Sand Springs is no stranger to the national forum when it comes to wrestling. The sport is undeniably the Sandites' best subject in recent memory, and not only are we considered to be part of the "Top Three" in Oklahoma, but our wrestlers are making headlines nation-wide as part of Team Oklahoma. With the scholastic season on hold, many of our wrestlers are competing in Freestyle and Greco-Roman tournaments across the country as part of "Team BIG," a wrestling club started by Sandite assistant coach Derek Fix. Here's what our boys have been up to since placing third in state last school year.
Payton kicked off his nonscholastic season in mid-April at the 2015 OK USA National Team Qualifier at Union High School. He made quick work of his opponents, pinning Stillwater's Jace Nicholas in 1:35, then had back to back techs on Broken Arrow's Jarred Due and Lawton's 2015 Southern Plains Champion, Nick Mahan. With only 9 competitors at weight class 160, this secured Payton's position on the Oklahoma Cadet Team.
A month later, Payton traveled to Cushing for the OK USA FS/GR State Tournament, where he again competed in the Cadet FS 160 field against a small group of only 6 other wrestlers. He easily teched Broken Arrow's Zeke Rozell, then pulled a narrow 9-5 decision over 2015 state placer Jaryn Curry of Choctaw, before teching Lawton MacArthur's Christian Maldonado for a first place medal.
In June it was finally time for the Cadet National Duals, where Payton would compete on both the Freestyle and Greco-Roman teams. In Greco, Oklahoma started in the C Pool and went 3-2 against their opponents. Payton proved to be an invaluable member of the team, losing only one match in the whole tournament while wrestling at 152lbs. First Oklahoma defeated California 60-15, aided by Payton's 12-0 Tech of Michael Zaragoza. Then, despite a fantastic 13-0 tech of Joey Baughman, Oklahoma fell 37-36 to Ohio1. In the consolation semifinal Oklahoma made easy work of Delaware, defeating them 68-14, where Payton landed his quickest pin of the tournament in 26 seconds against Jullian Johnson. In the 3rd Place Match, Payton teched state-qualifier Gleason Mappes 10-0 to help aid Oklahoma in a 44-29 rout of Indiana. In the 2nd place match, Payton's streak finally came to an end, suffering a 1:32 pin by state-placer Sammy Cokeley, as Oklahoma was defeated 46-30 by Kansas1.
Moving to the Bronze/Copper pool, Payton only wrestled in two of Oklahoma's four matches. In Round One he teched state-placer Kam Bush 11-0 to help Oklahoma defeat Michigan1 54-21. With Payton sitting out for the next two rounds, Oklahoma went on to defeat Ohio2 44-32 and NewJersey1 39-36. In the 1st place match, Payton returned to the mat and teched Gleason Mappes again, but this time Indiana rallied for an upset to narrowly defeat Oklahoma 39-37. Team Oklahoma had to settle for 2nd place in Bronze/Copper, 10th Place overall.
The Freestyle tournament went slightly better for Team Oklahoma. In the first match they decimated Delaware 70-7 as Payton teched Avery Mayan 12-1. Then they lost to Ohio1 51-21 with Payton moving up temporarily to 160 and losing in a narrow 5-3 decision to David Crawford. In the consolation bracket, Oklahoma defeated Kansas2 48-27 aided by Payton's 11-0 tech of Hayden Koepke. In the 3rd Place Match for Pool C, Oklahoma defeated Indiana 41-38 and Payton teched Gleason Mappes for the third time. Oklahoma won second place over a narrow 39-37 defeated of Missouri1, and Payton teched Scott Parrack 12-1.
This time Oklahoma made it into the Gold/Silver Pool, but suffered three straight defeats to settle for 7th Place. Payton teched Michael O'Malley in a 40-36 defeat by New Jersey. Then he was teched himself by National Champion Trevell Timmons in Oklahoma's devastating 67-9 loss to Illinois. In Round 3, Washington defeated Oklahoma 46-33, but Payton won 11-0 against Malachi Lawrence. To wrap thing up, Oklahoma finally got a win on the board against Kansas1, 45-29, and Payton pulled off his 16th tech of the season against Sammy Cokeley.
Pulling off a 7th Place National Freestyle Dual medal and a 10th Place National Greco Dual medal, so far, Payton has a non-scholastic record for 2015 of 19-3. Payton will be a Sophomore this upcoming year at Charles Page, and in addition to being an outstanding wrestler, he was also a varsity wide-receiver on last year's 6A-II state semi-finalist team.