Huskie mat hopes on line in 3A Regional at Sperry

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

D-Day comes this Friday and Saturday for members of the Pawhuska High School wrestling team at the Class 3A East Regional Wrestling Tournament.

All of the pain, sweat and suffering that has occurred this season will be put on the line at Sperry High School with a single goal in mind: to qualify for the State High School Wrestling Championships that will be held the following week at State Fairgrounds Arena in Oklahoma City.

Pawhuska is expected to enter wrestlers in at least 10 of the Regional’s 14 weight classifications. The top contenders for Coach Brian Edwards’ Huskies will be sophomores Levi Youngwolfe and Brycen Swan.

Youngwolfe, at 120 pounds, is attempting to qualify for his second straight state tournament. He was the 113-pound runnerup at last year’s Regional, but only recently returned to the mat after missing more than a month with a hip injury. Swan, a 132-pound entry, has had an outstanding season for the Huskies, which included winning a championship at the Carman Classic.

Another state hopeful is 113-pound PHS sophomore Daniel Nightengale. T.J. Finn, a junior, will be at 126 pounds and Taylor Walker is a 138-pound prospect. Logan Trammel is in the 145-pound slot. At 152 pounds will be sophomore Caleb Bruce and sophomore Johnathan Moody may be at 160. Yet another sophomore, Warren Graves, is the 170-pound entry. Pawhuska senior Jayden Higgins will compete in the 185-pound slot and freshman Kienan Cheves will go at either 195 or 220 pounds. Another Huskie who has battled injuries is senior Dakota Jester in the under-285 division.

In addition to the entries for the Huskies, the two-day Sperry Regional will include wrestlers from Barnsdall, Berryhill, Blackwell, Bristow, Checotah, Heritage Hall, Hulbert, Inola, Keys (Parkhill), Locust Grove, Morrison, Newkirk, Okmulgee, Oklahoma School for the Blind (Parkview), Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry, Quinton, Salina, Sequoyah of Tahlequah, Sperry, Talihina, Tonkawa, Vian and Warner.

The return of Perry Maroons to the East Regional will come a week after the Maroons reasserted themselves by winning their seventh consecutive 3A Dual State Championship. Although listed behind Plainview the Oklahoma 3A rankings, the Maroon squad sprung a late rally to defeat the Indians, 30-28, in Saturday night’s tournament finals at Cushing. Perry trailed by six points with two bouts remaining, but their 220-pounder won a 2-1 decision before a fall in the 285-pound match clinched the title. (It was Perry’s 14th dual state crown in 17 years.)

Perry started the Saturday title run with a 68-12 dual triumph over the Pawnee Bears, which was the team that represented Pawhuska’s district in the tourney. In other opening-round results Plainview downed Sperry, 48-24, Blackwell was a 48-30 winner over Locust Grove and Geary-Watonga edged Chandler, 34-30. Perry advanced to the championship via a 40-28 victory Geary, while Plainview won its semifinal versus Blackwell, 48-25.

Opening sessions for this weekend’s Regional begin at noon and the evening sessions start at 6 p.m. on Friday as well as on Saturday. Championship semi­finals and consolation second round matches are on Friday night. The championship finals and consolation finals will be held simultaneously on two mats.

At the same time the East Regional is going on at Sperry, the 3A West Regional will be underway in Marlow. The top four finishers in each weight classification from both of the Regionals advance to the Feb. 27-28 Oklahoma State Championships. Consolation matches for fifth and sixth places are held at the Regionals and those wrestlers qualify for state in the event one of the top four places is unable to compete.