By Chuck Reherman
Four Yukon wrestlers are headed to the “big house” this week qualifying for the Class 6A State Wrestling Championships.
Cooper Mahaffey, Conner Columbus, Corbin Gordon and Ashton Aldridge will represent YHS beginning Friday at the Ron Norick Arena at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds. Mahaffey, Gordon and Aldridge all finished second in the class 6A west regionals this past weekend at Westmoore High School. Columbus advanced after winning the fifth-match.
The state tournament gets underway with the wrestle-in matches beginning at 9:30 a.m. The first round matches get underway at 11 a.m. The consolation first round begins at 5:30 p.m. in the second session, followed by the semifinals.
On Saturday, the consolation semifinals begin at 10:30 a.m. with the consolation finals set for 12:45 p.m. The championship finals are set for 6 p.m.
Columbus will compete in the wrestle in matches as the No. 5 seed from the west. He will wrestle Edmond North’s Christian Cantu in the 195-pound wrestle-in match. The winner will face Carson Savage (35-2) of Edmond Deer Creek in the first round and the loser is out of the tournament.
Mahaffey (25-10) has drawn Jared Campbell (33-7) of Owasso in the 106-pound first round. Gordon (31-8) will face Micah Walker (36-6) of Tulsa Union at 220-pounds and Aldridge (32-7) meets Colton Dodd (25-13) of Enid in the heavyweight match.
“Cooper has a kid from Owasso that we have already lost to, but we have studied him up and we have improved a lot since that January meeting,” YHS head coach Joe Schneider said. “Columbus has a kid from Edmond North that we have not wrestled. He is pretty tough, he wrestled out 182-pounder (Chance Bailey) and beat him at conference.
“Corbin wrestles a kid from Tulsa Union the we haven’t wrestled but we beat the Jenks kid twice that has beaten him, so we have a common opponent with there,” he said. “Ashton has a kid from Enid that we haven’t seen, but we feel we will be fine there.
“We just have to show up and go out and participate. It was a sad letdown for some of those guys at regionals. It’s hard to go through that blood round, we did such a great job on the first round on Saturday, going five of six to get the match to qualify, then went 0-5, which was a little disappointing.”
The Millers had a chance to qualify eight wrestlers to state, five of them wrestling for fifth place to get into the wrestle-in match. YHS went 1-7 in the final round of the night.
“We were glad to be able to qualify one at fifth and he’s a freshmen which bodes well for our program in the future,” Schneider said. “But, it’s also sad for our seniors like Kylon (Burgert) and Noah (Hanscom) that are done. It as ugly, all three of our guys in the finals lost. All three had a quality opponent.
“We had our chances in all three finals, we just didn’t seal the deal,” he said. “Corbin lost to that kid by fall in the Hancock, this time it was a decision. Ashton wrestled the Choctaw kid before but we couldn’t get off bottom so we had to choose neutral in the third period and couldn’t get the takedown or the stall call. Cooper had his chance, got him to his chance and got back points, we just didn’t seal the deal. You don’t get opportunities like that against good kids and when you do, you have to seal the deal.”
Mahaffey lost in his finals to Edmond Memorial’s Cruz Aguilar by fall in 1:51. Mahaffey had the chance to pin Aguilar earlier in the match and got him to his back. Aguilar reversed the move, got Mahaffey to his back and won by fall.
Mahaffey had pinned Yancey Kite of Moore in 5:13, scored a 3-0 decision over Shelton Chastain of Mustang in the quarterfinals and beat Cooper Evans of Westmoore 7-6 to reach the finals.
Gordon lost his finals match to Tony Opichka of Choctaw on an 8-3 decision. He had pinned Bryson Murray of Norman North in 1:55, decisioned Carson Cottrill of Stillwater 5-3 in the quarterfinals and reached the finals with a pin of Hudson Holland of Edmond Memorial in 5:14.
Aldridge lost to Marquan Journey of Choctaw by a 5-0 decision. All five ofJourney’s points came in the third period, four in the final 30 seconds. Aldridge had pinned Shelby Rogers of Westmoore in 1:49 and decisioned Jaylin Parker of Moore 17-7 to reach the finals.
Columbus reached the state tournament with a 3-2 decision over Eli Haynes of Southmoore. He had lost a chance to wrestle for third on a 7-0 decision to Tristan Alford of Moore in the consolation finals. Columbus had lost his quarterfinal match to Trent Owens of Del City then pinned Donovan McGilberry of Westmoore in 2:11 and Justin Davis of Putnam City West in 1:24 to reach the consolation semifinals.
Tony Gilbert at 120, Hanscom at 126, Burgert at 132 and Ryan Snodgrass had all reached the fifth-place match and missed reaching state losing those matches.
“We have some work to do this week to get our preparations in,” Schneider said. “We are sitting in the catbird seat, we control our destiny right now, it is all who show up at he right time. I have seen plenty of guys get upset, plenty of guys have things go wrong, it is all who shows up that morning.”
By Chuck Reherman