SHAWNEE -- It all came down to Mitchell Lance or Josh Taylor. Fortunately for Skiatook, it had a state champion ready to roll with a Class 5A dual state championship on the line.
Taylor, last year’s 5A champion at 120 pounds as a freshman, scored in early takedown against Lance, and he cruised the rest of the way to an 8-0 major decision, sending Skiatook to a 29-25 victory and its first dual state title.
“I wouldn’t want to put it in anyone else’s hands,” Taylor said not long after his team was handed some dual state hardware inside FireLake Arena. “I knew I could pull through.”
With all eyes inside the venue on the 5A mat, Taylor’s confidence was on full display. While resetting in the middle of the mat in the second period, he winked at someone in the direction of the scorer’s table.
He knew the Bulldogs were a few minutes away from a celebration.
“Once I got that first period takedown,” Taylor said, “it set the tone for the whole match.”
Starting at 132 pounds, Piedmont -- in its first dual state finals appearance -- worked its way up to a 16-9 advantage and then a 22-18 lead after Oklahoma signee Josh Heindselman recorded a pin at heavyweight. Eventually, Piedmont’s Alan Flores would tie the dual at 25 with a 8-4 win at 120 pounds, but Taylor took the mat and sealed the deal for Skiatook, last year’s runner-up at 5A dual state.
“To have Josh Taylor go last -- especially in a tied up dual -- you couldn’t ask for a better one to go take care of business,” said Skiatook coach Jake Parker, who had a message for his team before the season started.
“We started a saying and wanting to know, ‘is it worth it?’ It is worth it to go get that extra takedown or fight off your back. That’s kind of our new saying; it has to be worth it you to be able to go compete for what you’re doing.”
In the end, Skiatook won eight of the 14 matches and prevailed as 5A’s new dual state champion.
**See results from the 5A dual finals below
Class 6A No. 1 Broken Arrow made easy work of Choctaw in a 50-10 victory in the dual state finals on Saturday night. But it was getting to the championship that proved to be the day’s biggest hurdle for the Tigers.
In a dual marred by unsportsmanlike conduct point deductions both ways, Broken Arrow managed to hold off Mustang, 29-24, to reach the 6A finals.
Mustang jumped out to a 12-0 lead, and Broken Arrow was forced to fire Oklahoma State signee Reece Witcraft out there, even with an injured left ankle. On practically one leg, Witcraft scored a 6-5 win over Mustang’s Joseph Sylvester at 145 pounds (up a weight class from where Witcraft normally wrestles), and the Tigers used that momentum to win six of seven matches between 145 pounds and 220.
But Mustang’s Christiain Rowland scored a win by fall over Broken Arrow’s Noah Cortes at heavyweight, and the Broncos were within 24-22 with three weights remaining. And ultimately, Broken Arrow’s Jared Hill cruised past Mutang’s Jaston Jackson with a 11-1 major decision to punch the Tigers’ way into the finals.
Against Choctaw, Broken Arrow lost only three matches, and it was Chris Moores fighting off multiple pin attempts by Choctaw’s Gabe Johnson that proved to be a spark for the Tigers. Moores suffered a 19-8 major decision loss, but he kept the Tigers from giving away major bonus points to Choctaw, who only scored wins by Johnson, Zane Coleman (170) and Colt Newton (132).
Witcraft, wrestling at 138, made quick work of Choctaw’s Jace Dean with a pin at 23 seconds, Noah Cortes (220), Zach Marcheselli (heavyweight) and Jared Hill (120) all won by fall to pad Broken Arrow’s lead.
It was the Tigers’ first dual state championship since 2014.