By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
Oklahoma can officially claim to be better than Kansas after the No. 1 teams in each state went head-to-head Saturday afternoon at the Owasso Ram Duals. 6A No. 1 Sand Springs (14-0) came from behind to top the No. 1 Manhattan Indians in ten of fourteen matches.
Senior State Runner-Up Beau Bratcher (33-6, 124-29) won a 3-0 decision over two-time State Champion Mason Wallace to kick things off in the Sandites' favor, then the Indians put the Okies on their toes as State Qualifier Jalin Harper pinned Payton Scott (28-2, 49-10) in 3:38 to put the Sandites in an unusual position: behind. With an average dual score of 66-8, the Sandites haven't trailed all season long, but Manhattan led for five-straight matches before Sand Springs found their feet in the lower weights.
Noah Almy (16-15) was pinned in 1:22 by State Qualifier Zephry Killham. Zane Basma (17-2, 79-27) responded by pinning State Qualifier Chance Henderson in 1:25. State Qualifier Robert Houston picked up another fall for the Indians in 2:52 over Hayden Cramer (7-5), then the Sandites finally took the lead with pins from Gage Fain (23-10, 36-32) and Delvin Jordan (32-2, 63-14). Fain topped Christian Schlepp in 4:48 and Jordan picked up his 25th pin of the season in 25 seconds against State Qualifier Hunter Christensen.
The Indians got back in the lead with a fall at heavyweight as State Runner-Up Eldon Picou pinned Dominique Pipes (2-5, 2-7) in 0:15, but those would be the last points Manhattan would score.
Riley Weir (29-6, 50-18) picked up his 50th win with a pin of Tate Sauder in 0:53. Tanner Ward (25-8, 101-20) received a forfeit. Michael Ritchey (27-8, 56-32) pinned State Qualifier Joe Braun in 1:52. Blake Sargent (27-8, 79-22) pinned State Qualifier Abraham Sanchez in 1:28. Daton Fix (34-0, 152-0) worked up a 24-9 tech fall against freshman Bubba Wilson, and Jack Karstetter (20-1, 93-16) won a 9-3 decision over State Runner-Up Devin Norris to finish the dual.
Sand Springs will battle 3A No. 1 Perry (14-1) at 2:30 in the championship round. Perry boasts one State Champion, two State Runners-Up, and eleven total State Qualifiers--nearly identical to the Sandite lineup. The Maroons' only loss this season was to 4A No. 1 Tuttle (9-0), who is nationally ranked by FloWrestling at No. 11. The Sandites are fifteenth in the nation and have already topped Perry at both the Perry Tournament of Champions and the Kansas City Stampede, but there were few head-to-head matches between the teams at either tournament.