Although it wasn’t the team finish that they would have liked, the youth-laden Durant Lions wrestling squad notched valuable experience in the Class 5A regional at Claremore, qualifying one grappler for the state tournament.
Junior Braden Rudolf proved to be the lone state qualifier, notching a 2-2 record after an opening round bye.
The 170-pound wrestler picked up a fall win over Ezra Samuels from Glenpool to advance to the tournament semifinal round. There he dropped a 13-2 major decision to Coweta’s Talon Borror.
Rudolf rebounded with a 12-10 verdict over Brian Resch of Tahlequah before falling to Skiatook’s Blake Watkins in a 6-1 decision to claim fourth place and advance.
The Durant wrestler will be pitted against top seed Nick Mahan from Lawton Mac in the state tournament opener on Friday at State Fair Arena.
“We felt like we had four or five wrestlers that had an opportunity to qualify for the state tournament so we were a little disapppointed,” head coach Jim Taylor said. “Some of that was due to bad draws and some was due to our own mistakes. We just didn’t wrestle sharp but the good thing is that we have 11 of the 13 wrestlers we took coming back next year and a lot of them won matches at the regional tournament.
“We’re extremely happy for Braden though. It didn’t come easy. He had to wrestle with a lot of heart all the way through, as he has done for the last three years. He just keeps coming at you. We are excited for him.”
In the 120-pound division, freshman Cody Hicks narrowly missed advancing to state, placing fifth.
After an opening defeat, he bounced back with back-to-back fall wins against Metro Christian’s Corey Gilpin and East Central’s T.J. Lewis, each coming in less than a minute.
Hicks then dropped a decision but closed out with a fall win in 4:50 over Glenpool’s Mason Watts.
Fellow freshman Connor Hall ended up sixth at 126 pounds, picking up a pair of wins after an opening round loss.
He bounced Gage Williams of McGuinness in 3:40 for a fall victory and then picked up a 7-2 decision against Daion Marshall from Tulsa East Central.
Senior Trever Wann also claimed fifth, narrowly missing a return to state at 220 pounds.
He toppled Dylan Bigham from McAlester by fall at 3:32 in his first contest but then dropped a 2-1 tiebreaker decision to Tahlequah’s Dustin Hicks to get to the semifinal round.
Following a decision loss, he finished with a fall win in 3:12 during his final contest.
The Lions’ other senior Demario Gray, claimed sixth at heavyweight with a 1-3 finish.
He edged Dylan Carnagey of Skiatook in a 7-6 decision following an opening round bye but then lost a narrow 3-2 verdict to Bishop Kelley’s Kyle Urich in a battle to make the semifinals.
Gray then dropped two straight in the consolation bracket.
At 106 pounds, freshman Jared Pierce finished 2-2 in the regional event with a 10-7 decision victory against Parker Roberts of Coweta and fall win in 2:01 versus Bishop Kelley’s Zac Moss.
Parker Fernandez notched a 1-2 record, including a fall win over David Vo from McGuinness in 3:52 while Ethan Horner also finished at 1-2 with a win by fall against Glenpool’s Konner Griffin in 4:27.
Isaiah Wright picked up one win, a 4-1 decision over Isaac Strain of Tahlequah, in the 182-pound division.
Contact Kevin Farr at 580-634-2161 or email@example.com