On the final day of the 2013 Class 5A West regional competition, some rose to the occasion, while others thought of what might have been.
For the Duncan wrestling team, five individuals will get to realize the dream of going to the state competition in Oklahoma City starting on Friday Feb. 22 from the State Fairgrounds Arena.
Overall as a team, the Demons finished in fifth place while Lawton MacArthur ran away with the regional team title, totaling 255.50 points, including four regional champions.
“I thought we would get six for sure and I hoped that we would be able to slide another one in there as well,” Duncan coach Kevin Kelly said. “We had a couple of kids wrestle really tight at home. You can’t do that and beat good kids. I try to tell them all the time to open up and wrestle and they just didn’t do that.”
Duncan’s lone regional champion came at the 113 pound division with senior MarkWae Sanders.
During his match it seemed like Sanders was battling against more than just his opponent in Dakota Resendez of Chickasha, as a blood stoppage combined with a severe leg cramp made life difficult for the Demon grappler.
However, in the end none of those obstacles were enough to keep Sanders from becoming champion as he claimed a 5-2 decision and punched his ticket to OKC.
“It was a cramp that kept coming back and fourth during the match,” Sanders said. “I was trying to stand up and fight through the pain. I was afraid he (Resendez) was going to get a takedown, but it didn’t happen. It’s the best feeling in the world winning, I’m very blessed right now.” Coach Kelly added he was proud of how Sanders continued on in his match despite the pain he was going through.
“If you’ve ever had a leg cramp and tried to keep going it’s hard,” he said. “He was hurting but he sucked it up and got it done.”
Jett Gray also qualified for state but was forced to settle for fourth place in the 120 pound division as he lost a close consolation finals match to Alex Nelson of Guthrie by a 2-1 score.
There was heartbreak though at 145 and 152 pounds for Duncan.
First Connor Kelly had to settle for the runners-up spot after he lost a tough match to Guthrie’s Bryan Dutton in the finals by a 5-1 decision.
Then, Christian Carnahan was forced to do the same as his last ditch escape attempt fell short against Altus’ Cameron Loving, giving the AHS grappler a 1-0 victory and the regional championship.
Cameron McGill managed to rebound from a third round defeat to claim third place with a 5-3 victory over Ada’s Royce Garvin in the consolation finals.
“It was pretty difficult to stay motivated for the third place match,” McGill said. “But the important thing is that I’m going to state because I got third at regionals. I’m going to give it my best effort because this is my final year and I plan on trying to win it.”
Dustin Chase was eliminated in the 106 pound division in the second round of the consolation bracket, falling to Carl Albert’s Michael Moody by a 6-2 decision.
Tyler Hicks narrowly missed out on the state places at 126 pounds as he claimed fifth place with a 3-2 decision over Altus wrestler Mikie Abuan.
In the 132 pound division, Hunter Kelly lost to Brent Wilson of Bishop McGuinnes by a 10-8 score, which gave him sixth place overall.
Austin Drake claimed fifth place overall with a 5-0 victory over Altus wrestler Tyler Marple.
In the heavyweight division, Daniel Moore was eliminated in the second round following a pin by MacArthur’s Joseph Pollard.
“The guys that got runners-up need to wrestle with an attitude,” Kelly said. “Both of those guys wrestled not to lose. They could very well meet the guys they went up against tonight in the state finals. I always tell them to go after it and wrestle, and we just didn’t do that tonight.”