By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
The Charles Page High School varsity wrestling team (1-0) has been on a roll this season. They already earned the No. 1 ranking in Oklahoma 6A after a first place finish at the Perry Tournament of Champions. Now they've taken third place at the prestigious Kansas City Stampede and they did it without a full roster.
Top-Ten Team Scores:
No. 13 Tuttle (OK 564.5
Park Hill (MO) 446.5
No. 17 Sand Springs (OK) 409
Goddard (KS) 374.5
Neosho (MO) 347.5
Smithville (MO) 333
Staley (MO) 329
Omaha Skutt Catholic (NE) 327.5
Archer (GA) 307.5
Christian Brothers (TN) 287
Even though senior State-placers Jack Karstetter and Zane Basma sat out with injuries, and State finalist Beau Bratcher wrestled through his own injury, the depth of talent on the Sandite roster still led the team to their best-ever finish at KCI. While the majority of the team placed, three wrestlers made the finals, and two won the tournament, the most impressive performance was far from an unfamiliar name.
Daton Fix is already one of only two Sand Springs wrestlers to win the State Tournament three times. He's one of only six wrestlers from any school to win the Perry Tournament of Champions four times. Now he's one of only three wrestlers from any school to win the Stampede four times. The Oklahoma State University-signed senior is currently undefeated at 131-0 in his high school career and is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the 132-pound weight class. He is also ranked third pound-for-pound, though he has split decisions with the top-two wrestlers in the past. He was named the Outstanding Wrestler of both the Perry and Kansas City tournaments.
160-pound junior Payton Scott (12-1) also took first-place in the tournament, marking his second high school tournament championship. 126-pound junior Blake Sargent (11-3) made the tournament finals, but lost by a single point. Delvin Jordan (12-1) took fifth place, Riley Weir (10-4) and Beau Bratcher (11-2) placed sixth, Michael Ritchey (9-5) took tenth, Tanner Ward (9-4) took eleventh, and Gage Fain (9-4) took thirteenth.
The Sandites as a team have achieved the No. 17 ranking in the nation, according to both FloWrestling and InterMat Wrestling. They will return to action after the new year when they host No. 8 Ponca City (3-0) in their home debut.
Weir was majored 14-5 by Platte County’s Jake Stathopoulos in the opening round of pool play, but rebounded with a pair of major decisions. He defeated Kolton Sanders (Neosho) 8-0 and Collinsville’s Jared Campbell 14-3 to earn his way to the gold bracket. He lost his first match to Christian Brothers’ Missouri State Qualifier Cevion Severado 21-10, but won his next three in the consolation bracket. He scored a 12-3 major decision over Kansas State Champion Zach Keal (Mill Valley), got payback on Stathopoulos with a 1-0 decision, then pinned Jack Wrocklage (Seckman) in 5:31. In the placement match he once again met with Ceverado and fell by 23-6 tech fall in 5:14 for sixth place. He improved three spots over his last year’s ninth place performance.
Ward only wrestled two opponents in pool play and defeated both. He scored a 12-8 decision over Missouri State Champion Caden Green (Kearney) and a 7-2 decision over Christian Robinson (Ark City). He won his first match in the gold bracket 6-3 over Missouri State-placer Cade Coons (Staley), but was pinned in his next two matches. He fell in 0:34 to Dalton Divett (Neosho) and in 1:02 to Jonathon Ortegon (Randall), then was defeated 7-5 by Georgia State-placer Tariq Malik (Collins Hill). In the placement round he got a rematch with Coons and pinned his opponent in 4:51 for eleventh place. This was the senior transfer’s first time competing at the Stampede.
Ritchey took second in his pool, winning three of four. He defeated Isaiah McGee (Blue Springs) 6-3 and TJ Cole (Bettendorf) 5-2 before falling 16-5 to Missouri State Champion Malik Johnson (Christian Brothers). He snapped back with a 10-2 major decision over Bryce Wells (Derby). In the first round of the gold bracket he fell in 1:35 to Tuttle’s State Champion Rhett Golowenski. He defeated Sammy Guevara (Garden City) 5-1, fell 6-5 to Missouri State Champion Clayton Singh (Kearney), defeated State-qualifier Spencer Schickram (Ponca City) 2-0, then lost 5-3 to Perry’s State Champion Cale Betchan in the placement round. It was his second time competing at the Stampede and first time placing, taking tenth.
Sargent went undefeated in his pool, pinning two out of three opponents. He scored an 11-4 decision over Missouri State-qualifier Anthony Benito (Staley), then pinned Georgia State Champion Nick Stonecheck (Burford) in 4:35 and Sam Nickelson (Farmington) in 1:47. In the gold bracket he pinned Kansas State-placer Logan Pirl (Goddard) in 3:10, then edged out two-time Alabama State Champion Gabe Hixenbaugh (Thompson) 3-2. He received a forfeit in the semifinals, then fell by a close 5-4 decision to three-time Nebraska State Champion Korbin Meink (Omaha Skutt Catholic) in the finals. His runner-up performance was a major improvement over his ninth place performance last year.
Fix drew a tough competitor to start and won his first major decision of the season over Lucas Desilva of Collins Hill. Every other opponent has been pinned or teched, but Silva only lost 15-5. Fix scored a pair of tech falls from there, 27-11 over Kelby Luther (Creston) in only 2:42, and 28-13 over Missouri State-qualifier Blake Berryman (Staley) in 4:33, then pinned Preston Nicard (Granite City) in 1:01. He worked his way through the gold bracket just as easily, teching every single opponent. He took down Drake Vannoy (Edmond North) 19-3 in 2:00, Iowa State-qualifier Jake Watters (Dowling Catholic) 21-6 in 2:50, and Missouri State-qualifier Josh Steele (Park Hill) 23-8 in 4:21.
Bratcher started off with a tough competitor in Archer’s Georgia State-placer Logan Smith, but prevailed 4-3, then pinned Joey Gray (Mill Valley) in 0:34. He scored a 5-0 decision over Staley’s Freestyle and Greco-Roman National Champion Rocky Elam to win his pool and advance to the gold bracket. He pinned Kansas State Runner-Up Garrett Lange (Goddard) in 1:51, then scored a 5-0 decision over Illinois State-qualifier Will Edgar (Christian Brothers) to get a rematch with Smith in the 5th place match. This time the Archer wrestler came out on top of a 4-2 decision. Bratcher finished in sixth place, an improvement over his last year’s ninth place performance. He also took sixth as a sophomore and tenth place as a freshman
Scott pinned his two opponents, Kansas State-qualifier Austin Crocker (Mill Valley) in 1:10, and Christian Brothers’ Tennessee State-qualifier Turk Wigley in only 0:13. From there he scored a 14-3 major decision over Illinois State-qualifier Jared Skaggs (Granite City) and took first-place in the pool. In the gold bracket he pinned Perry’s State-placer Jace Burdick in 1:38, then won out with three-straight decisions. He took down Tommy Lisher (Park Hill) 5-2, two-time Kansas State Champion Kameron Frame (Goddard) 9-5, and Collinsville’s two-time State Champion Elijah Tanner 3-1 for first place. This was his first time competing at the Stampede, having been recovering from a football injury last season.
Noah Almy (5-6) got off to a tough start, falling 7-4 to Buford’s Tristan Bozolan, then was pinned in his next two matches. He fell in 4:45 to Missouri State-placer Austin Purtle (Smithville), and in 1:09 to Kyle Sanders (Neosho). In the silver bracket he scored a 10-7 decision over Bradley Poos (Platte County), but fell 7-4 to Brady Sifford (Edmond North) for 12th place in the silver bracket, or 28th overall.
Jordan continued the pin-streak he began at the Perry Tournament with four-straight at KCI. He took down Georgia State Champion Tomari Fox (Collins Hill) in 2:00, Jacob Zachary (Dowling Catholic) in 3:16, and Bel Altman (Omaha Skutt Catholic) in 0:56. In the first round of the gold bracket he pinned Johnny Wilson (Park Hill) in 2:47 before his winning streak finally came to an end. After falling 11-4 to Neosho’s Missouri State Runner-Up Adrian Hitchcock, he won out for fifth place. He pinned Missouri State-qualifier Clayton Mordecai (Kearney) in 2:36 and Louisiana State Champion Perry Ganci (Jesuit) in 0:34, then rematched Fox for a 13-3 major decision. This was his second time competing and first time placing at the event.
Fain pinned two out of three of his pool opponents and tied for first. He pinned Landon Calvert (Goddard) in 1:28 and Kansas State-placer Benny Hernandez (Garden City) in 5:36, but fell in 4:42 to Seth Whitlock (Thompson). In the gold bracket he was pitted against Ark City’s Arkansas State Champion Tyler Shannon, who he defeated 1-0 at the Perry Tournament, and this time his foe prevailed 3-1 in a sudden victory overtime round. From there Fain was defeated 3-0 by Alec Derritt (Mill Valley), but he pinned his final two opponents in the second period. Aaron Sonkesak (Collins Hill) went down in 3:07 and Seth Whitlock (Thompson) fell in 3:39. Fain took 13th place in his second time competing and first time placing at the Stampede.