Collinsville rolling at 5A wrestling regional
BY JOHN D. FERGUSON World Correspondent
Saturday, February 16, 2013
2/16/13 at 4:53 AM
It is not often a team wraps up a two-day competition on the first night. That's what Collinsville did in the Class 5A high school wrestling regional Friday night.
The Cardinals won all 11 of their semifinal matches and marched into the championship finals with devastating efficiency in the Edison Preparatory Athletic Center.
The Cardinals held a 40-point advantage entering the semis and stand untouchable for the 5A crown with 251.50 points. Last weekend, Collinsville won its third consecutive dual state title and will enter the state tournament next week attempting to win a third straight title.
"We got on a roll and kept coming," said Cardinals' coach Weston Harding. "We're fighting for a seed in the state tournament now."
Collinsville had great preparation entering the regional. The Cardinals participated in some of the top out-of-state tournaments and some of the best in Oklahoma as well. The result is a battle-hardened team that is ready.
"We've gone against some of the best in the country," said Harding, who coached most of his present squad when they were in junior wrestling.
Senior Dylan Helm, who is a two-time state champion, agreed with his coach.
"Our out-of-state competition prepared us for the best because we have already seen the best," said Helm, who beat Claremore's Kaleb Hinds 7-0 in the 145 semifinal to reach Saturday's 6 p.m. final.
Collinsville also advanced Christian Moody (106), Davion Jefferies (113), Jacob Findley (120), Ryan Heiden (126), Will Steltzen (132), Gary Wayne Harding (138), Ryan Haymaker (152), Jake Barton (160), Zach Abkemeier (170) and Keenan Priddy (195).
Collinsville and Coweta were the top two teams entering the championship semifinals. The two teams would have six head-to-head matches. The Cardinals won all of them.
Coweta fell to third after the semifinals with 106 points. Edmond Deer Creek advanced four to the finals and inched into second with 108.
There was some good news for Coweta. The Tigers advanced Dillon Prutch (113) and freshman Griffin Qualls (285).
Qualls provided the upset of the semis. Trailing 2-1 with five seconds left, Qualls got a reversal for the 3-2 win over second-seeded Cory Barnett of Western Heights.
"He's got heart and you can't ever count him out," said Coweta coach Jake Parker of Qualls. "He is one of a kind."
Of Collinsville's strength, Parker had a quick answer.
"We put eight into the semifinals. It's brutal when you have to wrestle them in six out of eight matches," Parker added. "They're tough. They work hard."
Original Print Headline: Collinsville rolls at regional
Collinsville's Jacob Findley (left) wrestles Coweta's Dillon McCaleb during Friday's 120-pound semifinal match at the Class 5A regional tournament. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World