Area wrestlers place at a state tournament
By David Wolman
For The Ardmoreite
OKLAHOMA CITY – Kolbe Madron knew his calm demeanor would give him the edge.
The Sulphur junior wrestled Newkirk’s Dayton Cary on Saturday in a rematch of their Class 3A regional tournament 138-pound title match, which Madron won, and when it came time for Madron to gain the advantage in the third-place match of the state tournament, he let his patience do the talking.
Madron methodically kept pace with Cary for the first three minutes then worked a takedown in the second period, and that was all that he needed to not only take control of the match but also earn a state medal for the second consecutive season, for a 7-1 decision inside Jim Norick Arena.
“I knew that he gets out of his head, out of his game, so I was pretty much just trying to wear him down, get him upset, and then he’s not wrestling his match anymore,” Madron said. “That’s when I started to take over.”
This win came less than a day after he told himself not to dwell on a 13-2 loss by major decision to Vinita’s Darius Morgan in Friday’s semifinals.
“It happens,” Madron said. “You’re wrestling some of the best guys in the state. It’s just a coin toss every time you’re out here. I got caught early and he put me on my back. I was just playing catch up the whole time. It was definitely hard. I was pretty upset Friday night, but I just woke up, was a new day. I just knew that I had to take over.”
Madron’s third-place finish punctuated a strong two weeks on the mat in which he won a regional title out of the west regional and finished the season with 40 wins, setting up to what he hopes is an appearance in the state championship match as a senior. He placed fourth in the state as a sophomore.
“I do everything I can every year, the ultimate goal,” he said. “I just really picked it up this year, and I feel like I’ve matured. I’ve stayed calm in these high-pressure matches, and it’s helped.”
Sulphur got a second state medalist with sophomore Gage Graham, who earned his first trip to the podium with a fourth-place finish at 106 pounds. This comes one year after he missed out on earning a medal by one match. He earned his state placement with a third-period pin of Salina’s Gaige Stock in the consolation semifinals. Perry’s Angel Tiscanreno defeated Graham by a 7-1 decision in the third-place match.
Graham credited hard work in the offseason for his strong showing this weekend.
“I started training in the summer and wrestled more at tournaments in the summer, some freestyle” he said. “It seemed to work a little better.”
Madron says the sky is the limit for Graham.
“Phenomenal,” Madron said of Graham. “That guy is going to win it, for sure. He’s just a super athlete. He gets in there and works just as hard as all of the upper classmen. He’s going to do great things, for sure.”
John Farrell scored four team points for the Bulldogs after he finished with a 1-2 record, which included a first-period pin of Pawnee’s Chuck Long in the opening round of the heavyweight bracket. He concluded the 2019-20 season with 33 wins.
Fellow Bulldogs Konner Lunsford (28-15) and Aspen Jolly (25-13) lost in the first round of state with losses by a 7-1 decision and pin in the 145 and 120-pound brackets, respectively.
Plainview’s Bennett, Gilliam represent Indians in OKC
Sophomore Jeston Gilliam nearly earned his first medal in the high school state tournament as he won two of his four matches in the 3A division 195-pound weight class in his second state appearance in as many seasons. He picked up his 30th win of the 2019-20 campaign with a 6-2 decision over Davenport’s Kyle Hobill in the consolation quarterfinals. Gilliam fought hard in the semifinals but his goal of earning a state medal was cut short after he was pinned by Bridge Creek’s Devon Baez.
Reece Bennett, also a sophomore, struggled through a tough bracket at 120 pounds. He entered state with 28 wins and was the regional tournament runner-up in his weight class, but in Oklahoma City, he faced two opponents who had combined for 79 wins. He was pinned by Vinita’s Alex Prince in the quarterfinals and by Jay’s Dustin Duran in the consolation first round.
Madill’s Tweety, Venable wrap up high school careers at state
Senior John Venable wrestled in a Wildcat uniform for the final time Saturday when he finished the season at 17-6 after winning one of three matches on the state’s biggest stage. He led Weatherford’s Mike Hixson 3-2 in the 4A 182-pound consolation semifinals after recording an escape but Hixson answered with a takedown with less than one minute remaining in the second period and went on to win the match by a 7-3 decision.
Tweety gave it his all in Oklahoma City but was on the short end of a heartbreaking 3-2 decision to Wagoner’s Chochee Watson in the first round of the 195-pound class division. The loss marked the end of a solid senior season for Tweety who finished with a record of 16-8 and was a state qualifier out of the west regional.