Indians win Academic State Championship

by Todd Brooks

It was not quite the result they were hoping for, but the Comanche Indians did come home with a state championship.

Comanche was not able to repeat as state champions. They did, however, bring home an Academic State Championship, the fourth in six years.

Comanche had eight wrestlers compete at the tournament in Oklahoma City on Saturday. Four finished on the medal stand. Kooper Doucet finished as state runner-up at 182 pounds, Lake Epperson brought home third at 138 pounds and Kasen VanBuskirk and Cade White finished fourth at 170 and 285 pounds, respectively.

“Our goal was to win another team state championship, in addition to our academic title,” said Casy Rowell, head coach, in a Facebook post. “However, falling short is a part of the sport when you have high goals. I can promise you it was not due to lack of preparation from the coaches and lack of effort from the wrestlers. I feel like we did the best we could and failed. It is not like we are the only team in the state working towards these goals.”

Five Comanche wrestlers had to wrestle to qualify to advance to the quarterfinal bracket. Tucker Oliver, Bryson Evans and Kasen Vanbuskirk all made successful bids. Gunnor Yates lost a close 9-7 match and Owen Bigford was ahead in the third period on the scoreboard when he fell victim to a pin.

Epperson, Doucet and White were the only Indian wrestlers to advance to the championship semifinals as the remaining three (Oliver, Evans and VanBuskirk) fell into the consolation bracket, but were still alive.

In the championship semifinals, Epperson lost a tough 3-2 match knocking him out of the championship match. The match was tied 2-2 heading into the third period when his opponent, Logan Smith of Perry, got an escape for one point and neither wrestler was able to score after that.

Doucet had a 7-1 advantage going into the third period against his Bridge Creek opponent, Drew Powell, but then had to hold off a Powell comeback bid as Doucet advanced to the finals with an 8-7 win.

White was pinned in the third period to send him to the third-place match.

In the finals, Doucet was tied with Seth Jackson of Sperry, 2-2 after the first period. Jackson then took a 6-4 lead at the end of the second period before taking a 9-4 win in the final period.

It was the second straight runner-up finish for the Comanche sophomore.

Comanche will have another shot at a state title when they travel to Enid for the Dual State Championship on March 13.

Last Thursday, Gracie Yates became the first Comanche girl to compete at the state tournament.

“This is something I have wanted to do since I was a little girl and finally got to achieve this goal of mine,” said Yates in a Facebook post. “I hope to inspire the younger generation of girls that wrestling can be a girls’ sport and that they are capable of whatever they put their mind to. You can be a girly-girl, cheerleader and a wrestler.”

Comanche Times
United for Oklahoma - April