By Corbin Hosler
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Last season, Levy Berry stood atop the wrestling world. The Norman North junior won the state title at 160 pounds and took his place as the top wrestler in the state at that weight.
This season, the senior hopes to bring his teammates with him.
Four other T-Wolves are qualified for today’s state meet, and several hope to join Berry atop the podium. Hayden Hansen and Blake Bassham, who wrestle at 145 and 152 pounds, respectively, both made it to the state final last season before finishing as runner-up. This year, they plan to give North three state champions instead of one.
“To be there with your team is a big deal,” Berry said. “It makes it a whole lot easier when you can see your teammates on the sideline, and having five of us this year is way better than three last year.”
Joining those three at state are North’s first-ever freshmen qualifiers, Sam Avant at 113 pounds and Gage Johnson at 285. It’s the largest contingent the T-Wolves have sent to the state meet in several years, and one that was almost even larger. In addition to the five qualifiers, the Timberwolves had three other wrestlers place at regionals who could advance to state if anyone ahead of them pulls out.
Hansen, who lost the state final a year ago by just one point, is approaching the state meet more like a business trip than the biggest meet of his career to this point.
“The state title is the number one goal, and there’s no nerves,” he said. “I’m more confident after last year and I’m going to let it all loose.”
Coach Greg Henning knows he has several wrestlers capable of bringing back state titles, but he’s not placing too much importance into that.
“All I’m looking for is that they do their best and give their best effort, win or lose,” he said. “They have a good shot if they wrestle well, but you never know what’s going to happen.”
Advancing five wrestlers to the final weekend of the season is an accomplishment for North, which has shown steady improvement since Henning took over. The T-Wolves moved to a winning record in duals this season after a record under .500 last season.
“We were able to win quite a few duals this season, and I appreciate the hard work from the kids and the support from the other coaches and administrators,” Henning said.
Now, the T-Wolves are trying to take the next step: to move from a strong regular-season squad to one that can bring home multiple state titles.
“To see North come from where it was to where we are now, it’s great to see,” Berry said. “And outside of a few of us, the whole lineup is freshmen and sophomores. To have freshmen make it for the first time from North, that’s something that’s good to see.”
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