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Wildcats fall to Wagoner at dual state

By Greg Evans

Piedmont’s first ever trip to dual state ended in the opening round last Saturday against Wagoner. The Wildcat wrestlers fought hard but the Bulldogs were able to pull away late and Piedmont fell 34-23.

The opening round of dual state starts at the 126 pound weight class. Alex Cardenas lost 8-5. Reece Henry (132 lbs.) lost by 4-2 in an overtime period and Piedmont fell behind 6-0.

Francisco Lopez (138 lbs.) got the Wildcats their first win of the day with a 7-1 decision.

Shelby Miller lost the 145 lbs. match by a score of 7-3 and Piedmont trailed 9-3.

Blane Culp scored four points for the Wildcats in the 152 lbs. match by winning 17-2 in the second period. Piedmont trailed 9-8.

Dryden Abla (160 lbs.) lost 5-2, Darryl Burns (170 lbs.) lost 12-1 and Brody Largent (182 lbs.) lost 15-9. Wagoner’s lead grew from one to 11 over the three matches.

Caleb Richter won the 195 lbs. match 4-1 to break the drought. Piedmont trailed 19-11.

Juan Guerrero lost by fall in his opening period and Piedmont trailed 25-11. Matt Wyatt won by forfeit at heavyweight to cut the deficit to 25-17.

Steven Sharp lost the 106 lbs. match by fall in the second period and Michael Lopez lost 8-6 in overtime to put Piedmont behind 34-17.

Coulton Parker won the 120 lbs. match by forfeit.

“There were a lot of nerves,” Culp said. “It’s a good atmosphere to come be a part of. Everyone knew their job but not all of us did it. A lot of it is mental; we have to all be mentally tough. All of us work really hard but our mindset has to be different.”

Dual state was the first time many of the wrestlers had been on the big stage.

“I don’t think we responded,” Coach Erik Ford said. “We left a little at the house (on Saturday). They were nervous but Wagoner was nervous too. If things go our way in four or five of those close matches, we could have gotten something going. It’s tough for us to have an off day on this stage.”

The Wildcat wrestlers now shift their focus to the individual postseason. The team will travel to Thomas Edison High School in Tulsa for the regional tournament. The first session of the regional tournament will start at noon on Friday, Feb. 15. The second session starts at 6 p.m. Saturday’s sessions are also at noon and 6 p.m.

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