Guy Ellis

The Grove Ridgerunner wrestling team spent the weekend in Bulldog Country competing in the Jay Dual Tournament where the grapplers finished third in the final placing.

Sallisaw won the tournament with Casia Hall finishing as runner up. The hosting Bulldogs finished sixth of the ten teams present.

The Ridgerunners had seven wrestlers selected for individual medals at the meet. Damien Hopper (9-0), Connor Sarwinski (8-0), and Bryce Armstrong (7-0) received gold medals. Silver medals were awarded to Dusty Gehrke (8-1), Weston Culvey (7-1), Spencer Rutherford (8-1), and Zach Housley (8-1.)

Additionally, Hopper was awarded the Outstanding Light Weight wrestler for the event.

Jay’s Jimmy Roach (8-1) won a silver medal at the tournament. Trevor January (7-2), Nathan Pierot (7-2), and Izack Wilson (7-2) won bronze medals for the Bulldogs. Danny Bettelyoun (6-3) and Nick Reece (6-3) took home fourth place medals for Jay.

“There are always things we need to work on,” said GHS Wrestling Head Coach John Henry Ward. “Every tournament you go to and every dual we have you see little things.

“Overall the kids are getting better,” Ward continued. “They’re fighting a little harder. I think some of it is that they have a better understanding of what is expected from them.”

With the Jay tournament behind them the Ridgerunner squad will now begin preparations for the final leg of their season.

“The middle part of a wrestling season can sometimes be very un-fun,” said Ward. “You’re trying to make weight, and you’re beating on each other everyday at practice.

“We’re about past the middle part, we’ve got almost five weeks left, and so it’s time to start turning it on and push toward the finish. The kids are starting to sense that urgency a little bit,” Ward said.

The mix of returning starters and new faces of the Grove team is starting to gel according to the coach.

“We have some (upperclassmen) stepping up and trying to help lead the team,” said Ward. “With first or second year kids sometimes the simplest thing can be earth-shattering (for them.) We’ve had a few issues where kids are having a tough time and not getting much success and that can be frustrating for them. We’re just trying to keep them pointed in the right direction and help them understand that if they keep working then good things will happen.”

As the team moves from success to success the prognosis looks promising.

“They’re doing some really good things,” said Ward about his team. “and hopefully we’ll continue to do that and adjust to the little things.”

Jay Dual Tournament final results: 1. Sallisaw (8-1),  2. Casia Hall (7-2),  3.Grove (7-2), 4.Ft Gibson (6-3), 5.Owasso (6-3), 6.Jay (4-5), 7.Putnam City (3-6), 8.McDonald County (3-6), 9.Oologah (1-8), 10.Salina (0-9).

Grove results:  Grove 42, Jay 36; Grove 63, Salina 18; Grove 36, Casia Hall 39; Grove 32, Owasso 36; Grove 41, Putnam City 33; Grove 63, Oologah 19, Grove 39, Ft Gibson 36; Grove 52, McDonald County 30; Grove 38, Sallisaw 30.

Jay results: Jay 36, Grove 42; Jay 47, McDonald County 30; Jay 28, Owasso 48; Jay 27, Sallisaw 50; Jay 33, Casia Hall 46; Jay 52, Salina 24; Jay 60, Oologah 23; Jay 33, Ft Gibson 45; Jay 46, Putnam City 30.

Grove/Jay dual results: 103 lbs-Popp (G) d Sharp (J) F2; 112 lbs-Wangen (G) forfeit; 119 lbs-Hopper (G) d Bettleyoun (J) F3; 125 lbs-Housley (G) forfeit; 130 lbs-Rutherford (G) d Roach (J) 7-0; 135 lbs-Wilson (J) d Baker (G) F3; 140lbs-Speed (J) forfeit; 145 lbs- Pierot (J) d Leach (G) F1; 152-Sarwinski (G) d January (J) 5-0; 160 lbs-Gehrke (G) d Loomis F1; 171 lbs-Reece (J) d Fenlon (G) F3; 189 lbs-Stapleton (J) d Fitzgibbon (G) F1; 215 lbs-Culvey (G) d Buske (J) F1; HWT-York (J) d Johnson (G) F1.