireman carry.
“The team looked pretty good,” Smith said. “We had four to five pins right off the bat. It felt pretty good.”
Chesbro said his team is dynamite in the lower weights and is excited to see how they progress through the season.
“I was a little surprised at our showing at 113 pounds but that was Andrew Nieman’s first time to wrestle in high school,” Chesbro said. “It’s a little different wrestling in high school than junior high. He grabs you and throws you around a little bit and then boom you’re behind 7-0. The wrestling match was a 0-0 tie after that. ... We’re looking good that’s what we wanted to happen. We are step closer to reaching one of our goals and that’s qualifying for the dual state tournament.”
Claremore started to get on a roll as the weights went up, earning pins in the 152, 160, 170 and 182 weight classes cutting Stillwater’s lead to 36-27.
“Our lower weights are more experienced than our upper weights,” Smith said. “It isn’t a bad thing. We just have to help our upper weights a little bit. They came back and hit us and it ended up a closer dual than we thought.”
The Pioneers regrouped at the end of the dual. Cody Knight scored a fall in the second period of the 195 bout to seal the match for Stillwater. Cyntrell Carden pinned Sean Shepherd in the 220-pound weight class match to add insurance. In the heavyweight match DJ Peckham lost by decision to Cody Haire. Peckham was able to grab a 2-1 lead at the beginning of the third by a takedown by Haire took the match.
Carden and Peckham are replacing state qualifiers in their respective weight classes.
“That was the first time that DJ Peckham stepped foot on a wrestling mat,” Chesbro said. “He’s wrestled in practice. If he can came in and wrestle barely knowing the rules and gets beat 3-2 in his first match, I’ll take that and I’m proud of him. Cyntrell was that way last year. He’s getting better and better. Those kids are pups, they’re only sophomores and they are going to get better. I’m pleased with the turnout tonight.”