- Mini Penny
OKLAHOMA CITY â€” Up until last year, there was only one Poteau Pirate who had won a state wrestling title â€” Jerry Collins in 1998.
Then last year, then Poteau sophomore Tyler Tustin, who happens to be Collins' cousin, won state at 130 pounds. Now a junior, Tustin made some more history Saturday night in the Class 4A State Tournament at State Fair Arena.
Tustin repeated as state champion, winning the 132-pound state final match 2-1 over Newcastle's Steven Fernandez, to become Poteau's only two-time state champion
â€śIt's a great feeling,â€ť Tustin said Monday afternoon. â€śIt felt good to win it last year, but the second one is ever better. It also felt great to beat a defending state champion (as Fernandez was a state champion in the Class 3A State Tournament in 2011).â€ť
Tustin (47-1), who was named the Class 4A State Tournament's Outstanding Wrestler, and Fernandez (27-2) were scoreless going into the third and final round. Tustin got a two-point nearfall to take a 2-0 lead, then Fernandez escaped to cut the deficit to 2-1. But no more scoring happened.
â€śIt was by far my toughest match,â€ť Tustin said about his three state-tournament matches.
Tustin opened by beating McLoud's Josh Mouser 4-3 in the opening round, then major decisioned Jay's Cole Wheeler in the semifinals.
â€śEvery superlative we can come up with is fitting for Tyler,â€ť Poteau Coach Chris Barbee said. â€śI can't think of a better wan to end the season than with a two-time state champion. I can't say enough great things about him. It's a great accomplishment, and he's well deservede of it. He worked hard this season â€” and we can't forget him being named the Outstanding Wrestler. That's for both upper and lower weights.â€ť
Poteau had one other state qualifier, Kaydon Evans at 138 pounds. He went 1-2 and just missed by placing by one more win. He lost to the eventual state champion, Cushing's Kyle Knight, who pinned him at 3:13 in the opening round.
Evans (20-8) then beat Glenpool's D.J. Womack 4-2 in the opening round of consolation, but lost in the consolation semifinals 6-4 to Sallisaw's Ty Martinez.
â€śHe's just a takedown away from being in the consolation finals,â€ť Barbee said about Evans, who only came out about halfway through the season. â€śHe did everything we asked him to do. I think he peaked at the right time. I think we're going to see big things from him in the future.â€ť