OKLAHOMA CITY — Up until last year, there was only one Poteau Pirate who had won a state wrestling title — 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
“It's a great feeling,” Tustin said Monday afternoon. “It 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).”
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.
“It was by far my toughest match,” 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.
“Every superlative we can come up with is fitting for Tyler,” Poteau Coach Chris Barbee said. “I 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 — and we can't forget him being named the Outstanding Wrestler. That's for both upper and lower weights.”
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.
“He's just a takedown away from being in the consolation finals,” Barbee said about Evans, who only came out about halfway through the season. “He 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.”