By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
Photo: Virgil Noah, Staff
The 6A #1 Sand Springs Sandites (10-0) defeated the 5A #1 Collinsville Cardinals (14-2) Tuesday night, spoiling the smaller school’s homecoming festivities. The matches were split 7-7 but the Sandites came out well ahead on bonus points with four pins.
The dual started off at 106 with #3 Connor Henson scoring an early takedown of #7 Riley Weir (16-8), but the match was broken up multiple times due to bleeding on the part of the Cardinal. Weir scored an escape, then a takedown to carry a 3-2 lead into the second period where the pair started neutral. The first minute was an exhausting battle for control, before Henson finally scored points with thirty seconds left. Weir wouldn’t be held for long, however, and escaped within moments to even things out 4-4. The final period also started neutral, but this time Henson took control quickly for a 6-4 lead. Henson rode a nearly immobile Weir till there was a mere thirty seconds left when the Sandites used a timeout to inspect Weir’s pained elbow. The Sandite freshman is recovering from a severally strained tendon, but that didn’t stop him from escaping and scoring a takedown with seconds left for a 7-6 decision and a 3-0 team lead.
At 113 it was #5 Michael Ritchey (18-14) versus #6 Xavear Cullors. The first period was a bunch of dancing and neither scored points till Cullors managed an escape to start the second. He followed it up quickly with a takedown and rode Ritchey into the third. The pair started neutral and Cullors took Ritchey down once more. The Sandite’s lone point came on an escape with thirty left and Collinsville got the 5-1 decision to tie things up.
120 #6 Blake Sargent (30-9) and #4 Gunner Hamm were at an impasse for nearly all of the first till Sargent scored a takedown with less than two seconds left. He followed it up with an escape two seconds into the second period, then added another takedown with a minute to spare and turned it into near-fall with twenty left and started the third with an 11-0 lead. The third started the way of the first but Sargent managed another takedown with forty seconds left. He failed to score again, however, and settled for a 13-0 major decision.
The quickest match of the night was the 0:29 pin of 126 Pete Flippo by #4 Jack Karstetter (30-6). Karstetter has won his last fifteen matches and just took first place at both the Yukon and Sand Springs tournaments.
132 Derek Davis (10-5) is didn’t get that record just by showing up. The kid is good, but he was pitted against #1 reigning 5A State Champion Nate Keim, and that’s tough. Keim just went 7-0 at the Ram Duals this past weekend, and clearly he wasn’t done adding to that streak. Keim scored on a takedown a minute in, then let Davis out just to take him down again. Keim started the second period down and immediately escaped, and needed only twenty seconds to take Davis down for a near-fall. Davis battled out of it, but the Cardinal took a 12-0 lead, then added another takedown before pinning him in 3:48 to close the gap to 13-9.
Ryce Haymaker is probably a great wrestler. But you can’t judge anyone by how well they match up against 138 #1 Daton Fix. The two-time State Champion is 35-0 this season, 108-0 overall, and nobody gets close to beating him outside of national championships. Fix took a 4-2 lead faster than I can type and continued his cat and mouse routine of letting his opponent up just to immediately take him down again till he had an 8-4 lead and was satisfied with his takedown-practice for the day. Haymaker was wrapped up in a textbook cradle only 1:43 in, and the Sandites increased their lead to 19-9.
#2 Beau Bratcher (33-6) has had a rough week. In his last match he was pitted against 138 #1 Jaxen Gilmore. This time it 145 State Runner-Up #1 Justin Walker. The two gridlocked through the first period and started the second neutral and repeated till Walker finally scored a takedown right at the buzzer. Bratcher managed an escape with a minute left, but was unable to score and lost 2-1
152 Cody Mathis (13-12) had an equally difficult matchup in #1 State Champion Elijah Tanner. Tanner got a takedown with twenty seconds left in the first and Mathis started the second period down. Mathis failed to escape through the second and Tanner escaped quickly to start the third. He added a takedown with a minute to spare and took a 5-0 decision.
Another top level battle came at 160 as #2 Payton Scott (11-4) took on #3 Tony Connor. Scott was the only one pressing the action for most of the first period and Connor caught him off guard, striking out of a defensive position for a takedown. Scott got an escape moments later, however, and gave up an escape to start the second to wrestle from a 3-1 deficit. It cost him, however, as he failed to get the points he was expecting and continued to trail into the third. He escaped to start the third and was working on an inside trip when the time ran out and he lost 3-2.
#4 Zane Basma (26-9) pulled off an impressive win over #2 Josh Arnold at 170. Arnold scored a takedown to start the first and a takedown to end it, broken up by a Basma escape. Basma chose down and scored a quick escape, then turned a takedown into a 3:54 pin for a 25-18 team lead.
#4 Lane Lettich (10-6) didn’t have much difficulty with Trace Dougherty at 182, taking the Cardinal down and pinning him in only 1:10.
195 Zach Sims (19-19) was very impressive, despite a loss. Taking on #1 State Runner-Up Roc Robbins, the match started the same as many before it, with two very talented wrestlers stalemated by each other’s great talent and neither scored in the first period. Robbins didn’t score till there was a minute left in the second, then escaped to start the third 3-0. He added another takedown midway through, then Sims finally got on the board with an escape. The Sandite ultimately went down 5-1.
Ten points down with twelve points possible, the Cardinals needed two pins or a pin and a tech fall to win it.
220 Cole Dixon (4-4) hasn’t wrestled all season, and just saw his first action this past weekend. He found himself pitted against Dylan Dobbs who, funnily, also has a 4-4 record between this past weekend and Dixon. Dixon slammed his opponent down moments in for a quick two points, but the Cardinal responded immediately with an escape. Dixon attempted a quick trip with moments left in the period, but was unsuccessful. The Cardinal took the down position and used thirty seconds in getting an escape, but ten seconds later Dixon took him right back to the mat. Another Cardinal escape made it 4-3, but Dixon brought him back down with 12 to go for a 6-3 lead. The third period started neutral but Dixon didn’t’ let it stay that way for long, pushing the lead to 8-3. Suddenly, the two were rolling back and forth and Dobbs ended up on top for a 5:28 pin after what looked to be an easy Sandite win.
Just like that, the Cardinals were back in it and it came down to the Heavyweight match. The typically 220 Delvin Jordan (11-4) was outclassed by more than 50 pounds against Jackson Wilson, but he didn’t show it. The Sandite scored a pair of takedowns for a 4-2 lead with the Cardinal’s points coming from escapes. The second period was neutral all the way through, and the Cardinal escaped to start the third trailing 4-3. When the Cardinals needed a big move to rally for the win, the only big move to be found was from Jordan, hoisting the heavyweight up for a 6-4 decision and a 34-27 win.
Sand Springs has one regular season event left before Dual State. Thursday the Sandites will travel to Jenks for one last tune-up before the big dual season finale.