, Muskogee, OK

March 2, 2014

Rougher pair among title trio

Phoenix staff report

— OKLAHOMA CITY —It was a day of atonement for Muskogee High wrestlers Jacobe Smith and Dawaylon Barnes here Saturday.

For Smith, there would be no need of a risk this time as he followed teammate Dawaylon Barnes’ gold-winning performance at the Class 6A wrestling championships at State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City.

In the 160-pound final, Smith led throughout as he decisioned Zach Walton of Edmond North 5-2, avenging his fateful decision that landed him a runner-up medal at last year’s championships when he gave up an escape in an attempt to reposition himself for a two-point takedown and the victory.

Not that it was easy.

“I mean it was pretty tough. I broke my fingers, suffered an ankle sprain and fought through it,” he said, capping his senior season at 31-3.

The ankle sprain actually occurred at dual state. He broke his fingers in the first match here Friday. Credit his pastor, Ron Venters, and some divine help from above for assists.

“(Venters) came and prayed for me,” he said. “I’m so honored to win a title.”

“That’s why wrestling is the toughest sport there is,” said Muskogee coach John Petty. “Jacobe’s been banged up from time to time all year. He had his fingers set last night —actually he set them himself before the trainer got to it — and he was determined.”

Walton pinned defending champion Michael Hamilton of Bartlesville in the semifinals, Hamilton being the beneficiary of Smith’s gamble a year ago.

Barnes, who was third last year, also won by a 3-1 decision at 152 over Broken Arrow’s Paden Bailey, getting a takedown in the final 10 seconds to break the tie. In doing so, Barnes also gained atonement —he beat the guy who defeated him in the regional final. He finishes 31-5.

“He started scrambling and I knew he was drained so I got him with a double leg,” he said. “All I heard all night was this is my last match I’ll have and I was intent on making the most of it.”

It was a nice end to what has been a difficult first year for Petty, who replaced longtime coach Bobby Jefferson in a controversial move this past summer.

“We’ve wrestled more off the mat than on it with things,” he said. “I couldn’t be more proud of how our guys represented us here.”

It was a good day for the area to compete at 152. Tahlequah’s Hestin Lamons capped an impressive 35-1 year with a 7-2 decision against Wyatt Jordan of Collinsville. Another Tahlequah wrestler, Mitch Sellers, lost in the 145 finals to Will Stelzlen of Collinsville 3-1.

Lamons could sense a championship after his second takedown and actually dreamed this outcome in an afternoon nap, he said.

“I knew I was dangerous from our feet with underhooks so I kept trying to wrestle and score as many times as I could,” he said.

“I dreamed about hitting a double-leg and took the kid down. I usually don’t ever hit double legs. It was crazy. Dreams come true,” he said.

Hulbert’s Bryson McBowan lost to Braden Ruth of Davis in 1:01 in the 3A championship at 220 pounds.

Muskogee’s Adonis Cole finished third at 285 pounds.  In 4A action, Wagoner’s Tucker Hoffman at 152, Fischer Medlin at 160 and Roman Rodriguez at 182 fought their way through the consolation round and also finished third in their groups, as did Will Tiger of Sequoyah at 126 in 3A. Fort Gibson’s top finisher was Ryan Waltman at 113 pounds. He took fourth, becoming the first freshman in school history to place at state.

Seth Fritts of Keys was fourth at 160.