By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
There’s just something about the Big 4 Tournament. No matter how dominant a team is or how much they trained for it, the tournament has a knack for providing plenty of surprises.
For the Stillwater High School and Perry High School wrestling teams, those surprises were of the more pleasant variety during Saturday’s tournament at the Pioneer Fieldhouse.
“I wasn’t aware we won,” Perry coach Ronnie Delk said. “I knew it was kind of close there at the very end. I feel amazing about it because back-to-back years winning the Big 4 against some outstanding teams in Muskogee, Ponca City and Stillwater. I’m just happy to compete with them.”
It wasn’t so much a surprise that Perry won, but how it won. A late win by Kyle Varley at 220 pounds and Garrett Beier’s pin with 7 seconds left in the 182-pound weight class helped the Maroons capture the second title in as many years, tallying 143 points to edge Muskogee and Stillwater.
“It’s usually our lower weights carrying us, but today it was our higher weights,” Delk said. “I like it because the big guys feel special. They’re always the guys at the very end if the dual is close, they usually win it. But if the dual is a blowout, they don’t really feel like they’re special.”
Even Stillwater had its fair share of surprises — none bigger than Chase Lane’s 138-pound pin of Muskogee’s Micah Foster. Foster had previously beaten Garrett Guthrie to keep the Pioneers from an all-Stillwater final.
“I was very surprised,” Lane said. “I’m happy and excited. I still have a lot of training I need to do to be a lot better. It means a lot as a freshman. The kids were real tough, but I’m happy I won the title.”
“He had met that kid earlier in the round robin rounds, so it was the second time we had beat him,” Stillwater coach Doug Chesbro said. “Even though it would have been tough to deal with, I would have liked to have seen both of those kids in the finals against each other and representing Stillwater. It didn’t work out that way, but Garrett came back and got third place also. I’m happy for all our kids.”
One thing that came as no surprise — both 113-pounder Kaid Brock and 132-pounder Joe Smith came away championships in their respective weight classes for Stillwater. Brock scored a 19-5 decision over Perry’s Tevin Williams, while Smith pinned Ponca City’s Nick Hamilton with 43 seconds left in the second period en route to the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler award.
“It was a good, strong third for us,” Chesbro said. “Those three teams separated themselves out from the field. ... I think our kids feel good about the way they competed. Getting five kids in the finals and four champs, that’s pretty good. As we have done in the past, we didn’t have a whole lot of help in the consolations. We did have some kids come back and get some bonus points for us, so I was pleased with that also.”
Along with Smith and Brock, King Williams earned a 11-5 victory over Perry’s Noah Nida for the 120-pound championship.
Stillwater Kennedy Monday lost a 10-3 decision to Montorie Bridges in the 106-pound finals, while Perry’s Bo Montez and Riley Betchan also lost in the finals.