Huskie trio excels at Will Rogers Conference meet

Mike ErwinJ-C Sports Writer

TONKAWA — Levi Youngwolfe was leader of the pack for the Pawhuska High School Huskies at last weekend’s Will Rogers Conference wrestling tournament.

Youngwolfe won all his matches in claiming the conference’s 126-pound championship Saturday. With the Class 3A Regionals just over a week away, the PHS junior earned his fourth tourney title in a month.

Wrestlers from more than a dozen schools — including Vinita, Blackwell, Oologah, Sperry and Grove — participated in the two-day Will Rogers tourney, which was held at the Tonkawa Event Center.

Pawhuska’s Mathew Taft continued a sensational senior season by placing second in the 170-pound division. Rapidly-improving junior Warren Graves took third at 160 and returning state qualifier Brycen Swan, who’s also a junior, was fourth at 132 pounds.

Three Huskies took fifth in their weight groups — senior Taylor Walker (145), sophomore Kienan Cheves (220) and junior heavyweight John Bighorse. Another PHS junior, Caleb Bruce, placed sixth at 152. Pawhuska finished fifth as a team in the 3A-4A conference showdown.

“We should have finished a little higher — and we definitely would have if we’d had our full team,” said the Huskies’ coach, Brian Edwards. “But, at this point in the season, we’re mainly trying to get everybody ready for Regionals.”

Both freshman starters from the Pawhuska varsity — 106-pounder Ryan Parks and 120-pound Price Perrier — missed the conference tourney so they could compete at the OKWA’s Junior High State Tournament at Oklahoma City’s State Fair Arena. Perrier won his first two matches at the event and narrowly missed placing.

Local placers at the state junior high meet included Colton Bruner (fourth place) and Landon McCartney (eighth).

Oklahoma Dual State is be held this Friday and Saturday. Pawhuska finished second to Blackwell in its six-team dual race, so the Maroons will represent District 5 in 3A’s eight-team battle at Firelake Arena in Shawnee. The Barnsdall Panthers (coached by former PHS two-time state champ Shawn Wilson) is the dual-winning team of the 3A-8 District.

The 3A East Regional for 2016 will be held Feb. 19-20 at Bristow High School. Among the teams assigned to the East are No. 2-rated Perry and and third-ranked Heritage Hall. (Pawhuska was ranked No. 13 and No. 15 in the latest season polls.) No. 4 Blackwell and top-rated Plainview will headline 3A’s West Regional at Pauls Valley.

PHS wound up with a 7-3 dual-season mark that included head-to-head victories over No. 9-ranked Barnsdall (10-2) and 10th-ranked Tonkawa, as well as a ranked 4A squad (Cleveland) and Class 6A Bartlesville.

ELEMENTARY RESULTS

Pawhuska Elementary Wrestling team members competed last weekend at the Oklahoma Kids Wrestling Association Novice State Championships at Tulsa Expo Square, with another OKWA Regional slated this Saturday at the Skiatook Arena. Elementary team results are planned for next week’s J-C.