SAPULPA – Mere inches determined Lukas’ Etchison’s tortune in the finals of the Class 6A East regional wrestling tournament at Sapulpa High School’s Chieftain Center on Saturday.
Etchison, the defending state champion, and Tulsa Union’s Josh Walker wrestled to the edge of the mat circle and Etchison looked to have an escape with three seconds left in their final match in the 120-pound division. That’s worth a point and would’ve tied it at 1-1.
But the referee said the wrestlers were on the line and no points were awarded. Etchison lost 1-0 to the No. 1 6A wrestler according to Okwrestle.com. Etchison is No. 4.
“That’s a judgement call,” Etchison said. “I left it all out there.”
MHS coach Bobby Jefferson said he thought Etchison got the escape.
“It’s a tough call when it’s on the line like that,” he said. “(The referee) just didn’t make the call.”
Regardless, Etchison qualifies for the Feb. 24-25 state tournament at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds. He becomes one of seven Roughers who advance to state as they either were in the championship finals or consolation finals on Saturday.
“I’m hoping things go my way next week,” Etchison said.
Things didn’t go Jacobe Smith’s way in the 138-pound finals. He lost 7-2 to Bartlesville’s Michael Hamilton. Hamilton got a takedown and reversal in the second period and three back points in the third period to beat No.4-ranked Smith.
“It was a tough match,” Smith said. “I had a tough time setting up my shots.”
Jefferson is confident in Smith doing better when he goes against a three-seed from one of the west regionals to begin state.
“Those back points were the difference in the match,” the MHS coach said. “If he wrestles hard like he did in this match, Jacobe has a chance to place high.”
The other state qualifiers include Dacota Chambers (113), Matt Vieira (145), Chetan Munsell (152), J.T. Andrews (170) and Kevin Reed (heavyweight).
Chambers, wrestling with a pulled left collarbone muscle, pinned Union’s Justin Lombardo at 2:43 of the second period in the consolation match.
“Ninety-nine percent of wrestling is mental,” Chambers said. “I didn’t let my shoulder affect the way I wrestled.”
In other consolation finals, Vieira defeated Sapulpa’s Justin Barrett 5-4, Andrews beat Norman’s Forest Myers 9-5, Reed lost 5-3 to Ponca City’s Jakoda Bridges and Munsell lost 4-2 to Ponca City’s Brannon Hunt.
Other Roughers who competed Saturday included Taylor Compton (126), Dawaylon Barnes (132), John Webster (182), Jose Diaz (195) and Nigel Harris (220).
In the team scoring, Muskogee finished fifth with 158 points. Union won the regional title with 246.50 points.
In other regionals involving area teams.
Vian’s Syngent Childress at 106 and heavyweight Tre Locust emerged as regional champions at Inola High School.
Childress defeated Briar Stopp of Newkirk, 13-10 in a battle of the top two 3A wrestlers statewide and Locust had a 7-2 lead against Zack Santos of Inola before the latter tweaked a knee and could not finish the match.
“It’s good but we had some mistakes we can still correct,” Vian coach Jason Adams said. “Syngent gave up some five-point moves but was able to overcome it. Tre did what he had to do. It was only a 2 1/2 minute match.”
Childress is a defending state runner-up. Cale Mays, Vian’s other runner-up from 2011, lost to second-ranked Mason Dowell of Newkirk 7-3 in the finals at 160. Warren Zachary (138), Rylee Simon (152) and Landon Decker (160) all wound up losing in the finals. Simon didn’t even take the mat, having to forfeit due to a cut on his eye.
Wesley Baker at 195 finished fourth, giving Vian seven state qualifiers and third place overall with 180 1/2 points. Blackwell won the region with 293, Sequoyah was 16th, Webbers Falls, Keys and Hulbert were 18-20 among 22 teams.
Tahlequah’s Mitch Sellers (120), Hestin Lamons (126) and Dayne Whitehorn (138) all qualified for state. Sellers finished third and the other two came in fourth at Claremore High School.
Wagoner’s Travis Greer is headed to state as the Cleveland regional champ, defeating Jordan Cole of Mannford 5-2 in the finals at 106 pounds. Dillan Robertson at 160 wasn’t as fortunate, losing to Jay’s Isack Wilson on a pin at 1:45.
But the Bulldogs will send both along with Fischer Medlin at 152, who finished fourth. Wagoner was sixth overall with 113.50 points. Cascia Hall won the regional and Fort Gibson was 12th of 14. Colby Woodruff will represent the Tigers at state after finishing fourth at 170 pounds.