By Chuck Reherman
OKLAHOMA CITY – Yukon went into Saturday’s consolation rounds with three wrestlers needing to win one match to have a shot at being a state placer.
The Millers came up on the short end all three times.
Yukon finished the class 6A State Wrestling Championships without a state placer after qualifying four to state. Three wrestlers, Cooper Mahaffey, Corbin Gordon and Ashton Aldridge all had a shot in the consolation semifinals, but faced tough opponents and missed out on wrestling for third and fourth place.
“Our guys who wrestled at state had some great competition and needed just a bit more confidence to let them open up and wrestle their match and instead of being so much on the defensive,” YHS head coach Joe Schneider said. “Our freshman, (Conner Columbus) had a great comeback win in his first match, then had to face two really tough wrestlers in the next couple of rounds.
“We didn’t have a good first round overall,” he said. “Conner won the wrestle-in match, but we lost all four in the first round and that kinda of put our backs to the wall. We wrestled better in the consolation first round, we just faced some really tough competition in those consolation semifinals.”
Columbus won a come-from-behind match in the wrestle-in match that pitted the fifth place wrestlers from the regionals against the fourth place wrestlers at 195-pounds. Columbus trailed Edmond North’s Christian Cantu 6-0 in the third period and came back to win the match 10-7. He had cut the lead down to 7-6 when he got the takedown and a nearfall to pull out the win in the final 30 seconds.
Columbus, though, lost to the west No. 1 seed, Carson Savage of Edmond Deer Creek by fall in 1:21 in the quarterfinals, then had his tournament end in the consolation first round, losing to Tristan Ashford of Moore by a 7-1 decision. Columbus finished his season with a 19-13 record.
Cooper Mahaffey saw his season come to an end in the consolation semifinals at 106-pounds. He lost to Cooper Evans (33-4) by a 14-8 decision. Mahaffey had beaten Evans 7-6 in the semifinals of the regionals to advance to state.
Mahaffey, 26-12, had lost his opening round match to Jared Campbell of Owasso by a 10-7 decision. The match was still up in the air until Campbell got a late takedown with under 30 seconds remaining. Mahaffey advanced to the consolation semifinals after pinning Mustang’s Shelton Chastain in 46 seconds.
Gordon, 32-10, had his tournament ended by Jared Galli of Jenks by a fall in 4:58 in the consolation semifinals at 220-pounds. Gordon had a tight opening round match with Tulsa Union’s Micah Walker. Walker scored a late third period takedown to seal a 5-2 win.
In the consolation first round, Gordon kept his chances alive by pinning Yemi Oyesanya of Norman in 3:53.
Aldridge, who was upset in the heavyweight opening round, saw his tournament end being pinned by Broken Arrow’s Noah Cortes with only two seconds left in the match. Aldridge had his chances in the match, but Cortes gained the advantage, put Aldridge to his back and beat the whistle at the 5:58 mark.
Aldridge, 33-9, had lost his opening round match to Enid’s Colten Dodd by fall. Aldridge made a takedown move but got caught off balance and Dodd took him to his back and pinned the Miller senior in 3:37.
Aldridge did come back and won a 2-1 decision in the ultimate tiebreaker over Kobe Shawyer of Del City. The match was tied 1-1 at the end of regulation and neither could score in the first one-minute overtime or the two 30-seconds overtimes. In the fourth overtime, Aldridge scored the match winner on an escape.
“Our young up and coming student athletes are going to bring Yukon wrestling back to the top where we belong,” Schneider said. “We have plenty of work to do in the off-season.
“It is sad to see the seniors go, but we wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors,” he added.
By Chuck Reherman