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The day after Christmas the Duncan High School wrestling team will take to the mat in the KSA Holiday Tournament in Orlando, Fla.
The tournament will last until the following Monday and each team is assured six to eight dual meets throughout those days. The first round of the tournament is a round-robin pool format which will be used to asses the strength of the teams. Then, the teams will be placed into brackets based on their skill level. Coach Kevin Kelly is looking forward to the trip as it will test how the team can handle a diverse group of opponents.
“We’re going to see different styles of wrestling,” Kelly said. “We’re going to wrestle eight teams from different states, and all over the country.”
Kelly can’t wait to see his players face some really tough opponents, specifically, Connor Kelly and Jett Gray. Both of them won their weight class at the Southern Oklahoma Invitational on Saturday. Kelly won the 152-pound class in dominant fashion pinning Noble’s Matt Howard in little more than a minute of their match.
“I got mad at him actually, I knew he was going to win and I hate to say that, but I knew he was going to win,” Kevin said. “He was so much better than the kid that was in his weight class this weekend. I told him in his finals match I wanted him to get four takedowns before he pinned that kid.
“We’re going to this tournament in Orlando and I told him, ‘You need to get some mat time in.’ He said, ‘I got caught up in the moment and went ahead and pinned him.’”
Gray won the 120-pound championship 10-6 and Jimmy Mejie became the third champion from Duncan High when he won the 195-pound class against Noble wrestler Twain Savageau. Just a sophomore Kevin is excited about Mejie’s progress so far this season.
“Jimmy has gotten a whole lot better over this last year,” Kevin said. “He got stronger, and he has gotten better. He’s wrestling pretty tough right now, and I’m proud of him.”
Will Hicks, Tyler Hicks and Connor Kinnaird finished in third place at the home tournament for Duncan. The first was Will who finished 2-1 in the 106 weight class. In his final match against Bryce Smith, he used a chicken-wing move to get the pin at 2:23.
“I just winged it and hoped it worked,” Will said. “A lot of it was just swing the body weight and, hopefully, you win. It’s awesome. I love the feeling (of winning).”
Tyler went almost the full three periods before pinning Shawnee’s Cameron Comer with 58 seconds left for his third place medal in the 138 class. His compatriot Connor Kinnaird did go the full time with Plainview’s Josh Walls, but won 6-4 to claim third in 170 group. His struggle mostly came with the strength of Walls.
“Though his shoulders and traps area, he was thick,” Kinnaird said. “It was all I could do to keep all my body weight on him and try to turn him. I don’t know how I didn’t get tired.”