MIAMI – Zach Gibson was quite pleased with how his Miami Wardog wrestlers fared in their own tournament over the weekend.
MHS wound up sixth in the 18-team field, having a runner-up, one third, one fifth and two sixths among the finishers.
“It wasn't a bad weekend,” Gibson said. “We finished nearly last last year and we wound up in sixth place this year.”
Joplin won the team title for just the second time in the tournament's 48 year history with 445.5 points.
Pryor, which claimed honors last year, was second at 400, followed by Cushing, 354.5; Tahlequah A, 341.5; Wagoner, 340.5, and Miami.
Rounding out the field were Glenpool, 330; Columbus, 290; Jay, 287; Locust Grove, 282.5; Grove, 282; Independence, Kansas, 221.5; Sallisaw, 180; Tulsa East Central, 173; Tahlequah B, 155; Caney Valley, 126.5; Coffeyville, Kansas, 55; Mystery Team, 0.
Joplin had three individual winners, two runners-up and six other placers while Pryor collected two firsts, a second and a third and two fourths among 12 wrestlers.
The best individual showing for Miami came from T.J. Griffith, who was second at 138 pounds.
Griffith decisioned Tyler Teague of Cushing, lost by technical fall to Jay's Trestin January and decisioned Pablo Nava of Tahlequah B in pool competition.
Griffith then pinned Kyler Sanders of Independence, Kansas, at 4:13.
January scored an 18-0 technical fall against Griffith in the finals.
“He surprised not only a lot of people but me, too,” Gibson said. “I was really proud of him. That's a big deal for him. This will be a big boost to his confidence.”
Cooper Stone, wrestling with a partially torn bicep, was third at 106 pounds.
He was 3-0 in pool matches and pinned Julian Brownfield of Tahlequah A at 0:25 in the quarterfinals, but dropped a 10-3 major decision to Zachary Phillips of Joplin in the semifinals.
Stone bounced back to pin Garrett Cousatte of Pryor at 1:16 in the third-place match.
“If he wasn't hurt, he probably would have been in the finals,” Gibson said. “Being off at Christmas will heal that.”
Caden Collins and Kobe Scott were fifth at 146 and 160, respectively, for the Wardogs.
Others placing for the Wardogs were Jordon Freeman, sixth, 113; Michael Horn, seventh, 170; Devon York, eighth, 120; Ian Stone, ninth, 126; Callan Cox, ninth, 195; Caden Glover, 10th, 182; Irvin Myers, 10th, 220; Tanner Payton, 11th, 152, and Raymond Sharp, 12th, 285.
“We are getting better,” Gibson said. “I am proud of our boys. I think every tournament we will continue to climb and get better.”
Gibson said the Wardogs would take this week off to get over injuries, “then get busy after Christmas.”
“School starts Tuesday (Jan. 5) and we wrestle (Grove) Tuesday night. We are both very evenly matched. It will be a good dual.”
The match will be held in the old high school gym.
Jim Ellis is managing editor of the Miami News-Record. He can be reached at 918-542-5533, ext. 3052, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mnrsportsguy.