Shawnee wrestling program welcomes back a load of state qualifiers

Brian Johnson
These group of Shawnee wrestlers had a lot of preseason success and looking forward to the 2020-2021 season. On the front row are: (left to right) Alex Ramos, Angelo Reyes, Sawyer Cash and Christien Taylor. Standing are: (left to right) Kyle Helie, Jordan Lomeli, Spencer Rochelle, Austin Long and Logan Cash.

Six returning state qualifiers and a move-in state qualifier highlight the 2020-2021 edition of the Shawnee High School wrestling team.

Back in the fold for second-year head coach Nik Turner are seniors Kyle Helie, Jordan Lomeli, Angelo Reyes and Samuel Anderson along with juniors Spencer Rochelle and Lane Williams. Also joining the squad this season is senior Austin Long, who was a state qualifier as a junior at Class 6A Norman North.

“We're excited about what we have back. I think we can be hard to stop in duals and tournaments,” said Turner. “Hopefully, we get a chance to compete. It will be tough (with COVID-19) but hopefully we can weather the storm.”

Helie was a fourth-place finisher at 182 pounds at the 2020 Class 5A State Tournament last February. He dropped his first match before winning two straight and then fell in the third-place match.

“Kyle will be at 182 or 195, depending on what's best for him and what's best for the team,” Turner said.

Helie recently finished first in a preseason tournament in Midwest City.

Long is expected to compete at either 170 or 182 after qualifying for state at 182 for Norman North.

“He has already jumped into a leadership role and is pushing the rest of the team,” said Turner.

The senior tandem of Reyes (126 pounds) and Lomeli (145) along with the junior Rochelle (152) also registered first-place efforts in the preseason Midwest City Tourney.

“They all three had a strong summer and a preseason. All three are working really, really hard. They set the tone in practice, the classroom and every tournament they go to,” Turner said. “Before the Midwest City Tournament, they showed up to help a lady and her husband move. All three went and won the tournament the next day.”

Williams, who competed at state at 220 pounds last season, is expected to wrestle at heavyweight this year.

“He's got the frame. He weighs 270 and has really filled that frame. Being so athletic, he now has the speed and size to go with it,” said Turner.

Senior Alex Ramos is a expected to compete at 106 pounds.

“He's has a strong preseason. I think he'll really do some damage,” Turner said.

Sophomore Christien Taylor is expected will wrestle at 113 or 120 pounds, according to Turner. Another sophomore, Sawyer Cash, could see action at 113.

“We're looking for a big season out of Christien. Sawyer was injured all last season, but he also won the tournament at Midwest City,” said Turner.

Turner anticipates senior Brenner James to compete at either 120 or 126 pounds.

Junior Hunter Rochelle will likely wrestle at 138 and senior Cade Chamblin will compete at either 152 or 160.

Sophomore Logan Cash is expected to fill the 220-pound spot after placing third at then junior high state tournament.

“We're really excited about him. He has filled out and put some size on his frame,” Turner said.

Shawnee will also have two female wrestlers in the program – senior Emily McPherson and freshman Selah Citizen.

“We're excited about growing the women's program. We have about 17 junior high girls that came out this season and Selah really blazed the trail for them. She's a two-time state runner-up, so she brings a lot of experience and keeps getting better,” said Turner. “With Emily, it is a brand new sport, but she is eager to learn and is full of tenacity and grit. I'm excited to see how far she can go this season.”

Note: The Wolves are scheduled to open their dual season Tuesday at Mustang. Their first home dual is slated to be on Dec. 8 against Del City.