It had been 12 years since the Mustang Broncos had a champion at the oldest wrestling tournament in the United States, Geary Invitational.
The Geary Invitational held its 75th consecutive tournament over the weekend at Geary High School.
Among the teams that attended the tournament were Blair Academy, New Jersey, ranked No. 1; Tuttle, ranked No. 11; and Broken Arrow, ranked No. 18 nationally by Flowrestling.
Mustang finished behind those three teams in fourth place with a total of 84 points and edging out Choctaw, which finished with 83.5 points in fifth place.
“It’s the trajectory that we have aspired to take. We want to be one of the best teams in the country, and I don’t think I will be satisfied until we are on those national ranking boards,” said coach Brian Picklo. “It’s a great honor to be competing up there, but to compete is one thing, and the next step is to win. So, we can hang with those kids and now we just need to beat those kids.”
Six individuals placed for the Broncos, with Tate Picklo bringing home the gold at 170 pounds. Picklo defeated Dom Mata of Blair, who is ranked eighth nationally in the semifinals on a last second takedown before winning the championship in double overtime over Eric TwoLance of Arlington Martin, Texas.
“Tate comes up with the last-second takedown and shows everybody that you wrestle all of the way to the whistle. There wasn’t a second to spare, and the lesson there is sometimes you have to use every second you have on that clock to get the win,” said Brian Picklo.
Tucker Owens stepped on the mat for the first time this season at Geary and walked away with a second-place finish after losing 1-0 to the nations No. 2 ranked, Anthony Ferrari of Blair in the championship.
“Tucker has only had two weeks of practice, coming off of a vertebrae injury. So, he has really only had two strong weeks of wrestling to get him ready for that,” said Brian. “It was really the week of the tournament that I said, ‘alright you have been wrestling really good, look good, if you want to wrestle at Geary, I will enter you,’” said Brian. “He hadn’t been able to go live and hard. He was on the fence whether he was going to wrestle, and then goes out and makes it to the finals and takes the NO. 3 kid in the country to a 1-0 match. I think given another couple of weeks he could push the pace a little more and come away with the win.”
At 126-pounds, Mustang’s John Wiley took third with a win over Logan Farrell of Tuttle, 10-5.
Cameron Picklo took third at 138-pounds with a 6-4 win over Blake Gonzalez of Broken Arrow. Picklo’s only loss on the weekend came to Travis Mastrogiovanni of Blair in the semifinals, 11-6.
“Cam didn’t cash it in or throw in the towel, and just kept working. He started digging out of that hole and gets the last two takedowns of the match. That really changed the temperature in the gym,” said Brian.
Judson Rowland took fourth in the 195-pound weight class with a 7-5 heartbreaking loss to Tuttle’s Carson Berryhill. Rowland had defeated Berryhill the day before in the quarterfinals before falling to Matthew Santos of Lawton MacArthur.
After losing in the quarterfinals, Mustang’s Shelton Chastain battled through the loser’s bracket and finished in fifth place at 106-pounds.
Keegan Luton made the semifinals before falling to Colt Newton of Choctaw and then Reece Witcraft, No. 1 at 126-pounds, in the consolation semifinals. Luton finished in fifth place with a 6-2 overtime victory over Tabor McClure in arguably the toughest bracket on the weekend, 132-pounds.
Over the weekend the Broncos showed that they belong on the same mat as some of the best competition in the nation.
“It showed these guys that they aren’t some super human kids, even though they are hand-picked throughout the country, and we are just some homegrown Okies, we can hang and beat those guys,” said Brian.
Mustang will compete at the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference tournament on Friday at Southmoore High School.