Comanche wrestling sends 9 to state

by Todd Brooks

The Comanche wrestling team had a great showing at the regional tournament this past weekend in Perry, bringing home second place and qualifying eight wrestlers - including all six seniors - for this weekend’s state tournament at the Big House in Oklahoma City.

Brook West won her weight class in the girls’ regional earlier in the week taking the total number of Comanche wrestlers at the state tournament to nine.

“We took 10 wrestlers and our two freshmen (Erik Roy and Kanon Clift) didn’t make it,” said Casy Rowell. They were both one win away from making it, but they fell a little short, but they had a great season. I think both of them will come back next year and be motivated to work hard.”

Kooper Doucet and Noah Presgrove won their weight classes. Legend Yates, Kasen VanBuskirk and Cade White took second. Jack Newton and Logan Bain finished third and Gage Jessen took fifth.

“Gage is going to have to have to battle during the pigtail round where it is single elimination at that point,” Rowell said. “The other seven are all in the top three, so they’re set up pretty good where they are at least past that pigtail round and in the double elimination bracket. They are one win away from being in the semifinals and two wins away from being in the finals.”

The coach was happy with his team’s overall performance at the regional.

“I think they did about what we expected going up there,” Rowell said. “There were a few moments where I thought we could have won, but the main thing is qualifying and making sure we can get to state and have a chance to win state.”

The Indians and their coaches learned a hard lesson last year. They had a good regional, but only two wrestlers ended up on the podium at the state tournament the following week.

“So, that’s where we are at right now is hopefully they’re not satisfied,” Rowell said. “And I don’t think they are. I think we have a bunch of veterans in there that are hungry to go place and possibly be champions and on a perfect day we can do something real special. It’s going to have take everything going our way, and all the kids selling out and wrestling their best matches.”

It is a strong and special senior class for Rowell.

“They’re a group I’ve coached since they were in seventh grade,” Rowell said. “You teach them a certain way in junior high and then there’s time for them to develop in high school and with these guys, it’s been an awesome ride. It’s pretty cool. I just wish I had a couple more of them. If we had three more guys (to fill the empty weights) we would have the best team in the state. We’re doing all of this with 10 guys right now while other teams have 12 or 13.”

The road won’t be easy as several of the Comanche wrestlers will have to get through champions from last year or the runner-up from last year, but Rowell is optimistic his team can get the job done.

“On our best day we could be state champions,” Rowell said. “If everything works out and we get a few upsets. But, realistically, if we could be in the top three, I’d be proud of them then the top five or top 10 is an honor. I’d love to see a state champion come from Comanche again. I’d love to have multiple state champions.”

He also thinks West has a shot on the girls side, but like some on the boys’ side she will have to go through a returning state champion to get her second state championship this year after winning one in junior high.

“The girl from Union has a lot of power, but if Brook wrestles her best match and wrestles her style, we can maybe outsmart the girl and maybe be in better condition,” Rowell said. “I don’t count Brook out for nothing because she’s shattered all kinds of barriers and I’m not going to underestimate her for a second.”