OKLAHOMA CITY – Piedmont’s wrestling team placed a program-record five wrestlers, earned its highest finish as a team and produced a state runner-up in its annual trip to the Class 5A state tournament at State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City Friday and Saturday.
Sophomore 220-pounder Josh Heindselman won by fall twice to reach the finals, where he lost a hard-fought 7-3 decision to Tulsa Bishop Kelley senior Matt Smith.
Wyatt Lewis (third), Fisher Johnson (third), Mason Moser (fourth) and Logan Chappell (fourth) rounded out Piedmont’s placers. Piedmont was fifth as a team.
“Overall, I can’t complain. It was a really good weekend for us,” head coach Erik Ford said.
Heindselman closes season in style
Josh Heindselman entered this season with one goal in mind. He wanted to qualify for the state tournament.
By the end of the 220-pound sophomore’s season, that goal probably seemed like a distant memory.
Heindselman wrestled in front of more than 7,500 fans Saturday night in the Class 5A state final, and although he didn’t get the desired result, the experience capped an incredible season.
“I felt like I had a pretty successful season,” the soft-spoken Heindselman said. “At the beginning, I just wanted to qualify for state. Then I wanted to place at state and then I wanted to win state.”
Along the way, Heindselman won 26 consecutive matches and notched a regional championship. He closed the season 36-5 overall with 13 of his wins coming in overtime. Fittingly, his final overtime win was a pin of Tahlequah’s Dustin Hicks in the state semifinals.
“Every time I got into overtime I felt like I should win,” he said. “That last win was definitely exciting.”
Ford couldn’t recall a wrestler under his tutelage with a stronger penchant for winning tight matches.
“Just a crazy year for him. He really started to catch fire after Christmas break,” Ford said. “He’s a competitor. I can’t say anything else about him. He knew if he pushed a match into that seventh minute he had a great chance.”
Heindselman also won by fall in his opening match at state against Korbin McLaughlin of Skiatook. He was Piedmont’s first underclassman to reach the state finals under Ford.
“He knows his strengths and he wrestles to them,” Ford said. “And he did it at what we call a grown man’s weight. At 220 pounds there aren’t a bunch of little kids out there.”
Recaps of other placers:
Fisher Johnson, 3rd (152): Johnson pinned first-round opponent Corbin Ballard of Claremore then defeated Teddy Thomas of Lawton Mac 7-6 to reach the third place match. There he beat Colby Graves of Guthrie 6-2 to take third.
Wyatt Lewis, 3rd (160): Lewis rallied from an opening round defeat with wins over Cade Cook of Duncan, Gunner Kreie of Tulsa East Central and Ryce Hakmaker (by fall) of Collinsville to take third.
Logan Chappell, 4th (126): Chappell, a junior, earned his third consecutive top four finish at state by beating Connor Henson of Collinsville in the opening round and Bennett Sherrer of Pryor in the consolation bracket.
Mason Moser, 4th (138): Moser won a 23-9 major decision over Enrique Barcenas of Shawnee and pinned Collin Elias of Tulsa Bishop Kelley in the consolation semifinals to reach the third place match where he lost 2-1 to Parker Price of Claremore.
Five other Wildcats take part in state tournament
Bo Hardy (113), Mitchell Lance (132), Hunter Johnson (170), Will Heindselman (182) and Dylan Meador (195) also qualified for state, but did not place. Hardy, Lance, Johnson and Heindselman will all return next season for Piedmont.