Wrestlers from all over the Oklahoma and two from Louisiana poured into Inola with masks on Friday morning to take the mat and compete without spectators in the annual Inola Longhorn Classic.
Inola Head Coach Kristopher Powell and staff worked diligently to continue to give wrestlers the opportunity to wrestle in a very well run tournament while keeping student-athletes, coaches, and officials as safe as possible.
Fans were not left without an outlet as the student run, Longhorn Media streamed the entire event live. Life in a pandemic is not without its challenges but it also offers openings for life experience. “We got the call a couple of days ago and put it together really quickly. We have streamed almost all Inola High School events this year.” said Katie Bynum Inola Sophomore
While some schools were not able to return this year, the 2021 tournament did not have a shortage of quality wrestlers.“We have some state champions and multiple state placers across all the classifications.” Powell said Friday. “We gained a few schools this year and we added a girls division with over 70 entries.”
In the inaugural OSSAA sanctioned Inola girls tournament, eventual 107 pound champion, Lexi Miller #1 (Wagoner) got the first win of the tournament Friday with a first period fall over Taylor Moore (Warner). Miller went on to pin her way to the finals, including a semi final win over Grace Wagoner and faced Avery Richie (Vian) who also pinned all of her opponents going into the finals match. Miller won the finals match with a trip to a pin early in the second period.
Other women’s results were:
At 100 Ashondra Valencia (Tahlequah) secured first in the pool by knocking off Emma Travis (Sallisaw) who was ranked #3 at 107 with a pin 44 seconds into the first period.
In the 112lb class finals, Landon Mccartney (Pawhuska) pinned #3 Eden Ramos (Morris)at 31 seconds.
At 118, #1 Alison Hynes scored a first period pin over Briley Pennington of Grove in the finals match.
And at 127 Stella Edison (Glenpool) won over Zoe Zucca with a first period pin to win the bracket.
Sophomore, #4 Taya Hunt (Vian) won 136 with 4 pins in the pool, with three of those pins coming in the first minute of the match with the exception of the fall over eventual second place Isabelle Limon (Stilwell) at 1:37.
At 147 Madison Byroads (Henryetta) won out her pool all by pin with the exclusion of second place Ronnia Parker (McLain) who she topped 8-2.
At 161 Sidney Milligan (Owasso) won 3-0 over Skyla Walker (Broken Arrow) to claim the top spot.
In the 185 pool bracket, Broken Arrow had the top two placers. Dominating the top spot was #1 Ki’Esha Cathey with 4 of 5 wins coming by pin. Cathey’s only non-pin victory was over teammate and eventual second place Kali Hayden 13-8. Brenlee Goodsong (Wagoner) was third.
Finally, at 215 Olivia Brown not only took top honors in the four woman pool with wins over Tori French (Warner), 3rd place Tanika Anderson (Will Rogers) and 4th Mishel Bynum (Inola) , but her decisive victories earned her the vote for 2021 Inola Longhorn Classic Outstanding Wrestler Girls Division.
In the team race it’s no surprise that Broken Arrow was the winner with 134 points, followed by Tahlequah 61, Grove 47, and a tie for 4th were Vian and Wilburton 42 who edged out Claremore with 41.
While the ladies wrestled through completion Friday night, on the boys side the action continued into Saturday and there was plenty to see as the day rolled on. In the team race, North Desoto Louisiana won the tournament with 196.5 points, followed by Pawnee 150, Inola 146, Sapulpa 120.5, and Tahlequah 118.
Desoto brought multiple Louisiana D2 state champions and placers to compete with the sooner state wrestlers. By the end of the day Saturday Desoto had one champion Collin Bell at 106 and placed in every weight excluding 113, 152, 160, 220 and HWT.
Outstanding Wrestler honors went to Oklahoma 3A #1 Pawnee’s Blake Skidgel, whose methodical ever pressing style helped him earn falls over quarter final opponent Gage Adkins (Morris) at 1:13, semi final opponent Blue Norman (Plainview) 1:43, and in the finals Andrew Gonzales (North Desoto LA) at 1:35. Gonzales was the D2 Louisiana state runner up last year.
Of course there was still plenty of action on the mat to continue the day.
After Bell’s pin of Jacob Canviness (Tahlequah) at 106, The 113 finals was a continuation of winning for Lincoln Christian’s AB Stokes. He topped 2019 3A State Runner Up Braylen Rodgers (Vian) 7-0. The sophomore also won the Broken Arrow Classic and The Cleveland Classic in December.
At 120 Freshman Kaiden Cue (McCloud) won a 5-0 decision over Louisiana D2 State Champion Isaac Dees (Desoto). At 126 Elijah Reece (McCloud) majored Gatlin Gunn (Charles Page) 15-4.
At 132, 5A #5 Carson Furgeson (Tahlequah) over Parker Lecoq (Sapulpa) with second period fall. At 138 JJ Long (McLain) pinned Malachia Harris (Checotah). Long finished a strong tournament showing with three pins and had one major decision. At 145 Jaxen Wright (Morris) got the tech fall over Grove Freshman Josh Gesell. Gesell pinned Wright’s team mate Pistol Hogan to advance to the finals.
The match of the day was the 152 lb finals, defending 3A State Champion Jose Flores (Inola) took on Angel Quezada (Tahlequah) who is ranked #2 at 160 in 5A. The match was a tight physical, back and forth until Flores went ahead after multiple scrambles in the second period to seal the victory for Inola.
At 160 Jayden Moore (Tahlequah) defeated Adrian Hernandez (Charles Page) 4-1 and as mentioned earlier Blake Skidgel won the tournament at 170.
At 182 home team Inola was back in the winner’s circle with 3A #6 Jedd Barrett defeating Micco Jones (Sapulpa) 9-3.
At 195 3A #1 Cruz Partain (Vian) defeated 3A #3 at 220 Dalton Diacon (Inola) 6-2.
Diacon pinned his way to the finals while Partain had a pin in the prelims, and a close match with Louisiana D2 State Champion Dylan Olivier (Desoto) 7-5 in the quarterfinals Friday and a major in the semis.
At 220 it was back to Vian with a pin for Dil’n Murchison (who is listed at #5 at 3A 182) over Demitriu Macon (McLain) early in the second period. Murchison defeated all opponents by fall with the exception of the semi final match against Kyler Pouncil (Checotah) which he won 7-2.
At heavyweight it was all Pawnee. Junior Chuck Long outlasted team mate and fellow junior Connor Lieb to take home the first place hardware.
Everyone at the tournament was pleased with how efficient and well run the tournament was. The student media team also did a great job with the livestream. Multiple coaches commented how much the families at home appreciated the effort they made to let them watch their student-athlete compete.