Good showing for Owasso
The 2021-22 season has been going pretty well for Owasso, a team that has put forth some impressive results during dual meets and last weekend had a strong performance at the Larry Wilkey Invitational Tournament in Jenks.
With two individual champions and three second-place finishers, the Rams, ranked No. 10 in Class 6A, placed third among 21 teams after accumulating 162.5 points. That trailed only first-place No. 7 Yukon with 234.5 and runner-up No. 9 Ponca City with 212.5.
Junior Chad Herbert won the 145-pound bracket, prevailing in all four of his matches, two by fall, including a pin in 2:15 over top-seeded Trinit Zweifel of Enid in the final. Herbert, who also won his weight bracket at the Perry Tournament on Dec. 10, is 10-1 on the season so far.
“Chad’s had a really good year,” said Owasso coach Mike Ryan. “His attitude in the room is contagious; he’s very motivated. He’s just a hard worker. All the qualities that you’d want in an individual that would be considered a leader, he exemplifies.”
The other Owasso champion at the Wilkey Tournament was senior Jordan Williams, who moved from Collinsville after winning individual state championships in each of his first three years. Williams won four of his five matches at 160 pounds by pinning his opponents, and the other one was a technical fall.
“He does the things that are required of him; he’s working hard, has a good head on his shoulders,” Ryan said of Williams. “His ego is checked at the door, he comes in and falls in line. The kids love him, he’s a great leader with how he conducts himself in practice and at events.”
Placing second for Owasso at Jenks were Bryson Humphries at 106 pounds, Jayden Alexander at 132 and Tyler Rich at 285.
The Rams are also 5-0 so far in duals this season, having beaten top contenders in 4A Skiatook and Cushing and 5A No. 3 Glenpool in close battles. Their toughest matchup comes up on Thursday at home, when they take on No. 4 Broken Arrow along with other district foes Del City and No. 14 Enid.
After placing a distant 13th at last year’s state tournament, Owasso appears ready to significantly improve on that, as long as things continue to progress.
“We’re not quite to our peak performance yet,” Ryan said. “We have the potential to do well, but we’re not extremely deep in any weight class, so any small hiccup could cause us to not perform to our full potential.”
Collinsville rolling along again
Collinsville, ranked No. 1 in Class 5A, has won the state championship four years in a row and in 10 of the past 11 years, and all indications are that streak will continue.
The Cardinals are 5-0 in duals this year, including a 56-12 win over 3A No. 4 Salina on Tuesday night, and are coming off a strong showing last weekend at the prestigious Geary Invitational Tournament.
At Geary, Collinsville had five finalists, and although only junior Cole Brooks ended up winning his weight bracket (at 138 pounds), the Cardinals’ third-place finish overall was still their best-ever there, topping their fourth-place finish in 2014. Class 6A No. 1 Edmond North edged out defending 6A state champion Stillwater, ranked No. 2, for the Geary title, 156.5 to 151.5, while the Cardinals had 135.5 points.
In addition to winning his weight, Brooks was also named the winner of the Most Outstanding Wrestler Award, primarily because he had such a difficult bracket, which featured five previous state qualifiers. His first-round opponent was Broken Arrow’s Jordan Cullors, who was second at 126 pounds in last year’s state tournament, and Brooks won a 4-3 decision.
“He’s wrestled his whole life for me,” said Collinsville coach Weston Harding of Brooks, who won a state championship at 126 pounds last year. “He just wrestled fantastic, real sound and just real technical and solid. He definitely deserved the Outstanding Wrestler Award, because it was by far the toughest weight of the tournament.”
Second-place finishers for Collinsville at Geary were Canon Acklin at 106 pounds, Gerald Harris at 113 and Brayden Gilkey at 195.
As Collinsville rounds into form, it’s not good news for the other 5A programs around the state.
“I’m totally happy with the way our kids are wrestling right now,” Harding said. “Of course, we can always get better, and wrestling all these tournaments, you try to find out where your weaknesses are and where your strengths are and you go from there. Basically, you wrestle these tough tournaments to get ready for the big show, which is the state tournament.”
— John Tranchina, Tulsa World