Led by junior Keegan Luton’s three victories, Mustang’s wrestling team vanquished three opponents last Thurs-day in the District 2 Duals.
No. 2-ranked Mustang (then 9-1) routed No. 9 Southmoore, 69-6, in the last of its three duals at the Mustang High School Event Center.
The Broncos thus became one of eight Class 6A teams to qualify for Dual State, which will be held Feb. 14-15 in Enid.
Showdowns are expected to loom in Enid with Broken Arrow and Choctaw, the respective No. 1 and No. 3-ranked teams in 6A.
Luton, the Broncos’ 138-pounder, had perhaps the day’s most exciting match, decisioning Southmoore junior Jacob Wright, 5-3, in overtime.
Luton led 3-2 late in the third period, but Wright escaped to force the 60-second extra period. Luton’s takedown with 33 seconds left settled the outcome.
The Broncos claimed triumphs in 12 of 14 matches against the SaberCats (5-3), including nine straight pins — but none was more tense and scintillating than Luton’s victory.
“It was definitely a good win for Luton,” Mustang coach Brian Picklo said. “(Wright) is one of their top wrestlers. Keegan just wanted it more.”
Luton improved his record to 13-5 and evened his career mark against Wright to 2-2.
“We’ve had some battles over the years,” Luton said. “He used to battle me back in little league. He’s a great competitor and always tough.”
Luton’s other wins in the district duals were a 13-2 major decision of Midwest City’s Ethan Hayden and an 18-3 technical fall over Putnam City North’s Brendon Butts.
After a slow start to the season in which left elbow tendinitis prevented Luton from competing in two preseason tournaments, he said he is faring better.
Luton’s main practice partner, state champion John Wiley, is recovering from December surgery on an infected bursa sac behind his knee.
Besides Wiley and coach Picklo, nobody will be happier to see the 145-pound junior’s return to health than Luton.
“He’s my go-to partner,” Luton said. “I always get better wrestling John.”
Other Broncos could follow Luton’s example for intensity.
“He’s a grinder,” the coach said of Luton. “As soon as the match starts, he puts his foot on the gas. He’s relentess in wearing kids down.”
Said Luton, “I always try to break (opponents) with my pace. It’s about working hard in practice every day trying to get myself so tired that I can’t pick myself up.”
Luton’s teammates have noticed his efforts. Jack Kitchingham said: “He’s awesome, one of the hardest workers in the (wrestling) room.”
Picklo said he has coached Luton in wrestling and judo since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. “I’ve seen him grow up from a little kid into a stud athlete.”
Last year, Luton compiled a 34-13 record and qualified for state but failed to place. As a freshman, he placed fourth at state.
Among the Broncos who pinned South-moore foes were juniors Tate Picklo (195) and Tucker Owens (120), who won their 101st and 100th career matches, respectively.
Other Broncos winning by falls were Brannigan Reyes (182), Kitchingham (220), Judson Rowland (285), Haedon London (106), Shelton Chastain (113), Kidd Johnson (126) and Weldon Bryan (132). Colt Fischer (152) and Jojo Sylvester (170) received forfeits.
The dual started at 160 pounds after a draw and MHS’ Mark Boyd was pinned by Brock Vasquez.
The Broncos’ other loss was by Claude Moates (145), who was decisioned 13-6 by Roark Simpson.
MHS 66, MWC 9
In the first dual, Mustang dominated the Bombers (1-6) with pins by Moates, Boyd (170), Rowland (220) and Bryson Landers (120) plus three forfeits and major decisions by Chastain, Luton and Fischer.
MHS had two defeats: Steven Bussell lost 1-0 to Mercuise Hood at 285 and Johnson was pinned by Jazen Brown at 126.
The dual began at 145.
MHS 79, PC North 0
In the second dual, the Broncos routed Putnam North (3-6) with two forfeits and eight falls. The pins were by Fischer (160), Boyd (170), Kitchingham (195), Judson Rowland (220), Christian Rowland (285), London (106), Owens (120) and Bryan (132).
MHS’ other victories were major decisions by Gunner McBride (113) and Johnson (126) as well as Luton’s technical fall.
Big match upcoming
Mustang will host Class 4A’s top-ranked team, Tuttle, at 7 p.m. Thursday. It’s the Broncos’ season-ending home dual.
Class 4A Tuttle (9-3) has won 11 straight state championships and is ranked No. 26 in InterMat’s Fab 50 national poll.
Broken Arrow, at No. 25, is Oklahoma’s top-rated team in the national poll.
Broken Arrow defeated Tuttle, 31-25, at home Jan. 18.
Mustang is ranked No. 48 in InterMat’s national rankings.