Deer Creek wrestler Cade Draper

DREW HARMON | The Edmond Sun Deer Creek wrestler Cade Draper is Class 4A state champion at 152 pounds.

For many high school wrestlers a bronze medal from the state wrestling meet might have been a symbol of joy. But for Deer Creek junior Cade Draper, that medal was a source of inspiration. He didn’t have room for another bronze, his heart was set on gold in 2008.

“He just wasn’t wanting another third place medal, that was driving him this year,” Deer Creek coach Andy Howington said. “Coming up short last year, I think that ate on him all year long, he didn’t want to stand for anything but being number one.”

After a rigorous offseason, Draper (34-3) returned to action this season ready to go. He was easily one of the most consistent wrestlers in the state, having lost just three matches all year.

Draper showed his dominance in duels and tournament action. The junior won the Deer Creek Tournament and the Chickasha Tournament, and placed second at Carl Albert and Cushing.

And just as the great athletes do, Draper stepped it up when it mattered most. He elevated his game at regionals, earning a first place finish. Then at the state meet, Draper advanced to the finals after a pair of victories over Harrah’s Jordan Queen and Lawton MacArthur’s T.J. Traylor.

In the finals he locked horns with Bixby’s Garrick Bowles, before winning with a last-second reversal in the third overtime period.

But don’t count on the Antlers’ standout to take it easy his senior year.

“It just makes you work that much harder, just coming to the state tournament and being in this setting,” Draper said after his state championship victory. “And to make it back to the state championship, I’m going to have to make it twice as hard.”

All-Edmond First Team

Sam Eccles Edmond North - 103

Eccles was easily one of the top wrestlers in his weight class, despite missing about a month with a broken thumb. The sophomore rebounded from the injury to finish the year 19-7 an qualify for state.

Austin Schafer Edmond North - 112

Schafer helped the Huskies to a surprising finish in 2008. He finished the season 14-8, and posted wins at the first annual Three Dog Night meet.

Bryan Preston Deer Creek - 119

Preston was a state qualifier, and undoubtedly one of the toughest wrestlers on the team. Preston battled through numerous injuries and weight classes to finish the year 27-7.

Josh Durham Edmond North - 125

Durham finished the year with an impressive 29-13 record, including a pair of wins against Edmond rivals at Three Dog Night.

Matt Muhlinghause Edmond North - 130

The Huskies sophomore found a spot in the startling lineup and finished the year with a 12-16 mark.

Weston Branham Edmond Santa Fe - 135

Branham was one of the several talented seniors on the emerging Santa Fe squad. He battled injuries to earn a spot at the state meet, and finished the year with a record of 28-13 and 10 falls.

Mark Blasquez Edmond Memorial - 140

The junior provided leadership for the young Memorial squad and overcame a slow start, by nearly qualifying for state. Blasquez (11-12) won the Northwest Class Metro Tournament and took fifth at regionals.

Heath Boyd Deer Creek - 145

Boyd was one of the Antlers’ most dependable wrestlers this season. He finished the year 25-10 and earned his second trip to the state tournament, where he placed fourth.

Cade Draper Deer Creek - 152

The Antlers junior was the area’s most dominant wrestler this season. Draper capped an impressive season by winning the Class 4A state championship over Bixby’s Garrick Bowles.

Casey Edgeman Deer Creek - 160

Edgeman enjoyed a strong junior campaign, placing fifth at regionals. He finished the year 24-10, including a second-place finish at the Deer Creek Tournament.

Will Stokes Edmond Santa Fe - 171

The Wolves senior made a incredible turnaround in the second half of the season to earn a trip to the state meet. He finished with a 31-15 mark, including 10 pins, and a third place finish at the Chickasha Tournament.

Ryan Hanson Edmond North - 189

Hanson stepped up his offseason workouts last year, and it paid off. The junior was one of the team’s top wrestlers, who finished with a 22-7 record and a spot at the state tournament.

Aaron Lassater Edmond Santa Fe - 215

Lassater was the heart of soul of the Wolves squad this season. He earned his second straight trip to the state meet with a record of 36-12, and a team-leading 24 falls.

Brit Morris Edmond North - 275

The Huskies heavyweight stepped into the starting role this year and did not disappoint. Morris finished second at regionals and qualified for state with a 21-6 record.

Second team

Jarod Armstrong - Edmond North

Tre Doakes - Edmond Santa Fe

Zach Dunlop - Deer Creek

Jantz Haan - Deer Creek

Seth Hebert - Edmond Santa Fe

Isaac Henry - Edmond Santa Fe

Landon Jones - Edmond Memorial

Caleb King - Edmond Memorial

Jordan McGuire - Edmond North

Hunter Muskrat - Deer Creek

Brooks Rose - Deer Creek

Virgil Walker - Edmond North

Sean West - Edmond Memorial

Derrick Williams - Edmond Santa Fe

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