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Picklo continues to thrive for Mustang wrestling

Mustang junior Tate Picklo celebrates after getting a win in a recent match. Picklo has not lost a match in more than a year and is ranked No. 10 nationally. Photo / Ron Lane

Pound for pound, there may not be a better high school wrestler in Oklahoma than Mustang High School’s Tate Picklo.
And the scary thing, if you are an opponent, is that Picklo keeps evolving and perfecting his skills.
Picklo is undefeated this season (29-0), having most recently won the title at the conference tournament and defeated his Edmond North opponent Tuesday.
Last season, Picklo won the Class 6A state championship with a 46-0 record at 160 pounds.
His freshman campaign, he was 33-3 and state runner-up at 145.
The Bronco junior, competing at 182 pounds, is ranked No. 10 in the country in the InterMat poll and his team is rated No. 49.
“Being ranked in the country is a big deal,” said Picklo, who made a verbal commitment Oct. 20 to wrestle for the University of Oklahoma during the 2021-2022 season.
Picklo’s dad, Mustang coach Brian Picklo, was a two-time All-American wrestler at Michigan State and is a former OU assistant (1997-2000).
Tate’s brother, Cam Picklo, is a freshman wrestler at Division I Cornell University.
Brian Picklo said often he doesn’t have to coach Tate when he takes the mat and “just sits back and enjoys the show.
“I legitimately have no idea of what he is going to do in a match, and I don’t think he does either,” coach Picklo said. “Because he has such a wide range of technical skill, he is very hard to beat.
“How do you beat a guy that does something different every match and constantly adds new weapons to his arsenal? If he continues to evolve the way he is now, he will be unbelievably hard to wrestle.”
Since age six, Tate has wrestled for his dad.
He can tap that immense knowledge as well as experience from various national meets he’s been in.
“From a purely technical aspect, Tate is so good,” coach Picklo said, “because he is able to use techniques from a wealth of experiences he has had from judo, jujitsu, freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. He has so much at his disposal.
“He has gotten to experience the world, experience high-level competition. He has already known exhilarating wins and humiliating defeats. His wrestling mentality is far above that of a 16 year old. Mentally, he is more on track with where I was in college.”
Besides his natural ability, Tate Picklo has remarkable discipline, body control and self-awareness, his dad explained, and that drives him to perfection.
“He has a love for wrestling and is passionate about his craft. He has a bit of an obsession with learning,” coach Picklo said. “He is constantly watching videos on techniques and trying out new things.
“He often experiments with moves to see if what he thinks will work will actually be applicable in real-life match situations. He has an incredible work ethic.”
Tate Picklo now thrives in the spotlight, something he recalls failing to do two years ago in freestyle nationals at 152 pounds in Fargo, North Dakota.
“I had the ranking and let the pressure and spotlight get to me,” he admitted. “He loves the spotlight,” coach Picklo said. “That is something that many kids shy away from … they freeze in the spotlight. Not Tate; he shines. He loves to be center stage with all eyes on him. That is pretty rare as well. It has been a very long time since I saw pressure get to Tate. He lives for the big
Tate Picklo said he is more of a neutral wrestler; he likes to compete on his feet rather than ride foes from the top and control the match.
“I’m confident of my shots,” Tate Picklo said. “I like to let my opponent back up and then take them down again to score more. I get more technical falls, which is the mercy rule of wrestling.”
Even though he is so dominant, Tate Picklo has definite goals for improving this season.
“We want more offense. Tate is unbelievably hard to take down,” coach Picklo said. “It’s hard to score on him in any position.
His defense and counter offense are on another level. We want to see him being more offensive and initiate more attacks.
“I’d like to see him be more of a ‘rider.’ Tate does not spend a lot of time in the top position after he has taken an opponent down. He is a takedown artist and gets a lot of enjoyment out of being able to score from his feet at will.
“He will need to be a better top wrestler in college, so we are focusing on improving that before he gets to the next level.”
Tate Picklo does things far beyond the realm of even the best high school wrestlers.
“He has a natural ability to ‘feel’ wrestling,” coach Picklo said. “He is not always doing ‘moves,’ he adjusts his movements in what he feels. That is a very rare and high level of wrestling.”

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