By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
The No. 1 ranked Charles Page High School varsity wrestling team (2-0) hosted the No. 8 Ponca City Wildcats (3-1) in their home debut Tuesday night at the Ed Dubie Field House, but from the score you wouldn't think it was a top-ten matchup between undefeated teams.
While the visitors had rolled to dominating performances over their first three opponents, they were in a whole different league with the Sandites. Sand Springs is currently ranked seventeenth in the nation by Flowrestling.com and boasts the largest squad of returning State Qualifiers and Placers in Oklahoma 6A. And some of the Sandite starters didn't even wrestle.
The Sandites won eleven of fourteen matches, forfeited one, and lost only two, despite missing a pair of starters. State-placers Jack Karstetter and Zane Basma both sat out with minor injuries.
Sand Springs is currently tied with Choctaw (1-0) for first place in the OSSAA rankings, though the Sandites received more first-place votes than the defending State Champions. They will return to action Thursday when they host No. 10 Stillwater (2-1).
The dual started off at 106 pounds and if you blinked you could have missed it. Sophomore Riley Weir (11-4) pinned Martezz Carnes in a mere 15 seconds. Senior Tanner Ward (10-4) wasn't far behind with a 48 second pin of Jacob Swenson.
Senior Michael Ritchey (10-5) had a tough opponent at 120 in Karson Bellmard and only held a 2-0 lead after the first period. The Sandite scored another takedown in the second period and rode the Wildcat throughout, then did the same in the third for a 6-0 decision.
State Qualifier Spencer Schickram took a 2-0 lead over junior Blake Sargent (11-4) at 126 midway through the first, but couldn't hold the Sandite for long. Less than thirty second later Sargent reversed and took a 3-2 lead into the second period. Sargent took the down position to start and escaped in the first thirty seconds, but the Wildcat tied it up soon after. Sargent was on the verge of a reversal but Schickram caught him off balance and nearly pinned him before the Sandite powered his way out of bounds with his shoulder inches away from the mat the whole time. Schickram took a 9-5 lead into the third, then made it 10-5 with an early escape. Sargent scored a takedown as time came close to expiring but couldn't get the pin and Ponca found a 10-7 decision for their first points of the night.
Leading 15-3 the Sandites sent in their big dog in nationally ranked No. 1 Oklahoma State-signed senior Daton Fix (14-0) against Dylan Schickram. The Wildcat put up major effort and only trailed 8-3 after the first period, but Fix worked him over for a 2:18 pin.
Cody Mathis cut weight to fill in for Jack Karstetter at 138 and gave one of the most intense performances of the evening. He scored an early takedown in the first period over Dawson Hunt. The Wildcat reversed, then Mathis reversed right back and took a 5-4 lead into the second. An escape point to start and a quick takedown made it 8-4, but the slippery Wildcat reversed once again and held the Sandite till the buzzer. Mathis started the third period on top and was reversed for a tie that lasted all the way through the sudden victory round. In the first tie breaker round Mathis started on bottom and took an 11-8 lead with an escape and a takedown. Hunt scored an escape in the second TB round but Mathis stayed on his feet for an 11-9 victory to make the score 24-3.
State Runner-Up Beau Bratcher (12-2) pinned Nenebah Biggoose in 1:07 without giving up any points for a 30-3 advantage. Junior Payton Scott (13-1) was caught off guard by Zeke Rubio and gave up two, but quickly reversed for near fall points and ended the period 6-3. By the end Scott was up 12-4 before pinning his fellow State Qualifier in 3:42.
Sophomore Noah Almy (7-7) and his opponent took more shots at each other than the first several matches combined, but they were equally matched through the first period and neither could take control. By the end of the second period Almy was up 4-3, a lead he held on to till the end to make the team score 39-3.
Luke Bratcher (1-0) made his varsity debut at 170 and put up numbers quickly, leading 5-0 over Cody Miller after the first with a takedown and near-fall points. His opponent cut it to 6-2 soon after but could only focus on containing the explosive Sandite and never got to work on a pin. Bratcher started the final period on top and quickly cut the Wildcat loose. He was unable to score another take down but recorded a 6-3 decision to make it 42-3. The Sandites forfeited 182, handing the Wildcats six points, the but dual had long been decided.
Freshman Hayden Cramer (0-1) made his varsity debut at 195 and was the first to score in the match, but his Wildcat counterpart soon reversed and scored nearfall points for a 4-2 lead. Cramer secured an escape in the second period but gave up one to his opponent to start the third 5-3. They were all matched up till the final seconds when Cramer made a move to take the lead and ended up on bottom instead for a 7-3 loss.
Senior Delvin Jordan (13-1) picked up his eleventh pin of the season, taking down State Qualifier Austin Fry in 1:29.
Gage Fain (10-4) wrestled at heavyweight and was outmatched in size, but not skill. He gave up a takedown to start but quickly escaped. The second period ended with the Wildcat up 5-2, but Fain pulled ahead in the third with an escape and three takedowns for a 9-7 decision.