Mason vs Oplotnik

Edmond North's Austin Mason and Edmond Memorial's Jackson Oplotnik compete against each other in the 132 lb. weight class in the Three Dog Night wrestling dual hosted by Edmond Memorial on Tuesday night.

Edmond Memorial’s Peter Rolle shot in right as his match’s final buzzer sounded. Granted a takedown, it gave him a crucial 11-3 win. The victory was just enough for a major win that came as the third consecutive Memorial victory on the night, with the Bulldogs taking three of the first four weight pairings. 

It also gave them a 13-6 advantage. Just about every athlete on the mat didn’t exist the last time North hasn’t won the City Championship. On Tuesday, in the early weights, it felt like this could be the night they might get to witness it. 

But, North’s Nate Becker opened up the dual with a huge fall win over Matt Garcia. Finding a pin in the second period gave North six crucial, early points at a weight that — according to North head coach Andy Schneider — the Huskies weren’t even favored to win. 

“(After the first period) I was thinking ‘It’d be nice to eek out a (minor) win here,” Schneider said of Becker, after he won the first two minutes on a takedown. Then, with 30 seconds left in the second period, Becker got the fall. 

“That kind of set the tone for us,” Schneider said, mentioning that the most impactful match of the dual might have just been the very first. 

Memorial’s Kyle Knowles tried to offset the pressure. Winning 12-2 at 152-pounds gave the Bulldogs another four team points. Memorial wanted more, though. Knowles’ lead was the same, 10-point edge after two periods. The ‘Dogs had choice for the third, too, and they picked top — hoping for two sets of near fall points to push them into technical fall territory. 

It didn’t happen. North’s Jayden Villalobos was able to neutralize that plan, and — despite Knowles and Co.’s in-match complaints — no stalling points were awarded. 

Sandwiching Knowles’ win was two gritty matches at 145 and 160. North’s Josh Parks struggled with blood time in both of his matches on the night. The first left him looking like he was in the early stages of mummification after the North training staff taped the plugs in his nose. The second came in a fall win Tuesday that helped bring the dual against Memorial within a single point. 

That was a gut-check, and so was Charles Floyd’s win at 160. Floyd was up 8-4 after one, but he lost momentum in the second period. Memorial’s Cole Carroll thrice forced Floyd outside of the ring in that period. That earned him four points off penalties to Floyd, and it won Carroll the second 6-2. But Floyd grabbed a timely-takedown in the third, using the points to hold to a 13-11 minor win. 

After the match, Schneider said he was concerned that a recent weight cut may have impacted Floyd’s ability. 

“(Floyd) had been our 170-pounder for the first half the season,” the coach said. “We moved him down to 160. I could tell that weight cut — getting him down there — that hurt him. But, (the win) was a good way to get his hand raised.”

Schneider touched on Tuesday’s marquee 160-pound fight again, saying that Floyd’s opponent — Cole Carroll — might be someone to watch for in the upcoming years. 

“I tell you what, there was a freshman on the other side: Cole Carroll. He did a heck of a job wrestling the way he did. I’m proud of the way (Carroll) wrestled today, too.”

Memorial looked poised to upset Tuesday night. Coming off one of their best Geary Tournament performances this past weekend — a seventh-placed team finish that saw Bam West (runner-up), Peter Rolle (runner-up), Kyle Knowles (third), Matt Garcia (fifth) and Garrett Johnson (sixth) all place — the Bulldogs looked hungry. And, at the time fo Floyd’s win, Memorial held a 17-15 dual advantage at the pairing’s halfway point. 

But, two early falls from North’s Jake McCoy and Trey Bowman bookended three consecutive Memorial forfeits at 182, 195 and 220. Garrett McBride then won the 106-pound go 10-6, marking a 33-0 Huskies’ run. 

“The Bulldogs have a great program this year. So hats off to our guys for coming in here and having the performance they had today,” Schneider said. “I’m super proud of them.”

The win serves as Edmond North’s 18th consecutive City Championship. It’s also another point for the Huskies to hang their season hats on. Though they’ve battled adversity, underperformance and injuries throughout the season’s first semester — they’re still undefeated and ranked No. 4 in Class 6A dual standings. 

Despite that, the 18th might have been one of the toughest. Memorial, under second-year head coach Albert White, threw a solid, early punch, and Santa Fe even had stellar nights from a few wrestlers — namely Aiden Godbehere and Darrius Stewart —  to make Tuesday one of the most competitive Three Dog Nights in recent memory.