Ardmore, Plainview wrestling determined to finish season
With regionals and the state tournament right around the corner, the Ardmore and Plainview high school wrestling teams are locked in and ready to make a run.
That is expected, but the squads are also focused on making sure a quarantine doesn’t end the season prematurely.
“We’re being very cautious about what we’re doing right now,” said Indians head coach Keilan Torres. “We’re making sure we do the right stuff and keeping everybody healthy. And making sure nothing pops up to where our guys can’t show up for regionals and state. We’re going to do the right things, keep watching and make sure we stay on top of it.”
It’s even more important for Plainview as one of the Class 3A Regionals will be at home on Feb. 12-13. The Indians will find out who they’ll host on Tuesday, Feb. 2 when regional assignments are released, while the Tigers are also waiting to see if they’ll travel to Duncan or Tahlequah on the same days for a Class 5A Regional.
But with plenty of time before then, the two squads battled Thursday in a dual that the Indians won.
Plainview’s Lane Johnson was victorious with a pin at 195 pounds with 57 seconds remaining in the first round. The junior knew the Indians were in command, but he said he was focused on getting better.
And that’s important during an uncertain year that’s been filled with a number of ups and downs.
“It’s been weird,” Johnson said. “A few months ago, I didn’t even think we were going to have a season, honestly. It’s such a close-contact sport, but we did. I’ve made the most out of it and I want to wrestle as much as I can.”
That’s been easier for Plainview than it has for Ardmore, as the Tigers just returned from quarantine earlier in the week and it showed on the mat.
“We’re just going to keep trying to put it together until regionals, try to keep the wheels on the track and hope we don’t get quarantined again,” said Ardmore head coach Devin Martinez. “We’ve had three practices in the last two weeks because of quarantine.”
It hasn’t been easy for the Tigers, but they know the setbacks are just part of a young program’s growing pains.
“Right now, we’re building our character and sometimes that involves learning how to lose,” Martinez said. “I have to learn how to lose, too. It’s not easy to lose for a coach either. I hate losing, but there is such a thing as a good loss. As long as we’re learning and growing. We did some good stuff out there. Most of these guys are first- or second-year wrestlers.”
And Martinez knows Ardmore’s wrestlers can improve with more time on the mat, especially since he’s seen it firsthand with some of the Indians.
“All of those Plainview guys were in junior high when I started coaching at Plainview,” Martinez said. “That was years ago and now they’re in high school. It’s fun to see them succeed because it’s all about that for me. Watching them and us wrestle, I like to see all of them happy. I wish it wasn’t at our expense, but Lane Johnson, Jeston Gilliam, Reece Bennett, Tyler Owens and all those guys are really close to me. I’m happy for them, excited to see what they can do.”
Beau Bearden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ArdmoreitePreps.