By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
Photo by: Morgan Miller
#3 Zane Basma (29-10) kicked things off at 160 with a takedown of #4 Chase King but King escaped for a takedown of his own that added nearfall points before Basma managed to escape. King started the second period on bottom and escaped quickly for a 6-3 advantage. Basma did the same to start the third 6-4 and both battled back and forth before King got a takedown with near-fall points and pushed the match to 12-6 decision.
Choctaw rode a 3-0 lead into the 170 that saw #4 Trace Fleischman (6-2) against #9 Kalob Blackwell. The two were fairly evenly matched for most of the first, but Fleischman scored a takedown with 19 seconds left and maintained control into the second where he started on bottom and scored a quick escape. The Sandite added another takedown midway through the period and cut his opponent loose for a 5-1 advantage. Blackwell added another escape to start the third and nearly got a takedown but lost control on the way down and Fleischman rolled back to his feet. Blackwell did get his first takedown with 11 seconds left, but cut the Sandite loose and he fended off the rally to tie the match up with a 6-4 decision.
#4 Lane Lettich (12-8) represented the Sandites at 182 against Choctaw's #2 Easton Rendleman in the closest match thus far. Rendleman scored first with an escape to start the second, followed by Lettich to start the third and they were tied 1-1 till Rendleman got a takedown with 45 seconds left in the third. Lettich got the escape but was unable to chase down the Yellowjacket and went down 3-2.
195 #9 Zach Sims (22-20) walked all over Caulin Poole for the first two periods before running out of steam in the third. He took a 2-0 lead into the second, a 7-1 into the third, and finishing up 7-3 with three takedowns and an escape.
The back and forth affair continued at 220 as Choctaw's Tyrel Bell upset Delvin Jordan (14-5) by way of narrow 3-2 decision.
At Heavyweight it was Zach Austin with the 2:19 pin over Gage Fain (11-19) and Colt Newton with the 0:55 pin of Riley Weir (18-9) at 106 for a Yellowjacket lead of 21-6.
Choctaw won their fourth straight in Conner Holman over Michael Ritchey (19-17) by 6-4 decision.
At 120 Blake Sargent (32-11) found himself in an early hole to Garrett Rowe before managing an escape late in the second and trailed 8-1 as they started the final period. Rowe grabbed another takedown with 54 seconds left for a 10-1 major decision.
Sand Springs finally started to take some ground back at 126 as Jack Karstetter (33-7) scored an early takedown of Kaden Ogee for near-fall points and a 6-0 lead into the second period. Looking for a pin, Karstetter ran it up to 12-1 by the third and pinned the Yellowjacket in 4:12 to get the Sandites back in the game.
Choctaw had the edge at 132 however as Cole Shipman put work on Derek Davis (11-7) for a 6-1 lead going into the middle period and wrapped it up for a 13-1 major decision, effectively sealing Choctaw's State Championship at 32-16 with only two matches left.
Choctaw forfeited 138 to Daton Fix (38-0) and next up was Beau Bratcher (36-6) with a 4-3 decision over Jaryn Curry. The Sandites forfeited the final match at 152 so as to not risk injuring Payton Scott who was nursing hurt arm from the semi-finals and settled for a 41-18 Runner-Up title.
It's been a good year for the Sandites, but also a disappointing one, as they've sent three teams to State Championships and lost all three: softball, football, and now wrestling. If there's a silver lining to this story it's that these teams have learned resilience, heartbreak, and how it feels to be on top of the world and have your goal slip away from you. This can only help them in the future, both athletically and in terms of life. Here's to next year and congratulations to our incredible field of talent on being a part of the greatest year of Sand Springs athletics in the history of our great town.