BROKEN ARROW — Stillwater moved into position to break Broken Arrow’s string of regional team wrestling titles at three, but everyone will have to wait until Monday to see if the No. 1-ranked Pioneers can finish the deal.
Stillwater sent five wrestlers to the finals and crowned four individuals as champions to open a 9.5-point lead over the No. 2 Tigers in the team standings as this year’s weather-delayed 6A East Regional finally got under way Saturday before about 500 socially distanced spectators in BA’s Tiger Field House.
In a tournament-format first designed to minimize exposure to COVID-19 for coaches and participants, the lower seven weights were wrestled to completion over the first day of the meet and the higher weights will be wrestled Monday.
“This is kind of another out-of-body experience where we finish the day and we’re going into halftime, essentially,” Stillwater coach Ethan Kyle said. “We have some horses that are gonna come out and compete on Monday, and I feel good about where we’re at.”
Stillwater received titles from Sam Smith at 106 pounds, Cael Hughes at 120, Carter Young at 138 and Teague Travis at 145. All four won over Broken Arrow opponents in the finals, helping to pad the lead.
Travis, an Oklahoma State University signee and three-time state champion in Missouri who moved to Stillwater as a senior, trailed late in the second period before taking the lead with a takedown and outlasting Hill, a two-time state runner-up.
“This is my third time to wrestle (Hill), and I just knew to go out there and keep on the attack and not let anything rattle me,” he said.
“In the first period, I was getting in on my shots but I just wasn’t finishing them. I knew if I kept the pace, I’d eventually get one and things would start to come together.”
Stillwater’s lead bodes well because the Pioneers still have standouts Angelo and Anthony Ferarri to wrestle at 152 and 160 on Monday.
But Broken Arrow owns the past two 6A state teams titles, and coach Rodney Jones was looking on the bright side.
“The goal is to qualify 14 wrestlers for the state tournament. That keeps your foot in the door, and we got seven of seven qualified today, so that’s a good start,” he said. “I think we have the edge on Monday in having a few more guys seeded higher in the higher weights, like (Stillwater) had in the lower weights today.”
The Tigers’ only title came from Jordan Cullors, who outpointed Bixby’s Jace Roller in a tough match at 126.
The match was scoreless until Cullors broke out early in the second period with a pair of near falls.
“That was two good athletes, but Jordan’s a kid who’s capable of doing anything he wants to do when he’s ready to go,” Jones said.
Bixby received titles from undefeated wrestlers Clay Giddens-Buttram at 113 and Zach Blankenship at 132 and was third in the team standings. Giddens-Buttram defeated Putnam City’s Kalib Nolan 4-0 and Blankenship, who won a state title as a freshman but missed last year’s regional with an elbow injury, outpointed Stillwater’s Cade Nicholas, 5-1.
“Missing out on state last year really sucked,” Blankenship said. “But I’m kind of getting back to the feeling I had my freshman year when I pinned my way through the regional and state tournaments.”
Stillwater 149; Broken Arrow 139.5; Bixby 102.5; Ponca City 70.0; Westmoore 56; Deer Creek 53; Putnam City 51; Owasso 43.5; Union 41; Sand Springs 36; Bartlesville 21.5; Jenks 11; Muskogee 5; Del City 5; Enid 2; U.S. Grant 0.
106: Sam Smith, Stillwater, d. Christian Forbes, Broken Arrow, 5-0.
113: Clay Giddens-Buttram, Bixby, d. Kalib Nolan, Putnam City, 4-0.
120: Cael Hughes, Stillwater, d. Parker Witcraft, Broken Arrow, 11-3.
126: Jordan Cullors, Broken Arrow, d. Jace Roller, Bixby, 11-5.
132: Zach Blankenship, Bixby, d. Cade Nicholas, Stillwater, 5-1.
138: Carter Young, Stillwater, d. Blazik Perez, Broken Arrow, 10-3.
145: Teague Travis, Stillwater, d. Jared Hill, Broken Arrow, 3-1.
106: Chris Kiser, Ponca City, d. Garrett McChesney, Deer Creek, 4-2.
113: Kaleb Collins, BA, d. Jaxson Humphries, Owasso, 6-1.
120: Zeke Wheeler, Owasso, m.d. Michael Fredrickson, Deer Creek, 12-2.
126: Reginald Jones Jr., Westmoore, p. JJ McComas, Stillwater, 2:46.
132: Mitchell Smith, Sand Springs, p. Casey Goss, Broken Arrow, 2:31.
138: Hudson Neeley, Deer Creek, Cameron Jackson, Ponca City, 3-2.
145: Garrett Washington, Bixby, inj. def. Duke McGill, Bartlesville..
106: Bryson Humphries, OIwasso, d. Gannon Morales, Westmoore, 7-4.
113: Gabe Fontanez, Stillwater, d. Kaiden Castro, Westmoore, 5-1.
120: Jarrod Gilliams, Union, d. Preston Parnell, Putnam, City, 10-7.
126: Preston Lee, Ponca City, d. Javier Lopez, Putnam City, 0:35.
132: Ryker Agee, Ponca City, d. Riley Trickett, Union, 3-0.
138: Cooper Evans, Westmoore, p. Ethan Norton, Sand Springs, 5:23.
145: Michael Foster, Union, p. Jonathan Kelvington, Jenks, 4:52.
106: Christian Forbes, BA, m.j. Bryson Humphries, Owasso, 10-2; Sam Smith, Stillwater d. Chris Kaiser, Ponca City, 9-3.
113: Clay Giddens-Buttram, Bixby p. Jaxson Humphries, Owasso, 3:18; Kalib Nolan, Putnam City, m.d. Kaleb Collins, BA, 10-2.
120: Cael Hughes p. Zeke Wheeler, Owasso, 4:34; Parker Witcraft t.f. Michael Fredrickson, Deer Creek, 16-0.
126: Jordan Cullors, BA, d. JJ McComas, Stillwater, 3-1; Jace Roller, Bixby, p. Reginald Jones, Westmoore, 0:37.
132: Zach Blankenship, Bixby, t.f. Casey Goss, BA, 23-8; Cade Nicholas, Stillwater, d. Mitchell Smith, Sand Springs, 6-0.
138: Carter Young, Stillwater, t.f. Cooper Evans, Westmoore, 18-3; Blazik Perez, BA, d. Cameron Jackson, Ponca City, 1-0.
145: Teague Travis, Stillwater, t.f. Michael Foster, Union, 26-11; Jared Hill, BA, p. Garrett Washington, Bixby, 0:28.