NORMAN — Cade Parker has never wrestled in a regional meet. The Norman High senior has been a star on the football field for several years but wasn’t on the varsity wrestling roster a season ago. Now that he is, and is headed to his first regional, the nerves are something always on his mind.
“Whether it’s football or wrestling, you’re always a little nervous, and you’re lying if you say you’re not,” he said. “But it’s still just another meet. Yeah, it counts for more, but you have to approach it like any other meet.”
Parker is just one of the Norman athletes who hope to advance to the state meet and, in the case of several North wrestlers, improve on state final appearances from last year.
One wrestler, North senior Levi Berry, can’t do any better. He defeated Ponca City’s Brannon Hunt in the state final at 160 pounds last season and is one of the favorites again this year. Berry enters the regional meet ranked fourth at the weight and has put together a strong season.
He’s just one of three Timberwolves with title hopes. Hayden Hansen, who finished as the runner-up a year ago at 126, is wrestling at 145 pounds this weekend, where he’s ranked third. The other is Blake Bassham, who finished runner-up at 145 pounds last week.
North coach Greg Henning said he expects all three to compete well at the state meet, but first they must get past this weekend’s meet at Southmoore, which begins at noon Friday, continues at 6 p.m. and then again at noon on Saturday. The top six wrestlers at each regional are seeded in a 16-man bracket, and the top four finishers from each regional advance to the state meet on Feb. 28.