Special to The Sun
Edmond North closed out the regular season with a dominating 66-11 victory over the Choctaw Yellow Jackets this week. The win finished off a regular-season undefeated streak that has now lasted for four straight years.
Along with the win, the Huskies also clinched the No. 1 seed on the West side of the state for Dual State and their fourth straight Metro Conference championship. Being North’s final home match of the season, the team used the night to honor 12 seniors who have devoted countless hours of hard work throughout their wrestling careers. This was one of North’s largest groups of seniors in the history of the school.
Edmond North coach Andy Schneider said the highlight of the night was Garrett Jones’ victory. Garrett has been one of the team’s managers since his freshmen year. Along with being a manager, he also helps coach the guys, Schneider said.
“It’s not uncommon to hear ‘G-Money’ (his team nickname) yelling words of encouragement to the wrestlers from the bench,” the coach said. “Garrett has a health condition, so unfortunately he is not able to wrestle like the other guys on the team.”
During his time at North, the team has staged some exhibition matches at the end of practices against different teammates who served as opponents for Garrett.
“His wrestling technique has come a long way over the years, mainly due to Coach (Rick) Bollenbach. Bollenbach has developed a special relationship with ‘G’ and has helped him learn wrestling moves at the beginning of practice and has also stayed several times after practice to help Garrett refine his moves, his favorite being the dreaded ‘double flankers!’”
Although Garrett enjoys his exhibition matches, his true dream has always been to wrestle in an actual match against another team, Schneider said. At the beginning of his junior year, Bollenbach promised Garrett that he would get him a match on senior night. That promise lit up Garrett and from that day on, that’s all he could think about, coaches said.
“I remember on the first day of school this year, the very first thing Garrett told me was how excited he was to get to wrestle on senior night,” Schneider said.
Garrett’s dream came true on Thursday, Jan. 31. In front of a packed home crowd, Garrett was announced right along with the rest of the varsity lineup. He ran out in the darkened gym and met his Choctaw opponent under the glaring mat light. Garrett scored the first takedown and led 8-2 after the first period. He built up that lead during the second period and in the third period he put his opponent in the “double flankers” to secure the pin and the win.
Garrett exploded into the air in elation with both hands shooting to the sky. The smile on Garrett’s face went from ear-to-ear as the referee raised his hand in victory. He immediately ran to the cheerleaders and gave them all a high-five and then returned to his team bench where his coaches and teammates greeted him with hugs and tears of joy. The crowd gave a standing ovation as an unforgettable high school memory was made that night in the middle of a wrestling mat in the Siberian Gym.
A video of Garret’s match is on Youtube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=-P8oPx6xtKs&feature=youtu.be.
Other seniors who were honored included Jon Scruggs, Zach Franklin, Dakota Zickefoose, Houston Knight, Justice Minter, Josh Breece, Jordan Armstrong, Drew Alexander, Matt Durham, Bilal Siddiqui and Ethan Strange.
The North grapplers will compete in Dual State hosted by Claremore today in hopes of winning the first wrestling state championship in school history.