- Mini Penny
When a team is the host for an event, that team would like to have some success in front of the home fans. The Poteau Pirates wrestling team did a pretty good job of accomplishing that goal this past weekend.
Two Pirates won titles and eight total wrestlers placed at the 2012 Maverick Conference Tournament at Carl Albert State College's Mick Thompson Fieldhouse.
In the high school division, Poteau's Tyler Tustin won the 132-pound title. After being second best in last year's conference tournament, coming in first made the weekend complete.
â€śIt feels good,â€ť said Tustin, who was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler among the lower weights for the tournament. â€śI've never won this tournament. I was second last year. This was my first year to win it. It felt pretty good to win it this year.â€ť
Tustin beat Sallisaw's Ty Martinez 8-2 in the finals, which the Pirate matman said was his toughest match of the tournament.
â€śI just went out there and did everything right techinique-wise, and I was able to come out on top,â€ť Tustin said.
In the junior high division, Sam Shore claimed gold for the Pansy Kidd Middle School Raiders as he pinned his opponent to win the 134-pound title.
Five other Pirates and a Talihina High School wrestler placed in the two-day event.
For Poteau, Devin Anderson (113 pounds), Kaydon Evans (138) and Daylon Brewton (heavyweight) were third, Derek Francis was fourth at 160 pounds, Gabe Sanchez was fifth at 182 pounds and Trevin Smith was sixth at 170 pounds.
As a team, the Pirates tied Fort Gibson for fifth place with 99 points. Sallisaw won the team championship with 179 points, followed by Vian (147.5), Jay (125) and Wagoner (115).
Talihina tied Hulbert for 14th place with four points, which mostly came compliments of Derek Lester's fifth-place finish at 106 pounds.
â€śWe did OK, but I'm not going to say we did really good,â€ť second-year Poteau Coach Chris Barbee said. â€śThere's still a lot of things we have to work on. We did get more people into the medal rounds, which is good for us. But we're still finishing fifth and sixth. We have to put more wrestlers into the finals to where we can get into the top three to take home some trophies. We're doing this so we can be the best. Right now, we're right on the bubble.â€ť
Besides Shore, three other local wrestlers placed in the event. For the Raiders, Roderick Hornbuckle was fifth at 126 pounds, while Blake Smith (142 pounds) and Rodney Killingsworth (185) were both sixth for the Golden Tigers.
Fort Gibson won the junior high team title with 160 points, followed by Wagoner (148 points), McAlester (116.5) and Sallisaw (109.5). PKMS was ninth (46.5 points), while Talihina was 15th (nine points).
The Pirates will return to action at 7 p.m. tonight as they will have their Senior Night and homecoming dual with the Fort Gibson Tigers at Sherman Floyd Fieldhouse. The dual will be the last one of the Class 4A District Duals from earlier this month, but will not have a bearing on who will represent the district at next month's Class 4A Dual State Tournament as that honor went to Sallisaw.
The Golden Tigers will be idle until their first home dual of the season at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 at Ray Henson Gymnasium against Sequoyah-Tahlequah.