Oklahoma Christian School 170-pound wrestler John Roberts, seen here wrestling in the program’s first home dual in January, qualified for the Class 3A wrestling state tournament this weekend after finishing fourth in the west regional tournament.

Oklahoma Christian School’s first individual state wrestling qualifier will be a freshman that head coach Colby Robinson hopes can be a catalyst for the program’s success for many years to come.

John Roberts, 170-pounder for the Saints, wrestled to a 3-2 record this weekend in the Class 3A West regionals. Using two decision wins over Berryhill’s Tyler Stevens, and a major, 11-2 win over Little Axe’s Zack Cox, the freshman Roberts will be the first Saint to compete at an OSSAA wrestling state tournament.

That’ll come this weekend at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds.

“John did an exceptional job this weekend,” Robinson said of his grappler. “He’s grown so much this year.”

Roberts’ grit was tested early this weekend. Wrestling against Berryhill’s Stevens — who he’d already drawn once at the Cushing Tournament — in the regional tournament opening round saw the pair of wrestlers lurching in a scoreless tie late in the third period. Roberts on top scored, though, grabbing a pair of quick back points with just 15 seconds left in the third to take the match 2-0.

Roberts picked up a major decision win over Cox in the ensuing quarterfinals, but he’d drop his first match of the tournament in the semifinals — meaning he’d face Stevens, again.

Now in the consolation semifinals, Roberts won 5-2 over the 29-win Stevens. In fact, Berryhill’s 170-pounder only had 12 losses this season. Twenty-five percent of them were handed from OCS’s Roberts.

“It’s always difficult to have a wrestler face the same guy three times, and Stevens is a tough opponent who stayed in good position each time. He’s really a difficult foe for us,” Robinson said Monday. “First match really came down to the grittiness of John’s wrestling. We won 2-0, then had to come back and wrestle him again to even place.

“John really kind of prevailed with three pretty good wins.”

Roberts fell in the third-place match to Newkirk’s Ryan Locke (37-7), but the fourth-place regional finish will see him wrestle this weekend in the Class 3A wrestling state tournament.

Robinson, who says Roberts is already a leader in the program, is looking forward to this weekend’s experience influencing his young leader.

“You’re always looking for development of a wrestler, while developing other leaders,” Robinson said. “He’s been the catalyst of our program and it’s been awesome to see. He’s a freshman wrestling juniors and seniors; He’s really taken this program underneath his wing.”


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