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By Glen Miller
El Reno High School’s two-year hiatus from the Oklahoma State High School Wrestling Championships has come to a welcome end for Indians head coach Bill Reeves.
Competing in the Class 5A West Regional, hosted by Duncan, El Reno advanced two wrestlers on to state and moved a third into an alternate position. The state wrestling tourney gets under way Friday at 10 a.m. under the lights of the Big House (State Fair Arena).
“We are moving in the right direction, one wrestler, one match at a time,” said Reeves.
El Reno placed 11th out of 15 teams at the regional with 46 total points. The Indians placed ahead of Bishop McGuinness (40.5), Northwest Classen (29), Southeast (22.5), and Capital Hill (18).
Ardmore edged El Reno out of a top 10 spot by seven points, while Carl Albert took ninth with 62.5 points. The Indians took only seven wrestlers to the regional meet out of 14 weights, with four grapplers missing the trip due to injuries.
Moving on to state are senior Jon Grube and Elisha Leonard, while Murdock Marcum will serve as an alternate at 195 pounds.
“They have already replaced a 215-pounder, so you never know what will happen. They will notify us by Thursday,” said Reeves.
Grube took fourth at 132 pounds for his first career state berth. He dropped a 17-11 decision to Del City’s Devin Green in the consolation finals.
He dropped into the losers bracket after coming up on the short end of a 17-15 sudden victory score against Adrian Gaines of Lawton MacArthur. He bounced back with a fall in the consolation semifinals to reach the match with Green.
Grube drew a first-round bye before pinning Duncan’s Hunter Kelly at the 5:27 mark.
Leonard reached state as the third-place finisher at 160 pounds after a close 2-0 win over Chickasha’s Coy Richardson. His path to the match started with a bye and a 2:52 fall over Ada’s Levi Grimes.
In the championship semifinals, he dropped a 12-3 major decision to Lawton MacArthur’s Dillon White. He bounced back with a fall in the consolation semifinals.
Marcum drew a first-round bye before losing by sudden death victory to Carl Albert’s Thomas Shilling. He wrestled back to the alternate spot place with two victories, including a 1:53 fall over Ada’s Dalton Thompson in the fifth-place match.
Kyler Samples lost by fall in the opening round to Guthrie’s Conner Howard (3:20) at 220 pounds, while Levi Jones dropped a 14-0 major decision to Duncan’s Austin Drake at 138 pounds.
Wiley Hokett lost by fall (1:39) to Connor Kelly of Duncan at 145 pounds.
John Goad drew a bye in the first round at 152 pounds, before losing by forfeit to Noble’s J.E. Bailey.