By Chuck Reherman
OKLAHOMA CITY – Jaxen Gilmore is one of those quiet-type athletics that lets his words speak with his action.
And, his actions brought him a second state championship.
Gilmore won the class 6A 145-pound state title Saturday night at State Wrestling Championships in the Ron Norick Arena at the State Fairgrounds Arena in Oklahoma City.
Gilmore scored a 16-3 major decision over Mustang’s Tate Picklo in the third meeting between the two wrestlers this season.
The win also helped Gilmore win the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.
Gilmore had lost to Picklo in the first meeting between the teams due to an injury default. He beat Picklo in the finals of the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference Tournament.
In the finals, he controlled the tempo of the match, took control in the second period and walked away with the state title.
“I felt like I took control of the match in the second period,” Gilmore said. “The first period we were kind of feeling for each other. He beat me once and I beat him, so neither one of us were dominant going in.
“I felt my offense was my best strategy going in,” he said. “I don’t like to game plan off someone else’s offense, I just like to control the match. Going into it, I felt pretty controlled and the second period after he chose to go neutral, something flipped in my head and said I have to do it now, I have to turn it up and get my two points. Those turned into five.”
From the second period on, it was all Gilmore, and he came close to scoring a technical fall over the Mustang freshman.
“My counter offense is pretty much my game plan,” he said. “I like to wait for my opponent to shoot and then counter off of it. And, not necessarily countering his offense, but stopping his offense set up what I wanted to do.
“It feels good to win like that, but I didn’t really see it as a rivalry, but a good match from a good freshman,” he added. “That’s the best. It is hard to find guys like him, because he is so tough. And, that is from the bottom of my heart, he is a scrapper. But, it is awesome and the best feeling in the world to win a state championship.”
Gilmore was not really challenged in the tournament. He pinned Austin Daniels (34-10) of Jenks in 59 seconds in the quarterfinal round and took less than half that time to win the semifinals. He pinned Sand Springs’ Chris Kirby in 26 seconds.
Gilmore, who is headed to Oklahoma City University to wrestle this fall, finished his senior season with a 39-3 record. Gilmore amassed a 147-18 record during his four year career with the Millers.
“Jaxen did what he is suppose to do, because he is a state championship wrestler,” YHS head coach Joe Schneider said. “He went out and took care of business and that is the kind of wrestler he is. He is very calm, cool and collected and that showed this year and throughout the four years he has been here.
“This was a great way for him to finish his career, winning a second state tournament,” he added. “That’s a testament to his hard work from the first time he came into the program to the state finals.”
Yukon’s Studd Morris was the only one of six Miller qualifiers to reach the finals. He finished second.
Yukon finished tied for seventh with Ponca City in the team race with 38 points. Choctaw won the state title with 138, besting Broken Arrow, who was second with 129.5.
“A seventh place finish was pretty good for only having two guys actually earn team points,” Schneider said. “I really wish some of the other qualifiers would have tasted a little success in that arena.
Morris, who finished his senior season with a 34-7 record, lost to Carter Young of Sand Springs 3-0 in the 106-pound finals. Young came into the finals with a 39-1 record.
Morris opened the state tournament with a 19-7 major decision over David Boucher of Bartlesville in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, he posted a 6-3 decision over Jared Hill of Broken Arrow.
“I was happy for Studd to make it to the finals,” Schneider said. “I know he really had his sights set on winning it, so I’m sure that is very hard for him. I’m sure they will both (Morris and Gilmore) will be competing in freestyle tournaments and looking to contend well at the next level.”
YHS had four more qualifiers for state, Kylon Burgert, Landis Scoon, Corbin Gordon and Ashton Aldridge.
Burgert went 0-2 at 126-pounds. He lost to Cameron Picklo of Mustang 7-1 in the quarterfinals and to Branden Elrod of Jenks, 5-4 in the consolation round.
Scoon, at 152-pounds, also went 0-2. He lost to Kaleb Taber of Sand Springs by fall in 1:34 in the quarterfinals, then lost to Kyle Knowles of Edmond Memorial in 43 seconds in the consolation round.
Gordon, who finished fourth at regionals, had to wrestle in a match with the fifth place qualifier from the east to get to the final eight. He lost to Keland Bearpaw of Sapulpa 9-2 in that match.
Aldridge also had to wrestle in the wrestle-in match and pinned Broken Arrow’s Noah Cortea of Broken Arrow, pinning him in 6:58 (58 seconds into overtime).
He lost to Sam Smith of Stillwater by fall in 5:58 in the quarterfinals. He then lost to Blake Russell of Mustang by fall in 1:11 in the consolation round.