Edmond North saw only one individual wrestling regional champion this weekend, but the school and program will send an Edmond- and program-most 11 qualifying wrestlers to this upcoming weekend’s Class 6A wrestling state championship tournament.
The balanced finish helped North place third overall in the regional tournament held at Westmoore High School. They finished with 208.5 total points; Mustang won with 249.5; and Edmond Memorial finished fourth with 194.5.
“To be honest, we felt that 12 out of 14 had a really good chance to qualify. Eleven is a really good number though,” Edmond North head wrestling coach Andy Schneider said. “It ties for the most we’ve ever had qualify.”
Edmond North’s 160-pound grappler Braden Bowman was the lone-Husky winner this weekend. Bowman didn’t give a single point over to an opposing wrestling until the semifinals after he bested Yukon’s Austin Billy and Norman’s Aaryn Merrick 6-0 and 1-0 across the first and quarterfinal rounds. He’d give just two points out total in the entire bracket after beating PC North’s Tre Harley 3-1 in the semifinals before clinching the regional title win with a major, 9-1 win over Norman North’s Dylan Smith.
“Braden stays in great position and he’s in amazing shape,” Schneider said, outlining how Bowman gave away so few points throughout the weekend. “These two factors make it difficult for opponents to score many points on him.”
North did see another wrestle in a regional championship, though, with 120-pound Nate Becker using two, first-period pin-fall wins and a semifinal, 7-1 decision over Memorial’s Garrett Johnson to springboard himself into Saturday’s finals. He finished runner-up in the bracket after Mustang’s Tucker Owens (43-3) edged him on a 10-4 decision.
The Huskies did have five wrestlers win third-place matches this weekend, though. They got bronze regional finishes from Garrett McBride at 106 (fall, two decision wins); Josh Parks at 132 (four fall wins); Jaxon Randall at 152 (two falls, tech-fall, major decision wins); Trey Bowman at 182 (two decision, two fall wins); Gabe Mullaney at 195 (one fall, two decision wins; and Christian Cantu at 220 (one decision, three fall wins).
Austin Mason also qualified to represent Edmond North in this weekend’s state tournament after he finished fourth at 138-pounds. Mason won on a second-period fall in the opening round, and used a 7-5 decision over Choctaw’s Nathan Harjo to move into the semifinals. A loss there against Memorial’s and eventual regional champion Bam West saw Mason win by major in the consolation semifinals before he fell on a 7-0 decision to Southmoore’s Jake Wright in the third-place match Saturday.
Aiden Godbehere, 113, and Ethan Ooten, 170, also qualified for this weekend’s state tournament with a pair of fifth-place finishes at their respective regional weights.
Schneider was excited for all of his qualifiers, but he was quick to point out that both his 195- and 170-pound wrestlers out-performed their initial seedings during this weekend’s regional bouts.
“Ethan Ooten was our surprise qualifier,” Schneider said. “He had to win two matches over opponents he had lost to earlier in the year just to qualify. Gabe Mullaney also out-performed his fifth-seed, instead finishing third this weekend.”
The OSSAA’s state wrestling tournaments will be held this weekend at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, with preliminary rounds beginning Friday and the final, state-champion crowning rounds coming into effect late Saturday evening.