Choctaw opened the Dual State Wrestling Tournament with a quarter final win over Ponca City, 56-10.
Meanwhile, Mustang proved they were a serious contender with a 34-29 win over 2017 Dual State Champion Sand Springs.
When the two Class 6A powers met in a semi-final dual one was looking for their second dual state title in three years, while the other was making the most of their first dual state appearance since 1998.
With an elusive strategy, Mustang prevented Choctaw’s key grapplers from gaining bonus points while the Broncos escaped with several close decisions. Several bouts were 1-point decisions for the Mustang squad.
However, Choctaw had enough at the top end of a heavily stacked roster to ride out the win.
Mustang proved formidable at the lower weights as the Broncos quickly jumped to a 14-0 lead.
Mustang’s Keegan Luton secured the 10-9 decision over Choctaw’s Caleb Williams to put the Broncos up 3-0. Then Tucker Owens added a tech fall for Mustang when he outscored Landon Peppers, 21-6.
Joe Lupton added three with a 6-1 decision over Andy Schlaepfer.
In another close decision, Cam Picklo escaped Choctaw’s Colt Newton with a 3-2 score.
Mustang jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but Choctaw was ready to unleash an onslaught in the heavier weights. Things shifted quickly as Mustang let Gabe Johnson pick up six points without opposition at 132, and then Connor Holman secured a tech fall at 138 making it a 14-11 dual.
Tate Picklo picked up six points with a win over Chandler Holman as Mustang extended the lead to 20-11.
Choctaw’s Jeff Speer couldn’t get any bonus points but took the 3-0 decision at 152 pounds.
Jaryn Curry got six with a fall over Joey Carter, and that tied the dual at 20-20. Zane Coleman followed with a pin on Brannigan Reyes to put Choctaw in the lead for the first time, 26-20.
Cooper Meadows fought back for Mustang by securing a 6-5 decision over Gary Dockery.
The dual was a 3-point contest with the Jackets holding a slight edge, 26-23.
Easton Rendleman added a 7-5 decision over Judson Rowland and Choctaw was up 29-23 moving into the 220-pound matchup. Choctaw’s Tony Opichka didn’t hesitate and stayed on the attack. He quickly secured a fall over Adam Denham, and that was all CHS needed.
The Jackets had secured their trip to the 6A Dual State Wrestling final when they extended the lead to 35-23.
Choctaw’s Caulin Poole then went to battle with Blake Russell at heavyweight, but he came up on the wrong side of a 4-2 score.
Mustang’s fans went wild celebrating the hard-fought heavyweight victory, but they were quickly reminded by Choctaw’s celebration that the dual was already done.
Choctaw won 35-26.
Choctaw head coach Benny Coleman was impressed with both Mustang’s coaching and wrestling as the Broncos made the most of their first dual state appearance in 20 years.
“It was an ugly win, but we’ll take it. There’s a lot of people that would like to be in the dual state finals. I think Mustang outworked us getting ready for this, and they made it a lot closer than it was supposed to be,” said Coleman. “They wrestled on the edges, pressured us and kept our kids from getting bonus points by wrestling a lot smarter than we did. They outwrestled us, outcoached us and basically did it all.”
The Yellowjackets went on to beat Broken Arrow for the 2018 Dual State Championship, while Mustang finished 18-3 overall in duals.
Regional wrestling is set for Feb. 16-17 and the Class 6A State Tournament is Feb. 23-24.
CHOCTAW 35, MUSTANG 26
106: Keegan Luton, Mustang, dec. Caleb Williams, 11-10; 113: Tucker Owens, Mustang, t.f. Landon Peppers, 21-6; 120: Joe Lupton, Mustang, dec. Andy Shlaepfer, 6-1; 126: Cam Picklo, Mustang, dec. Colt Newton, 3-2; 132: Gabe Johnson, Choctaw, win by forfeit; 138: Connor Holman, Choctaw, t.f. Tyler Reddick, 17-2; 145: Tate Picklo, Mustang, p. Chandler Holman, 3:16; 152: Jefferson Speer, Choctaw, dec. Jojo Sylvester, 3-0; 160: Travis Mackey, Choctaw, p. Jack Kitchingham, 3:00; 170: Zane Coleman, Choctaw, p. Brannigan Reyes, 0:31; 182: Cooper Meadows, Mustang, dec. Gary Dockery, 6-5; 195: Easton Pendleman, Choctaw, dec. Judson Rowland, 7-5; 220: Tony Opichka, Choctaw, p. Adam Denham, 1:53; 285: Blake Russell, Mustang, dec. Caulin Poole, 4-2.
Dual Photo Album: https://www.facebook.com/pg/ChoctawTimes/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1694588353960254