By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
It took a top-to-bottom effort, but the Stillwater High School wrestling team took down defending Class 3A state champion Blackwell Thursday at the Pioneer Fieldhouse.
Freshman Kennedy Monday sealed the 36-30 win by pinning Blackwell’s Stetson Baker with 27 seconds left in the third period of the 103-pound match, but it was Cyntrell Carden’s 3-2 decision over Jody Green in the 220-pound weight class that provided the spark Stillwater needed.
“I was practicing (that takedown move) all day today in the wrestling room once we got out of school,” Carden said. “I decided to work it here, but I was just trying to find a time when to pull it in. I saw an option there, so I decided to pull it in there.”
Trailing 1-0 in the third period, Carden escaped Green’s grasp before taking Green to the mat with a well-timed shot. From there, he was able to defend against Green just enough to pick up the 3-2 decision, snapping a string of five straight match wins for Blackwell.
“These kids are smart enough to do the wrestling math,” Chesbro said. “These kids knew exactly what that meant when he got that win. They knew it took the pressure off. It didn’t matter what happened to D.J. (Peckham) at heavyweight because we still had our little stud (Monday) coming up at 103. ... We’re going to score enough points to win every dual, it’s just depends on how many we give up and that’s the scary part. We didn’t know it was going to go our way until the bitter end, but we’re happy for it.”
The Pioneers started the match with style as 113-pound wrestler Kaid Brock pinned Alan Galaviz and 120-pounder King Williams picked up a 19-4 technical fall over his opponent. Benny Teegarden picked up a pin 49 seconds into the 126-pound match before Joe Smith capped things off with a 21-7 major decision over Payden Day.
That’s where things started to go south for Stillwater.
Blackwell took six of the next seven matches, with the lone victory being a forfeit for Beau Bigheart in the 145-pound weight class.
“(Blackwell) brought a good team in here and they came to win,” Chesbro said. “They put themselves in an opportunity to win and once again we had to wait for some to put their foot down and put a stop to what was going on. It just so happened that it was Cyntrell Carden again that was able to stop the bleeding there and give us a win where we needed him to.”
Carden may have stopped the bleeding, but Pete Pickens helped apply the bandage. Despite trailing 13-3 after two periods, Pickens’ narrowly avoided a technical fall with his defense before losing to Jesse Harlow 18-7.
“When it’s late in the match and you have a lead or you’re protecting the team score like Pete was, you have to be ready to go down to the wire because Blackwell’s kids tend to wrestle for a full six minutes,” Chesbro said. “Whether you’re in shape or not, people tend to pep up in the last few seconds and give themselves an opportunity to do what they need to do. They both put their foot down and said, ‘That’s enough. I’m not going to let you score on me any more.’ ... Pete was pinned by that kid in the Perry tournament and he only gave up a major decision, so he saved two team points right there.”
Even as Monday stepped in for the final match, Monday wasn’t just thinking of picking up a win by decision — he was focused on getting the pin.
“I knew I had to win it for my team and I just went out there and wrestled,” Monday said. “I plan to pin all my opponents. I wasn’t really getting the pin, but in the last period I just knew I had to get the pin. I was just thinking, ‘I want to get the pin. I want to beat them by as much as possible.’”