At the conclusion of this weekend's 5A West Regional Wrestling Tournament at Western Heights, the Shawnee Wolves qualified four grapplers for a run at the State Tournament next weekend. Coach Larry James would have liked more to have made the cut.
“I thought we should have had maybe one more match and one more in. Overall I think we wrestled okay,” James said.
Nick Poncho and Quinten Grass survived on the backend to move into the third place consolation match Saturday and earn their spots at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City next weekend. Caleb McClaurin and Creed Humphrey each qualified for State on Friday after obtaining positions in the championship matches for their classes.
Humphrey had arguably the best match for the Wolves in the tournament, taking down Altus' Keegan Pride for the second time this season. Both ended in overtime with Humphrey winning by one point. If the two meet again at State, Humphrey could pull off a trifecta over Pride.
Poncho won his semifinal match against Quinton Smith from Lawton Macarthur 6-2 in the 120-pound weight class Saturday morning to move on to the third place match that evening. Grass (126) outlasted Chickasha's Ethan Calhoun with a 16-12 double-overtime win.
Poncho finished the first two rounds of his third place match against Guthrie's Tyler Musil with a 4-3 lead. The Shawnee product made big moves in the final round with a reversal and near fall to win by a 9-4 decision.
Grass won his final by fall over Piedmont's Bradley Appleton 3:05 into their match. Grass hit Appleton with two takedowns and a two-point near fall to lead 6-1 through the first round before obtaining the pin just past midway in the second.
McClaurin finished second in the 182-pound weight class after losing a close 5-3 decision to Del City's Matt Lamb. He was only able to pull off a pair of escapes through the match as Lamb put out two takedowns and an escape for the win.
Christian Hernandez (113), Stephen Smith (138), Dylan Shaw (160) Jonathon Thomas (152) and Jarrod Wyatt (195) each lost in the consolation semifinals to end their run at State and drop into the fifth place bouts. Smith, Shaw Thomas and Wyatt each lost their fifth place matches. Hernandez didn't get to compete due to injury.
No loss is easy, but some take more of a toll than others.
“It's a long day, hard day, emotional day,” James said.
Smith's semifinal loss, a 7-6 decision to Western Heights' Adrian Macias was probably the most emotional for Shawnee. Macias pulled out a late takedown to take the win late in the third period.
The Shawnee senior worked hard to prepare and improve throughout the season but wasn't able to get over the hump at the end to make a run at State.
“Stephen gave everything he had,” James said.
The Wolves State qualifiers will wrestle at the State Tournament next weekend at State Fair Arena beginning at 10:30 Friday morning.