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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • Indians have All-American status within their grasp

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  • The Plainview wrestling team will build on its successful trip to the state tournament with four athletes headed to the 25th annual National High School Coaches Association National Wrestling Championship in Virginia Beach, Va.
    Senior Cameron Hanan, sophomores Zach Atencio and Dorian Fagan and freshman Garrett Willis will make the trip. 
    “They’re ready to go and decide how good they really are,” Plainview coach Rocky Atencio said.
    The weigh-ins are Thursday, and competition begins Friday. 
    The top eight finishers in each age group and weight class will earn All-American status.
    “If you finish as an All-American ,it opens a lot of doors for you,” Atencio said.
    Zach Atencio won the state championship at 113 pounds and is in a bracket with 13 other state champions from around the country. 
    “Zach knows there a lot of state champions in his bracket,” Atencio said. “I told him, ‘The difference between you and them is they’re not Oklahoma state champions.’ That carries a little clout. There are going to be some kids out there that are pretty good. But 70 percent of it is mental. If you believe you can do it, you can achieve it.”
    Hanan has interest from Oklahoma to wrestle in college and can improve his resume with a strong performance this weekend. 
    “Hanan is another guy that has all the God-given ability in the world,” Atencio said. “If he sucks it up and puts his heart and soul into it, I think he’ll go out and impress a lot of Division I coaches.”
    Fagan and Willis will test themselves against other elite wrestlers, and the added experience on the mat will benefit them as they move forward in their high school careers.
    “Willis is a freshman and as talented a kid as there is in the country, I don’t want to jinx him but I think you’ll see great things out of him in Virginia,” Atencio said. “Fagan, Willis and Zach have as much God-given ability as anybody in the country. It comes down to how hard do they want to work and how tough do they want to be when times get tough. We’re going to give them the opportunity to work out with the best kids in the state and the country.
    “We’ll travel to OU two or three times a week to work out with other kids. Fagan has the opportunity to be great.”
    Seeding for the bracket will be done following Thursday’s weigh-in. 
    Page 2 of 2 - Regardless of the seeding, Atencio said there won’t be an easy road to becoming an All-American.
    “As long as we get to wrestle, I don’t think it matters,” Atencio said. “When we get in the circle, like the NCAA’s this past weekend, you saw no-names go out and become NCAA champions. It all has to do with how hard you’re willing to push.
    “Obviously, if we have guys make All-American, it brings a lot of clout.”
    Web streaming of the matches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be available online at www.nhsca.com.

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