Tanner Gregory set school history for Prague Saturday in the Class 3A West regional wrestling tournament at Kingfisher. Gregory finished in fifth-place in the 113-pound weight class to become the first wrestler in school history to ever qualify for the state tournament.
Prague coach Jason McPhail said that Gregory embodied the team's theme to “Make history,” along with their “expectation is everything” motto. Gregory let his work ethic lead him to success.
“We truly believed that if you put the work in and expect that your hard work and dedication will pay off, you will reap the rewards of the sacrifices you have made,” McPhail said.
Gregory will have the chance to represent his school and have the backing of his city behind him.
“This young man not only carries the great qualities that wrestling has helped instill in him, but he also carries the pride of the pitchfork along with him,” McPhail said.
Following an opening round 4-1 decision over Tonkawa's Evan Glasgow at the regional, Gregory suffered a 9-2 loss in the second round to drop into the consolation bracket. He won his next two matches by fall to stay in the hunt for third- place but a 5-1 loss in the consolation semifinals meant the only way he would make it to state would be a fifth-place win.
Gregory and Marlow's Kyle Davis duked it out for the final spot and the Prague wrestler earned the win with a fall in 2:54. Gregory was down 2-0 on the edge of the matt before earning the reverse and pin for the win.
“It was very, very, very exciting,” McPhail said.
He wasn't the only one to make school history though. The Red Devils finished 15th out of 25 as a team for their highest regional finish in school history – previously at 18th. They scored 32 points as a team up from a previous high of 22.5.
Gregory will have his first match at the state tournament Friday at 9:30 a.m. against Kolby Adams of Morris, who finished fourth at the Class 3A East regional. The winner of the bout will advance to face Plainview's Jaxson Roney, who took first at the West regional.
The team has found success this year behind McPhail, with Gregory's state placement being the pinnacle but far from only accomplishment.
Gregory and Elijah Ramos made big strides for the team at the conference tournament weeks earlier. The team scored 46 points at the tournament this year after posting one point last year and Gregory and Ramos each became the first to place at the tournament in the history of Red Devils wrestling.
“That was a big history event for us because we had never had one,” McPhail said.
The goal coming into the season was to get a wrestler into the state tournament and begin to fill an empty wall in the wrestling room. McPhail and Gregory have seen that goal achieved and the history of the program change to put new hope on the horizon.
“Everything is kind of moving in the right direction,” McPhail said.