OKLAHOMA CITY – Walking into the Jim Norick Arena on the last weekend of February brings a sight of wrestling mats covering the arena floor.
Mustang wrestling entered the arena with 10 individuals Friday looking for a state title and walked away Saturday with an historic finish.
“I knew it would be like this. Everyone is like, ‘Wow, Mustang came out of nowhere.’ Mustang has been coming up for a long time. It started obviously at the little league and it’s been a lot of the same core kids that were winning back then that are continuing to grow,” said coach Brian Picklo.
The Broncos finished the weekend with four state champions and one state placer.
Mustang’s Tucker Owens, 113; John Wiley, 126; Tate Picklo, 160; and Judson Rowland, 220; were individual champions, while Cameron Picklo, 138, finished his high school career with a third-place finish.
Cameron Picklo advanced to the semifinals before falling to eventual state champion Spencer Schickram of Ponca City by fall.
Cameron won back-to-back matches in the consolation bracket for the third-place finish.
Mustang hadn’t had a state champion since 2005, but that all changed Saturday.
The Broncos made history; Mustang had never had more than two champions in the same year.
Owens got the night started with a 9-0 major decision over Jackson Cockrell of Broken Arrow to end the season with a 32-1 record and his first state championship.
At 126 pounds, Wiley matched up with defending state champion Carter Young, and Wiley controlled the match on his way to a 5-1 win over Young.
Wiley made history personally as the first wrestler to become a state champion after entering the tournament through the wrestle-in match.
Tate Picklo entered the weekend undefeated and left undefeated by defeating Rene Martinez of Putnam City with a first period pin.
Both Tate and Owens were making their second straight championship after both lost last season in the title match.
At 195 pounds, Rowland went through the No. 1 wrestler in the state in the semifinals, Gavin Potter of Broken Arrow, and then picked up a last second thrilling victory over No. 2 Carson Savage in the championship.
With 17-seconds remaining Rowland trailed Savage 10-9 and for the next 16 seconds Rowland chased Savage around the mat and received two points as the referee called time.
The thrilling victory finished the Broncos’ 4-for-4 night in the championship.
“It was really fantastic. For the kids to finish the way they did was remarkable. I had coaches from 4A, 5A and 6A at the state tournament talking about, ‘Wow, you guys did such an amazing job in the finals.’ ‘Great job in the finals.’ And with just one senior in the lineup, we are going to be even better next year,” Brian Picklo said.
Shelton Chastain, 106; Joey Sylvester, 152; and Jack Kitchingham, 220; were eliminated after two matches in the tournament, while Keegan Luton, 132, was eliminated in the consolation semifinals.
The Broncos finished with a second-place team finish, only behind Broken Arrow with a total of 96 points.
“Success breeds success. We have a new bar. The bar has been set really high,” Brian Picklo said. “We had four state champs this year, our goal isn’t to have three next year. We want to have five or six. The bar has been set and now it’s our job to reach that bar and to keep climbing.”
The second-place finish was the best finish Mustang has had since the Broncos won state in 1988 with zero individual champions.