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With two weeks to go until the Oklahoma State Wrestling Championships, the Duncan Demons are on the verge of being a state contender.
The Demons lived up to their No. 3 ranking in duals at the Dual State Tournament on Saturday in Claremore, edging No. 4 Shawnee before falling to No. 2 Lawton MacArthur in the semifinals.
“We did about what I expected,” Duncan coach Kevin Kelly said. “I knew we would have a chance to beat Shawnee and that we would have our hands full with Mac.”
Three Duncan wrestlers — Markwae Sanders, Connor Kelly and Marcus Stewart — went 2-0 at the event, while even more were instrumental in the Demons’ 29-28 win over Shawnee in the first round.
“Marcus Stewart went out there and cut a kid with six seconds left that gave him a major decision, that if he didn’t get, we wouldn’t have won,” Kelly said. “(Jonathan) Gomez lost 11-0 to one of Mac’s really good kids, but I told him before he went out there that he couldn’t get pinned and he fought hard and helped us to win.
“We had a lot of people contribute in different ways.”
Against MacArthur, which beat Duncan 51-9, there were a handful of matches that Kelly said his team could have/should have won. The Highlanders went on to face Collinsville in the championship, falling to the two-time defending state champion 31-24, though each squad won seven matches in the dual.
If Duncan can make a few improvements, they could be right there with MacArthur and Collinsville in the top tier of Class 5A contenders.
“We’re right there with some of the best ones,” Kelly said. “We just need to correct a couple of the mistakes we are making.”