MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

February 9, 2013

Memory of 2010 fuels MHS senior

Muskogee senior J.T. Andrews remembers the feelings he had watching his fellow classmates celebrate after winning the 2010 Class 6A dual state championship.

He was a freshman back then, competing on the JV. That memory, and the realization of this being his last chance to do so, fuels him to help the Roughers win another title.

“I didn’t dress out that year and it was crazy watching it,” he said. “I remember the big arena and how much it meant to the team. This is my senior year and I want to go out with a bang and win state.”

Andrews, who will wrestle at 160 or 170 pounds depending on his weigh-in, gets that chance today as the Roughers, along with 4A Wagoner and 3A Vian, seek dual state titles.

Muskogee takes to the mat at Claremore High School, while Wagoner and Vian are at Cushing High School. The Roughers and Bulldogs begin at 10 a.m., while the Wolverines start at noon.

Semifinals are at 2 p.m. at each site and the finals begin at 6:30 p.m.

Andrews also has motivation from being a sophomore on the 2011 team that lost to Broken Arrow in the semifinals and a junior on the squad that failed to qualify for dual state last year.

“It was odd not going last year,” he said. “It also was devastating to us. We didn’t take advantage of opportunities. This year, we’re going to take advantage of every chance we can.”

Muskogee coach Bobby Jefferson sees that determination in his team.

“They have a re-dedication to make this happen,” he said. “We want to get last year’s feeling off our backs.”

The Roughers open with Southmoore.

Vian’s Landon Decker has an individual state championship in wrestling, but now he’s focused on his teammates having the same kind of feeling. The Wolverines begin against Plainview.

“As far as the individual stuff, that’s next week,” he said. “I want us to do well as a team. Vian’s never won state before and been my goal this year. I want it bad.”

Decker and the Wolverines lost to Comanche in the opening round of dual state last year. Two years ago, Vian fell to Perry in the finals.

Vian coach Jason Adams returns seven seniors for this year’s squad and who were sophomores on the 2011 team. Even with that much experience, he’s not quite making room in the trophy case.

“We’ve been right there close to winning it a couple times,” he said. “But we know they don’t give state titles away. We have to earn it. These guys believe in themselves and that’s why they have another chance at a title.”

For all of the Wagoner wrestlers, it’s their first chance to win a title. The Bulldogs’ last appearance in dual state was 13 years ago when junior Brad Boswell was 4.

“We’re excited to go up there and see what it’s like,” he said about going into the opening match against Piedmont. “We’re the underdog, but  think we’ll do well. I believe in my teammates.”

For fifth-year Wagoner coach Micco Charboneau, the former Bulldog competed at dual state for three straight years (1989-91). He’s confident his team will not have first-time jitters.

“We expected all year to be here,” he said. “We know it’s going to be tough, but I think we can wrestle with Piedmont. We’re just not happy to be there and we feel we can wrestle.”

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