NORMAN — There was no doubt in Isaiah Davis’ mind. The Norman High senior stepped onto the mat with his mind made up: he was going to the state meet, and no one was getting in his way.
So when Davis did exactly as he predicted and advanced to the semifinals of last week’s regional meet — securing several upsets and qualifying him for the state tournament — the 160-pounder showed no surprise.
Davis is one of three Tigers to qualify for the state meet, and he’ll begin the competition on Friday along with Lane Stephen and Daniel Mbainayel, who also qualified at Southmoore last weekend.
But only Davis did it with such swagger.
“Lane was really, really excited when he made it, and so was Daniel,” coach Bo Maynes said. “But Isaiah had the attitude the whole week leading up to it that he was going. It wasn’t a surprise to him; he knew he was going.”
To Davis, it was an accomplishment years in the making.
“I’ve been supposed to make it the last two years and I haven’t, so that was disappointing for me,” he said. “My senior year I was going to make it there. I was very confident.”
It paid off for Davis, who will anchor the NHS contingent at this week’s state meet. Stephen will compete at 170 pounds while Mbainayel, who made it all the way to final at 138 pounds, will enter with a chance to make a deep run.
“We’re proud of all three guys for making it this far, and they’ll compete well in a tough field at state,” Maynes said. “We had a really great tournament at regionals and finished in the top six out of 18 teams. Getting three guys into state is great for us, and we had six regional placers overall.”
With the season over for all but three wrestlers in the program, Mbainayel hopes to make it last as long as possible.
And he’s already shown he has what it takes to pull off an upset. In the semifinals of the regional tournament he squared off against Moore’s Kyle Peterman, a wrestler who had pinned Mbainayel earlier in the season. But this time Mbainayel entered the final 30 seconds of the match tied 8-8 with Peterman and came up huge with a takedown to earn the victory and a trip to the regional final.
It was just the latest sign of growth for Mbainayel, and he plans to expand on that at state.
“It feels really good to make it this far,” he said. “It’s been a tough season, but all the hard work is paying off. I think I can place at state, but it starts with winning my first round.”
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