Youngwolfe finish 2nd, Bruce 4th at state wrestling tournament

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

OKLAHOMA CITY — Two Pawhuska Huskies won medals at the 95th Oklahoma High School Wrestling Championships held Friday and Saturday at State Fair Arena.

PHS’s Levi Youngwolfe was the Class 3A state runner-up at 126 pounds. The junior standout — who took third-place honors at last year’s Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association-sanctioned event — ended the 2015-16 campaign with a 34-3 record.

Youngwolfe recorded 23 falls this season, with the last two coming Friday in the tourney’s opening round and championship semifinals. His three defeats were all via decision. a one-point overtime loss, 2-1, to Heritage Hall sophomore Rodrick Mosley in the previous week’s Regional finals. In Saturday night’s championship bout, Youngwolfe fell behind early and went on to lose by major decision.

“A few things went wrong early in the match and the kid (Mosley) just never gave Levi a chance to get back in it,” Pawhuska head coach Bryan Edwards said.

The Huskies’ 152-pound entry, junior Caleb Bruce, finished fourth in the championships — which was quite an overachievement considering he placed fifth at the previous week’s Regional and got into the tourney as a provisional qualifier.

“It was a good situation for Caleb,” said Edwards. “We found out Wednesday that he would get to compete and he made the most of his opportunity.”

The PHS coach said he, personally, knew of no other late qualifiers advancing to win a state medal.

“There probably have been some, but I’ve never heard of any — there just couldn’t have been many,” he added.

Bruce had missed the first half of this season with a football injury before wrestling himself into shape for the Regional. He got a berth in the state tourney bracket when the East runnerup was unable to compete due to an injury. From there, Bruce proceeded to show the importance of those fifth-place matches. He won three times and decisioned both No. 2 seeds between his losses to the tournament’s overall top seed in Round One and the consolation finals.

Youngwolfe, reached the final by recording falls in his two Friday bouts. He needed less than two minutes to defeat his opening-round foe, the West Regional runnerup from Little Axe. In the semifinals, Youngwolfe took down tourney top-seed Henry Brown in just under a minute and pinned the Geary-Watonga senior at 1:09.

PHS’s Brycen Swan, a 132-pound junior, won by fall in a consolation bout after drawing a No. 1-seed in the opener. Swan, a second-time state qualifier, was eliminated by a 7-4 decision in the consolation semifinals. Swan’s final record included 21 season victories — including 14 by pin.

“One more win and Brycen would have medalled, too,” Edwards said. “Our freshman qualifier (Price Perrier) also proved that he’s a contender.”

Perrier lost a pair of close decisions in 3A’s 120-pound division. He was edged by a senior, 4-3, in the opening round and the lost to a junior, 12-10, in overtime of the consolations. The ninth-grader ended the year with 26 wins.

After finishing third in last year’s 120-pound division, Youngwolfe was seeking to become the 18th state wrestling champion of the Huskies. PHS wrestlers have garnered a total of 26 individual titles, as well as two team state championships. Youngwolfe also reached the championships as a freshman.

“Levi still has one more try,”

Plainview — with three champions, three runnersup and 145 points — earned its second straight Class 3A team title. Heritage Hall (113) took second and Perry (104) was third. Pawhuska, with 27 points, finished tenth in 3A’s team standings.

“We fell a little bit short of our goals, but our guys wrestled pretty well — and, all four of our qualifiers will be coming back,” the Huskies’ coach added.

Barnsdall placed sixth in 3A, with five qualifiers compiling 40 points. The Panthers had a pair of third-place finishers — sophomore James Cole at 160 pounds and 220-pound junior Baylee Perigo — and a fourth-placer in 195-pound senior Austin Nelson.