Editors Note: In part two of our series titled "the road so far" we will take a look at the Ridgerunners wrestling program.
Ten years ago, Grove became the 2008 state 3A state wrestling champions and with the year they have been having they will be looking to repeat that feat in the 4A division.
Grove’s last state champion was Zach Housley, who has returned to work with the wrestling team.
Housley went 45-1 as a senior, boasts a career record of 153-16, and was named GHS male athlete of the year.
Wrestling has seen success after success this year earning an impressive dual record of 8-2.
The team suffered an early loss at their first dual in Vinita but so soon after football season many of the students were working to safely get back to their weight class.
Their first tournament at Bristow saw the team take sixth place with three grove students placing in the top three for their weight classes.
Their victory at the Jay dual marked the start of a winning streak for the team over opponents such as McDonald County, MO, Miami, Tahlequah, Oologah-Talala, Inola and another Miami win.
The team succeeded at placing first during the McAlester tournament, second at Skiatook and third at Miami.
Their most recent tournament was the Will Rogers Conference where the team placed sixth overall and had three students finish in the top three of their weight class.
While there is no singular reason behind the recent success of the Grove wrestling program it can in part be attributed to their coach John Henry Ward.
Coach Ward who was himself a state champion heavyweight wrestler at Yukon High School and an all-American wrestler at OU has helped to build a winning program in Grove.
The program also starts potential wrestlers out at a young age with participate in the Grove takedown club before graduating them into the junior high and subsequent high school programs.
With the current season, prospects for state have been having its looking good for the team.
This coming weekend marks the start of regionals and the top five wrestlers from each weight class move onto state.
There are several players from Grove that based on their record will be worth keeping an eye on for wrestling.
Student Name Weight Class
Skyler Hernandez 220
Matt Amos 195
Brendan Hernandez 152
Seth Willis 132
Gage Gates 126
Jaydale Whitlock 113
This coming weekend is where all of the hard work put in during the season will pay off.
For a video/photo review of the wrestling season can be viewed on facebook.com/grovesun or online at www.grandlakenews.com.
The media content used in the video was provided by members of the Grove High School athletic department and the booster club and complied by the Grove Sun sports department.