By Scott Moore
Transcript Sports Writer
U.S. Grant really never had a chance.
Even though outmanned, the Generals showed up for their dual with Norman High Thursday, suited up eight wrestlers, did their best, and got drilled 64-18.
They spotted the Tigers 36 points by forfeiting six matches, then the Tigers did the rest with four falls and a major decision.
NHS coach Tracey Houston can sympathize. He was in the same position when he took over the Tiger program three years ago.
“It was the exact same thing,” Houston said. “We were void of at least three or four weights. We had no seniors. It was hard to put a team together, but we went out and competed. I know they (Grant) are trying to do the same thing.”
The Tigers received falls from Tony Standfield at 171, Skyler Teague at 119, Joe Springfield at 130, Mikel Marsh at 160.
At 140, Chris Colijn scored a 15-4 major decision over Elijah Oaks.
“I should have pinned him,” Colijn said. “I did all right. I’ve been working on some things and I think I did OK.”
Colijn, a senior, remembers what it was like back in the dark days of Tiger wrestling, back when beating anyone by over 40 points was unheard of.
“When I was a freshman, we didn’t have a full team,” Colijn said. “People just didn’t want to come in and wrestle because we sucked. Nobody came to watch our matches. It wasn’t very much fun.”
Now, the Tigers are 3-0 in duals and, after the win over Grant, 1-0 in the district. They are also ranked for the first time in years, checking in tied for 10th with cross-town rival Norman North.
And Saturday the Tigers won a tournament for the first time since 1985. They finished first at Putnam City, beating second place Mustang by 32 points. They put five wrestlers in the finals and won all five, getting gold medal performances from Teague (112), Royce Garrison (119), Springfield (125), Kyle Bloss (135), and Brennen Knerr (215).
“That was exciting,” Colijn said. “This year, everyone is in real high spirits because we have a full team. We have the right attitude.”
The Tigers will be at the Anadarko Tournament Saturday. And for the first time in who knows how long, the Tigers might be the favorite.
The 15-team field also consists of Chickasha, Tuttle, Anadarko, plus three teams from Texas.
“We took third there last year and we didn’t even have a full team,” Houston said. “So this year, we’re thinking we can go there and win.
“Getting that win at Putnam City, that was big because around here we’re used to losing. I think it gave our guys a lot of confidence.”
Against Grant, the Generals gave up wins to Garrison at 125, Sean Hemphill at 135, Ryan Sanders at 145, Riley Sanders at 152, Tim Byrd at 189 and Knerr at 215.
The match started at 171 and was actually tied 18-18 after the first six bouts. The Tigers jumped out to an 18-0 lead, but Grant’s Patrick Moles pinned P.J. Mitchell in the heavyweight bout to cut the lead to 18-6, then Dustin Smith pinned Dustin Gracces at 103 to make it 18-12.
NHS forfeited 112 to Justin Smith to tie the match at 18.
But Teague’s second period pin of Grant’s Michael Smith at 119 gave the Tigers the lead for good at 24-18.
“Obviously, with them giving up so many weights, we felt pretty confident,” Houston said. “But with this being a district dual and with us really wanting to get to Dual State, we were pretty focused.
“I thought our guys really wrestled well.”
By Scott Moore
This Week's Circulars
Major F. 'Red' Morrow, 92, of Norman, died June 15, 2021. Graveside Service: 2:00pm, Friday, June 18th, Resthaven Memory Gardens, 500 SW 104th Street, Oklahoma City. The family requests masks be worn at the graveside service. Share condolences online: www.havenbrookfuneralhome.com.
Shepherd, Dr. Colonel Virgil
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