Grove wrestlers takedown the competition at the Oklahoma Kids Wrestling Association Novice State Championship tournament on Saturday, January 25, 2020. 94 teams from across the state entered the tournament.
Grove Takedown Club, or GTC, entered eight youth wrestlers into the competition: Phillip Shield, 6th Place (Division 1 - 66 Pounds); Brantly Bergmann, (Div 2 - 55 lbs); Bryson Gelinas, 5th Place (Div 2 - 64 lbs); Weston Mathia, Champion (Div 2 - 83 lbs); Ricky Kantor, Runner-up (Div 2 - HWT); Daxton Bergmann, 5th Place (Div 3 - 55 lbs); Riley Casey, 3rd Place (Div 4 - 88 lbs); Kason Threet, Champion (Div 4 - 130 lbs).
Mathia (4-0) and Threet (3-0) became Champions in their respective divisions. Both wrestlers pinned their way to victory in all of their bouts, and demonstrated a dominating performance over their competition. Mathia needed only a combined total of 2:48 minutes to finish off all 4 of his opponents. Threet pinned his first opponent with only 3 seconds remaining, and stuck both of his next two opponents in the second period.
Brantly and Daxton Bergmann had strong performances in their age and weight categories. Brantly Bergmann was the only female wrestler to compete for GTC, and won one match by pin. Brantly is entering the sport of wrestling as girls teams are becoming more popular in clubs, local schools, and colleges throughout the country. Daxton had some tough losses throughout the day, but made small victories and improvements in his experience.
Casey quickly advanced to the semi-finals and suffered a close loss, but battled back in the consolation bracket to win 3rd place. Had his opponent in the semi-finals won first place, Casey would have had an opportunity to challenge for second. That scenario and opportunity did not play out. Casey finished with a 3-1 record on the day.
Gelinas entered the tournament in his first season as a Grove wrestler with only 5 competitions under his belt. Gelinas’ bracket proved to be one of the largest and most competitive brackets of the day. Gelinas lost his very first match, wrestled back through the consolation side, winning four in a row, and finished the day with 5th place and a 5-2 record. His only two losses came down to the end of the 3rd period with Gelinas leading in both matches, and his opponents coming back for the victory.
Shield was the youngest wrestler to compete for GTC. Shield fought through 5 matches and ended with a 2-3 record losing close matches, and by one takedown to one of the finalists in his bracket. Shield is a 5 year old 66 pounder who will be a powerhouse for Grove Ridgerunners.
The most exciting match of the day was the Division 2 Heavyweight Championship bout. Although the score did not reflect what the spectators witnessed, Kantor put on a dominating performance against his opponent who was a giant in size comparison. A controversial call by the referee in the second period left nine year old Kantor in an emotional tailspin when he was on the brink of turning his opponent to his back. Kantor thought he heard the referee blow the whistle, and stood up off his opponent. The referee then allowed the opponent to stand to his feet, gave his opponent one point, and restarted the wrestlers in neutral position. Kantor rode his opponent for almost the entire 2nd and 3rd period, but could not muster the strength to drive his opponent over, and ran out of time. The 3rd Place wrestler then challenged Kantor for his Silver medal. Kantor gathered his emotions and used them to pin his challenger in the first period to maintain his 2nd Place finish.
Coaches Bergmann, Shield, and Mathia were not surprised at the results. Grove Takedown Club Head Coach Cory Crittenden’s strength and conditioning regimen has proven effective year after year. The wrestlers used all of the skills the coaches taught them, and left all of their hard work and training on the mat. For this reason the coaches couldn’t be more proud of Grove Takedown Club novice wrestlers.