Madill wrestlers Zane Howell and Brad Avery jumped rope after practice Tuesday in the Ardmore practice facility for 15 minutes straight.


Madill wrestlers Zane Howell and Brad Avery jumped rope after practice Tuesday in the Ardmore practice facility for 15 minutes straight.

A lot of thinking to do in that much time. But about what?

“Mainly to know how to go as long as we can in a match if we have to,” Howell said. “Usually we just think about how hard we have to train to become state champions and how to get the job done.”

No. 2-ranked Avery got his first taste of extra time on the mat in his high school career last Saturday at the Class 4A Clinton regional. He beat Ethan Simpson of Cushing 9-8 in overtime for the championship.

“I was really tired, but I outweighed him by 10 pounds, so he was more tired than I was,” Avery said. “When he shot in, I just got my hips back and used my weight to score.”

That move has given Madill two chances to end a six-year drought of state champions. The school has produced 15 individual titles, the last by three-peater Brent Parkey at 171 pounds in 2003, according to StillwaterWrestling.com. But for No. 3 Howell and Avery, this is not their first rodeo on the state level.

“They’ve been there before,” Madill coach Baker McHatton said. “They know what it takes.”

Howell (25-2) was third in the state last year, and Avery (25-4) did not place. But their consistency on the mat this year could produce better results.

“Anything less than me and Zane being in the finals would be a letdown,” Avery said.

Howell lost his semifinal last year to eventual champion Damien Hopper of Grove by one point. This year, he avenged one of his losses in the regional final, beating McLoud’s Shawn Peeples 9-0. Peeples beat Howell in the Mid-Western Conference tournament in Ardmore last month.

“Mainly I wanted to beat him because he’s a senior and I wanted to do it before he graduated,” Howell said.

Well, that’s accomplished. Now, the focus is joining the state champions’ club at Madill.

“That’s their job now, to be in shape to win matches in third period and in overtime,” McHatton said, when asked what will he do to help Howell and Avery. “It’s their job now to go do what they’re supposed to do.”

But he sure had them jump-roping Tuesday.

“They’ve been the leaders of the team all year. … I couldn’t ask for two better kids to have,” McHatton said.

I.C. Murrell,
221-6527
ic.murrell@ardmoreite.com