One of these teams strives to continue their momentum after their best season in school history. The other, reigning champions with the most successful history in 5A wrestling. Size of school never matters for this sport. For wrestling, it’s of the strength, grit, and will of the athlete. There are no backups, no timeouts, and no excuses. As a wrestler, show your opponent weakness, and he will show you the ceiling. The Cardinal wrestlers are a dominating force that defeated the 5th place in 6A State, Owasso Rams, narrowly 31-43, but the Rams have new momentum this season with their still new coaching staff. Mike Ryan is at his third season as Head Coach of Owasso’s wrestling team and is expecting an even better season than the last. The Rams are hopeful and ready to prove themselves, which is often a foreshadow to upsets. So, this story was well needed heading into the dual between the 6A Owasso Rams and the 5A Collinsville Cardinals.
Owasso is coming off a 47-21 loss against No. 4 Broken Arrow, the 2017-18 Dual State Runner-up. To be only 26 points behind a stacked 6A team, many would argue that it wasn’t a bad day for Owasso, but Broken Arrow had three forfeits due to the flu. Collinsville, however, is coming off a major 50-27 victory over the Coweta Tigers. Collinsville is not hoping but expecting even more triumph this 2018-19 season. Both teams have very young wrestlers ready to prove themselves on the varsity mats. But here’s where it separates: Collinsville’s new bloods are Cameron Steed at 106lbs, Jordan Williams at 113lbs, and Jordan Cullors at 126lbs. Each of these wrestlers have appeared in major tournaments such as the Iron Man and the Super 32. Each are freshman, who are reigning champs in countless areas. Can Cardinal fans expect three easy wins here? It’s possible, but Owasso has a lot of untested wrestlers that are simply unpredictable this early, but there is a twist. Former Cardinal wrestler and 5A State qualifier, Jarred Campbell is now wrestling at 113lbs with the Owasso Rams for his Senior year.
Campbell will be taking on Jordan Williams, who has already been seen on Flowrestling broadcasts last year. It will be certainly interesting to see these two wrestle. I have, personally, never seen a wrestler more smooth and precise in wrestling than Williams, but Campbell is older and has had arguably more experienced mat time. I have also witnessed campbell take down State Champions and come in clutch under pressure in his 9th and 10th grade years at Collinsville. One thing going for the freshman Williams, he has a huge amount of momentum after winning the Mid-American National Tournament in Enid last week.
Going forward, Collinsville has two returning State Champions, Rocky Stephens at 120lbs and Caleb Tanner at 132lbs. Another interesting twist is that Owasso’s one returning 6A State Qualifier, Zeke Washington, will be wrestling against Tanner on Tuesday. Tanner is incredibly strong and simply does not make mistakes, but Washington is a Senior on the hunt to make a standout performance for his final season. As a fan, I can’t picture Tanner actually losing a match. As a reporter, I can predict this match coming down to the wire with Tanner on top. But as a former wrestler, I remain silent because I know anything can happen on the mat.
Another hopeful perspective for Owasso is how Collinsville endured a very long and tiring football season. One that left Eli Benham (alt 126lbs), Kolten Allphin (152lbs), Haden Knight (170lbs), Gabe Lyon (182lbs), Zach Morris (220lbs), and Kaden Jones (HWT) outside of the wrestling room and not in proper wrestling shape. Although Coach Harding is not new to this in any way, fans witnessed some cardinals quickly gas out against Coweta. Collinsville has stepped farther from this weakness, as Allphin, Morris, and Jones all were quite successful in last week’s Mid-American National Tournament in Enid. In that same tournament, Lyon had to medically be pulled due to a knee injury. The sophomore is expected to wrestle against Owasso, but has been held to limited practice. Caleb Tanner, also hurt his knee in practice last week and did not compete in Enid. He has resumed practice under close watch, but he is expected to wrestle against the Rams. Conner Henson was disqualified, for reasons not reported, at the tournament in Enid. Because of this, he is unable to wrestle at 138lbs against Owasso. So, Clay Montes, sophomore, will most likely wrestle in his place. Henson has been seen at practice with the team, but will not return to competition until the following week
The dual still is rather unpredictable. The Cards have a hole at 195lbs, which could cost them if these new wrestlers standout. On the downside for Owasso, the Rams hold only two Seniors and a handful of Juniors who competed at the varsity level the previous season. The Juniors for Owasso are Killian McNichol (113lbs), Mark Turner (132lbs), Scott Ghavami (195lbs), and Devin Harris (220lbs). I f there will be any lineups moving for Owasso, I expect one for Ghavami up to 220lbs and Harris to HWT if the dual is in range of victory. It will happen for Collinsville if Caleb Tanner does not wrestle, then I expect Williams to move up or Eli Benham to wrestle at 132lbs or 126lbs. Also, Clay Montes has been reported 6lbs over weight this morning to wrestle at 138lbs. If Montes does not make weight, I then see Tanner moving up in his place with Eli Benham at 132lbs, or Benham wrestling at 138lbs.
The dual will certainly be a fantastic one for all sides. An amazing dual between 5A and 6A State competing teams, and between town neighbors, will certainly be worth attending. I predict for Collinsville to come out on top in this dual, but the Rams need to put on a showing against this team, whose aiming for another championship, if they want to build at all off of last season.