For the second straight year, the last weekend of February will see two Poteau High School wrestlers participating at the Class 4A State Tournament, which will be today and Saturday at State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City.
Tyler Tustin (44-1), who won the state title at 130 pounds last season, will be at 132 pounds, and he will face McLoud's Josh Mouser (36-5) in the opening round today.
“Tyler wrestled really well at this past weekend's regional tournament,” Poteau Coach Chris Barbee said. “He looked good up until the finals, and then he looked even better in the finals against a tough kid from Locust Grove (David Ayers). He beat him 6-1. He's wrestling really well right now, and is one of the best wrestlers in the state at 132 pounds.
“That set him up to be the first regional qualifier from the east, and he'll wrestle Josh Mouser from McLoud. Then, he'll get the winner between a kid from Madill (Levi Shelby) and (Cole) Wheeler from out of Jay (in the state semifinals). It looks very good for him, but he'll have to go out and beat the first guy before he can beat the second one. But I like his chances to get back in the finals, and let the chips fall where they may.”
Tustin's teammate, Kaydon Evans (19-6) will represent Poteau at 138 pounds, and he will face Cushing's Kyle Knight (33-6) in his opening-round match today. Considering that the Pirate sophomore only came out about halfway through the season, for Evans to make state tells a lot about him.
“It's really good,” Barbee said. “It says a lot about him. He's come out here and done everything we've asked him to do. He's starting to get his feet underneath him where he can wrestle for a full match. He's a big, strong kid. He's going to be hard to handle in the state tournament.”