As is accustomed in the Stillwater area, the wrestling scene was once again strong for the 2020-21 high school year. Nine individual state champions – representing three different programs – were crowned, with 15 total wrestlers walking away with hardware – including two female wrestlers competing in the OSSAA’s first officially sanctioned girls’ state tournament. Here is the list of the News Press All-Area Wrestling team for 2021:
Sam Smith, Stillwater (106)
The younger brother of former Stillwater High three-time state champion, Joseph Smith, Sam got his first chance for state glory this season. He joined the deep family history by adding his own name to the list of state champions. Smith completed a 31-4 record by sweeping his way through state. The East Regional champion won by second-period pin in the semifinal against Christopher Kiser of Ponca City, then defeated Broken Arrow’s Christian Forbes by 6-0 decision to win the Class 6A crown.
Gabe Fontanez, Stillwater (113)
Fontanez, who finished fifth at the regional, won his wrestle-in match by an 11-6 decision to take part in the double-elimination portion of the state tournament. However, he lost that next match to eventual state champion Clay Giddens-Buttram of Bixby by 9-2 decision. He then lost a close 5-4 decision to Kaleb Collins in the consolation bracket to finish the year with a 22-14 record.
Harley Stringer, Perry (118)
Stringer was the top female finisher from the Stillwater area in the first official girls’ state wrestling championship. The Perry wrestler lost to Broken Arrow’s Allison Hynes by fall in the semifinals, then responded with a run to the third-place medal capped with a second-period pin of Skiatook’s Brooklynn Maggard. She finished the season with a 9-3 record.
Cael Hughes, Stillwater (120)
The Stillwater sophomore bumped up two weights after an undefeated freshman season at the smallest weight class and didn’t have any hiccups. Hughes repeated with another undefeated, state championship season going 29-0. He opened the state tournament with a pin of Brayden Belford of Edmond North. He won a hard-fought 5-3 decision over Mustang’s Tucker Owens to win his second state title.
JJ McComas, Stillwater (126)
McComas had a unique road to becoming a state champion for Stillwater. He had to compete in a pigtail to even compete in the double-elimination portion of the state tournament, winning that match with a second-period pin. He then followed with a third-period pin of Edmond Memorial’s Matt Garcia, the champion of the West Regional. McComas then won back-to-back extra-time matches – a 4-2 sudden victory in the semifinals, then a 5-4 tiebreaker one win over Broken Arrow’s Jordan Cullors – to claim the state crown and cap a 35-8 season.
Hayden Lemmons, Cushing (126)
Lemmons was the lone Cushing wrestler to go undefeated this season on his way to a Class 4A state championship at 126 pounds. He won his quarterfinal match at state with a first-period pin before knocking off Cache’s Luke Hill by a 8-2 decision in the semifinals, then clinched the perfect 28-0 season and 4A state title with a 5-0 decision over Skiatook’s Brody Gee.
Luke Ahrberg, Cushing (132)
Ahrberg rolled through his first two opponents at state with a second-period pin in the quarterfinals and then a first-period pin in the semifinals. His championship match wasn’t as easy, though, fighting off Tuttle’s Hayden Brown for a 3-0 decision to win a state title to end his 25-2 season.
Aubrianna Smith, Stillwater (136)
The lone girl to wrestle at state for Stillwater, Smith won her first two matches with a 19-4 technical fall and then a pin 17 seconds into the third period in the quarterfinals. After being pinned in 38 seconds during the semifinals, she knocked off Sapulpa’s Kassie Buckner with a 29-second pin in the consolation semifinals. Smith was then pinned with one second left in the second period of the third-place match to finish with a fourth-place medal and a 12-5 record.
Carter Young, Stillwater (138)
The Stillwater High senior capped a one-loss season with his third state championship. Young opened with a 17-1 technical fall in the state tournament before getting back-to-back falls – including a first-period pin against Edmond North’s Layton Schneider in the state championship match – to close the final year of his prep career with a 33-1 record.
Teague Travis, Stillwater (145)
The transfer in from Missouri who has signed with Oklahoma State wrestling finished a near-perfect season in his only year in Oklahoma with an OSSAA state title. Travis picked up a pair of bonus-point wins to open the state tournament – a 23-6 technical fall in the first round, and a first-period pin the semifinals. He then fought off Broken Arrow’s Jared Hill for a 3-2 decision to claim the state title and cap a 35-1 campaign with the Pioneers.
Angelo Ferrari, Stillwater (152)
Ferrari came up just short of winning a state championship as a freshman for the Stillwater wrestling program. A transplant along with his older brother Anthony Ferrari – the younger brothers of newly crowned national champion AJ Ferrari of Oklahoma State – the youngest Ferrari won his state tournament opener by 13-4 major decision and reached the championship match by getting a 3-1 sudden victory over Mustang’s Bam West in the semis. He went to extra time once again in the title match, losing to Edmond Memorial’s AJ Heeg, 5-4, in the ultimate tiebreaker to finish second with a 29-3 record.
Anthony Ferrari, Stillwater (160)
The Stillwater High junior was the second Pioneer to cap a perfect season this past year. His only competitive match at the state tournament was a 5-3 decision against Edmond Memorial’s Eli Cordy in the semifinals. He won his opening match with a first-period pin, then claimed the crown with a third-period pin of Mustang’s John Wiley to cap a 28-0 year.
Blake Skidgel, Pawnee (170)
Skidgel completed a 35-0 season with his second-straight state title for the Black Bears – improving off a one-loss junior season. The Oklahoma State signee moved up a weight from his junior campaign, and won his first two matches at state with second-period pins. In his championship match against Christian Mora of Blackwell, Skidgel shut out his opponent with a 5-0 decision.
William Simpson, Cushing (182)
Simpson’s only loss at the state tournament came to Sam Schmidt of Tuttle in the semifinals. He opened with a first-minute fall in the quarterfinal and narrowly lost to Schmidt by a 7-6 decision in the semis. Simpson had to fight his way back through the consolation to earn third at the weight with an 8-3 decision in the consolation semifinals and then a 3-1 decision over Poteau’s Luke Brooks in the third-place match to finish with a 21-7 record.
Brody Harbour, Perry (195)
Harbour was the top medalist for the Maroons in what would be considered a down year historically for the powerhouse Class 3A program. After losing his opening match at state in a third-period pin, he pinned his way through the consolation bracket – including a 43-second pin of Watonga’s Ernesto Duenez in the first round of consolations – to reach the third-place match. In that match, he lost to Plainview’s Jeston Gilliam – who had beaten him in the first round – via pin again in the third-place match to finish with a 25-14 record.
Brett Black, Stillwater (220)
Black opened his state tournament with a second-period pin in the quarterfinals, but then lost to Mustang’s Jack Kitchingham by a fall in the first period of his semifinal match to move to the wrestle-back bracket. He responded with a 7-3 decision in the consolation semifinals to secure a spot on the podium, before losing in the third-place match by fall to Jenks’ Hayden Crawley to finish with a 26-13 record on the year.
Jakobe Sanders, Stillwater (285)
Sanders was limited in action this season for the Pioneers, but still manage to qualify for state. The Stillwater heavyweight had to compete in a wrestle-in match, losing it to Mustang’s Christian Rowland by 5-1 decision. He finished with a 13-11 record.
Johnny Leverich, Cushing (106)
Kaiser Simpson, Cushing (120)
Cade Nicholas, Stillwater (132)
Logan Smith, Perry (138)
Derrick Kersey, Cushing (152)
Malique Barber, Pawnee (160)
Hayden Fry, Cushing (195)