NORMAN — Jay Gibson had a long and good run as Norman North wrestling coach. For years the Timberwolves were the dominant team in town, annually one of the state’s best Class 6A grappling programs and one that crowned a pair of state champions in Josh Kennedy at 125 pounds in 2010 and Caleb Cline at heavyweight in 2011.
This is Greg Henning’s first season as North coach. A many-time state champion skipper at Tuttle, Henning came out of retirement to take over the T-Wolves after a rare down season and has a legitimate shot at crowning a couple of state champions by Saturday night.
Both 126-pounder Hayden Hansen and 160-pounder Levi Berry earned regional championships at Midwest City last Saturday, and one of them had no idea he’d even have the chance.
That’s Berry, who two years ago, as a Tuttle freshman, won the Class 4A 140-pound title and last year finished second at 145 pounds.
After transferring to North, he didn’t think he’d be cleared to participate until his senior season. Instead, he was cleared just in time to win a regional title.
“We have a house out here off of 92nd and Franklin. It was kind of a process with the OSSAA to get them to come out and look at the house, to get Mr. (Norman North principal Bryan) Young to come out and make sure everything’s good with the residence.”
But they did, and he was cleared.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” Berry said.
Also, he loves North.
“It’s bigger, it’s a different environment,” he said. “It moves a little faster and it definitely fits my personality.”
Already a state champ, Berry will nonetheless take the mat with a chip on his shoulder.
“I won it my freshman year in 4A and that’s two classes down from 6A and you kind of had everybody saying, ‘Yeah, he’s good, but he only won state in 4A,’” he said. “Now, to move to a 6A school, which is the top of the game, it doesn’t get any tougher.”