Story and photo by: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
Daton Fix is back in the finals, wrestling for his third State Championship, and this time he's joined by first-time finalists Jack Karstetter and Beau Bratcher.
Six other Sandites are also still in the running for third place and will have to fight their way up through the consolation bracket.
There was a strange couple of minutes that found Zane Basma going into sudden victory overtime while Payton Scott was on the next mat over in ultimate tie-breaker overtime and at the same time the boys' basketball team was in Putnam City battling Broken Arrow in double overtime. Unfortunately overtime was not kind to Sand Springs and all three would end in defeat.
The Sandites qualified eleven for State, sent ten, and have only had one eliminated thus far.
Freshman Riley Weir (21-12) came into the tournament ranked 7th in 106 after a 3rd Place performance at Regionals. He has been battling an arm injury for the latter half of the season and it's been wearing on him noticeably for the last few weeks. In his first round he was pitted against #3 Colt Newton (20-12) of Choctaw for the fourth time this season and was pinned by his opponent for the fourth time this season. In the consolation quarterfinals Weir met Yukon's #6 Braden Fowler (24-12) and was eliminated by way of 14-4 major decision.
At 113 the Sandites sent junior Regional Champion #4 Michael Ritchey (23-18) against #3 Wes Hardin (31-12). The Westmoore wrestler prevailed with a 5-2 decision, but the Sandite rebounded with a 5-3 decision over Ponca's #7 Spencer Shickram (14-9) to advance to the consolation semi-finals. He will next take on Broken Arrow's #5 Tyler Lawley (23-12) who he defeated 3-1 for the Regional Championship.
Sophomore 120 pound Regional Champion #3 Blake Sargent (37-12) suffered a 4-2 tie-breaker upset to #8 Zackery Bibb (24-6) to start the tournament, and was in danger of being eliminated in the consolation quarter finals as he trailed to #5 Justin Gundlach (29-11) of Moore. Down 3-2 to start the final period, he got a takedown with under a minute to go and quickly turned it into a pin at 5:14. Next he will rematch Broken Arrow's #4 TaJuan Daniels (25-12) who he defeated 1-0 in the Regional Championship, 3-2 in the Sand Springs Invitational Championship, and 4-2 in sudden victory during a regular season dual.
126 pound junior #1 Daton Fix (44-0) pinned Bobby Robinson (30-13) of Deer Creek in 1:37 in round one, then majored #3 Drew Wilson (29-5) of Midwest City 15-3. The Championship round will be a rematch of Fix's last State Championship that saw the Sandite score an 11-3 major for the 120 pound title.
132 pound junior Regional Champion #1 Jack Karstetter (39-7) ran up a 17-2 tech fall over Norman's #7 Jeffrey Adams (23-12) in 5:42, then registered a 15-4 major decision over #4 Marqual Graham (35-10) of Lawton. This is his second time qualifying for State, but last year he went 1-2 and failed to place. The Championship round will pit him against #2 Kruz Simons (33-11) of Edmond North.
138 pound junior #2 Beau Bratcher (43-6) is a two-time Regional Champion but this is his first year placing at state. He picked an interesting way to get to the finals. He pinned both of his first two opponents in the exact same time. #7 Jeff Speer (23-10) of Choctaw and #5 Zach Johnson (33-14) of Westmoore both fell in exactly 4:48. The final match will be against #1 Jaxen Gilmore (38-3) of Yukon who holds a 2-0 decision over Bratcher from the Yukon finals.
152 pound sophomore #3 Payton Scott (18-5) qualified for State after winning his first Regional Championship and pinned his first opponent, Westmoore's #7 Trey Painter (33-10) in 3:52. The next round however was against #2 Joseph Messer (29-3) of Norman North and the two were evenly matched at 1-1 at the end of regulation. Neither scored in the sudden victory round, both scored an escape in the tie breaker rounds, but Scott was unable to prevent Messer from escaping during the ultimate tie breaker and lost 3-2. Scott will next take on Ponca City's #4 Ezequiel Rubio (25-12) in the consolation semi finals. The Sandite is 2-0 against his opponent this season, pinning him in 3:00 to start the season, then trumping him 7-3 in the Regional finals.
160 pound junior #3 Zane Basma (33-12) came in Runner-Up at Regionals after forfeiting the Championship round due to some deeply bruised ribs. This is his second time qualifying for State and he'll be looking to place for the first time. He defeated #5 Sam Hensley (31-14) of Edmond Memorial by 8-3 decision. In the next round, however, he was upset by #7 Moses Mayhue (29-8) of Union in a 4-3 tie-breaker decision. Next up Basma will take on #4 Cooper Coil (28-12) of Edmond North in the consolation semi finals.
170 pound senior #7 Trace Fleischman (10-5) got off to a great start at State after upsetting #3 Jacob Schimmels (24-6) of Deer Creek with a 3-1 decision. In the next round, however, he went down 13-6 to Broken Arrow's #2 Isaiah Page (35-4). This is Fleischman's second trip to State. Last year he took 3rd place. He'll be working toward the same place this year if he can defeat #4 Jace Brownlee (29-8) of Stillwater. Brownlee defeated Fleischman 6-3 at Regionals.
Consolation semifinals begin Saturday at 10:30. Choctaw is currently in first place with 103 points, followed by Broken Arrow with 63.5 and Sand Springs with 62.5.