Phoenix staff report
About the only thing that defeats Jacobe Smith these days is bad luck.
Smith, one of the Muskogee wrestlers representing Oklahoma at the USA Wrestling Junior National Duals this past week in Oklahoma City, went 6-2, winning three of four matches in both Greco-Roman and freestyle. In freestyle, he went from wrestling at 160 to his normal weight at 152, where he lost just twice in a 42-2 2012-13 campaign, including a 4-3 loss to Bartlesville’s Michael Hamilton in which he allowed Hamilton to get a one-point escape in a risk that would backfire.
Ironically, it was a stroke of misfortune that cost him his only freestyle loss last week. He lost to top-seeded Brian Murphy of Illinois, thanks in part to a break that went against him during what was an injury time out,
Smith, a senior-to-be, was leading 4-3 when he snapped Murphy on the mat and began to turn him for what would have given him a 10-3 advantage. But the five-minute injury timeout gave Murphy a break. Changing his style, he scored a takedown and a turn to end the match at 8-4.
“They thought he was concussed and that should have ended the match,” Muskogee assistant head coach Dan Jefferson said. “The kid was out of gas.”
Smith also beat second-ranked Jake Deutschlager of Minnesota, 13-2 and got a technical fall against seventh-ranked Twan Simmons of California 22-12, separating himself from an 8-8 tie with 1:20 left in the match. The win proved key in Oklahoma Red’s third-place victory.
“He had two split knuckles and a cracked rib and his opponents were 100 percent,” Jefferson said. “He showed an “elite level mindset.”
The rib injury occurred in the first day of Greco-Roman competition. Three matches later he split his knuckles.
“We held him out a couple of days in Greco-Roman. Doctors said the way he was taped he wouldn’t hurt either any more and Jacobe came up here with the intention of wrestling and he didn’t want to stop,” Jefferson said. “He made quite an impression on the coaches from OU and OSU who were there.”
Xavion Taylor, wrestling at 113 pounds, went 7-5 (2-2 in Greco-Roman, 5-2 in freestyle. Taylor is a cadet wrestling in the junior level of competition.
“Xavion turned a huge corner this week. His technical skills are much improved and people will notice that next season,” Jefferson said.
Smith will get a look at the same competition in the Cadet Junior Nationals July 12-20 in Fargo, N.D. He’ll be joined by Muskogee teammates Matt Acee and Kyle Gatzman.