Special to The Sun
The Edmond North wrestling team had three straight come-from-behind wins to capture the first Dual State Championship in school history.
North entered the tournament Saturday in Claremore as the No. 1 seed from the west and the No. 2 ranked team overall behind Broken Arrow. In the first round, the east side powers dominated the west as Broken Arrow defeated Midwest City 54-13, Union beat Westmoore 52-12 and Muskogee slipped past Southmoore 34-31.
The Huskies looked to join the other west-side teams in defeat by starting off their match with Sapulpa down 16-0. Bryan Creel put North on the board with a decision victory at 152 pounds, but in the next match Dakota Zickefoose suffered an injury that caused him to forfeit the match putting the Chieftains up 22-3.
The Huskies, however, were not about to give up. North rallied and won the next seven matches to move on to the semi-finals.
“I’m not going to lie, I was nervous after that slow start,” said Coach Andy Schneider. “I knew we had the stronger part of our line-up coming up after being down by so much, but you never know what can happen.”
The final score of that first round match was 38-25.
Next up for North was Tulsa Union, the defending dual state champions. Again, the Huskies opened up the match down 12-6.
“Just like in the Sapulpa match, we started the dual right in the strength of their lineup. However, I thought our guys battled much better and even though we lost some of those early matches, we didn’t give up any pins. In a dual meet, losing by decision only gives them three points instead of a pin where they get six team points,” Schneider said.
Trevor Pettyjohn pulled off an amazing upset by hanging on for a 5-4 win and Reggie Dunn followed that up with an important 7-2 win at 145 pounds. Then the Redskins were introduced to the strength of the Huskies.
Junior Derek White turned a regular decision into a major decision with a barrage of takedowns in the third period. Lance and Joel Dixon followed that up with pins. Andrew Dixon posted a decision victory and sophomore Nolan Malloy stamped out any chance of a Redskin comeback when he won his match in sudden victory overtime. Jordan Prince, Cy Trindle and Jordan Armstrong finished off Union and pushed the Huskies into the finals with a 38-18 victory.
In a surprising turn of events, the Muskogee Roughers pulled off a huge upset in the other semi-final, beating No. 1 Broken Arrow 28-27.
“That was definitely a surprise to all of us,” Schneider said. “All along we were planning on meeting Broken Arrow in the finals. Now we had to get ready for a Muskogee team wrestling at the top of their game.”
For the third straight dual, the Huskies lost the first match and trailed in the finals. It looked like Muskogee would win the first two weights when Reggie Dunn found himself trailing 6-3 after the first period. Dunn, however, used superb conditioning to wear down Muskogee’s Clayton Spencer and record a come-from-behind pin.
Muskogee was assessed a team point at the end of the match for unsportsmanlike conduct. Muskogee, however, was still in the match and jumped ahead again 16-6 before North’s Derek White stepped on the mat at 170 pounds against JT Andrews. White controlled the entire match to start the Husky rally.
Lance, Joel, and Andrew Dixon took the life out of Muskogee when all three posted first-period falls. Nolan Malloy followed that up with his third straight victory of the day as he hung on for a crucial 1-0 decision. Freshman Jordan Prince, who also was undefeated on the day, could sense the championship was close to being clinched and pounded Muskogee’s Xavion Taylor with a 12-0 major decision. Cy Trindle lost a hard-fought match at 113 pounds and that brought up senior Jordan Armstrong.
“Jordan’s a kid who never stops wrestling, so even though he started his match off losing 5-0, I knew he wasn’t out of it,” Schneider said.
In the second period Armstrong reversed his foe and sealed the team championship with a pin. North and Muskogee traded wins in the final two matches with Matt Durham picking up a 5-3 decision to put the finishing touches on a 43-25 victory.
“I am so proud of these guys. They are hard-nosed kids who know how to battle, even when things aren’t going their way. It was also great to have Dakota Zickefoose back on the bench for the final dual. He is just as much a part of this as the rest of the guys, and I knew he didn’t want to miss it sitting in a hospital room,” Schneider said.
The North wrestlers celebrated Saturday night, but Monday it was back to work as they began preparing for the individual regionals this weekend at Midwest City. The top four wrestlers in each weight class will qualify for the state tournament at the OKC Fairgrounds.
“I know our guys are pumped to win dual state, but they are not finished. Their goal from the very beginning was to win dual state, regionals and the state tournament,” Schneider said.