Mustang High School’s wrestling team put on a powerful display over the weekend on its way to winning the Class 6A West Regional at Westmoore High School.
However, coach Brian Picklo thinks Mustang, which amassed 26 pins, can perform even better at this weekend’s state tournament.
“We played it safe. We didn’t wrestle near as aggressively as we can,” Picklo said, noting he felt his team was tight, yet can score even more points. “The past two years, we’ve done a good job letting it fly at state.”
No. 2-ranked Mustang captured five individual regional titles — Shelton Chastain (106 pounds), Tucker Owens (120), Tate Picklo (182), Jack Kitchingham (195) and Judson Rowland (220) — while piling up 249.5 points to outdistance No. 3 Choctaw (235.5) in the 16-team tournament.
The Broncos qualified 10 wrestlers for the state tournament, which is Friday and Saturday at State Fairgrounds Arena in Oklahoma City.
Classes 3A through 6A will compete on eight mats with Friday’s wrestle-in bouts beginning at 9:30 a.m., first-round consolations starting at 4:30 p.m. followed by semifinals at 7:45 p.m.
On Saturday, consolation semifinal matches begin at 10:30 a.m. and consolation finals at 12:45 p.m. Finals open at 6 p.m.
MHS’ Wiley suffers
Conspicuously missing from the Broncos’ parade of title winners was one of its four returning state champs, 145-pounder John Wiley.
He lost a controversial 5-4 decision to Edmond Memorial’s Jackson Oplotnik when his reversal at the buzzer was denied.
It was the first defeat this season for Wiley (12-1), who had beaten Oplotnik earlier this season.
Picklo said the circumstances were a “perfect storm” to help Oplotnik (29-4) upset Wiley but “I don’t expect lightning to strike twice” at state.
Picklo said of Oplotnik, “This puts a target on that guy’s back. It’s really hard to beat a good guy twice.”
Wiley failed to win a regional title a year ago, but indicated he again will be highly motivated at state, especially if he faces Oplotnik: “That’s probably the worst thing he could’ve done.”
Before his finals loss, Wiley pinned three opponents.
Besides Wiley, Mustang’s Keegan Luton (138) and Christian Rowland (heavyweight) placed second. Teammates Jaston Jackson (126) and Jojo Sylvester (170) placed fourth.
Luton (26-9) won by a technical fall, fall and decision before dropping a 5-2 decision in the finals to Edmond Memorial’s Bam West (32-4).
Christian Rowland (31-6) won by falls in his first three matches prior to being hit in the nose and slowed by “blood time” in a 3-1 finals loss to Choctaw’s Marquonn Journey (42-2).
Picklo ignites “pin-fest”
Tate Picklo (44-0) spearheaded the Broncos’ onslaught of pinning 26 opponents in the regional.
Following his opening bye, Picklo pinned three foes and had the least match time of anybody in MHS’ lineup.
“I knew I’d be able to get some pins,” Picklo said. “We kind of made a bet with our team as an incentive to get more bonus points with Choctaw here. I tried to get my pins as fast as possible.”
Picklo won his falls in 11 and 25 seconds before pinning Norman North’s Austin Long at 2:46 of the finals.
Picklo, ranked No. 7 nationally by InterMat, has 90 straight victories dating to last season’s 46-0 title run at 160 pounds.
Returning state champions Judson Rowland (43-4) and Owens (43-3) were impressive too, as were Kitchingham (35-6) and Chastain (35-11).
Judson Rowland simply was overpowering, winning all four of his matches by falls while Owens posted three falls and a decision. They are MHS’ other returning state champions.
Owens decisioned Edmond North’s Nate Becker in the finals and Judson Rowland pinned Yukon’s Corbin Gordon (29-3) in 2:56 in the finals.
Kitchingham logged three falls and a major decision, and Chastain had a bye, fall, major decision and decision.
Kitchingham pinned Choctaw’s Cory Monroe (27-12) with four seconds to go, at 5:56 in the finals.
“It feels really good,” Kitchingham said of his regional crown. “I think of all the hardwork and dedication it takes. He’s a really tough kid.”
Chastain won a 1-0 decision over Choctaw’s Caden Holman (16-4) in the finals.
Sylvester (29-15) had a bye and twice posted falls before being pinned himself, in 5:01 by Choctaw’s Zeke Coleman (41-4).
Jackson (6-6) won three matches by falls and one by a decision but lost identical 11-5 decisions to Southmoore’s Landon Valenzuela (11-5).
MHS, runner-up last season to state champion Broken Arrow, will need all the points it can muster this weekend.
No. 1-ranked Broken Arrow dominated the 6A East Regional, amassing 294.5 points to outdistance Jenks (188.5) in that 16-team meet.