By Evan Grice
It seems like the Piedmont wrestling program is hitting its stride at just the right time.
Following their eighth straight dual victory last Thursday over Guthrie on the road, the Wildcats followed it up with a solid third place team finish at the Chickasha Wrestling Invitational tournament this past weekend.
Piedmont finished with six wrestlers in the semifinals, but it was Blane Culp (160) who brought home the lone championship for the Wildcats from the tournament.
PHS is off until the Dual State tournament which is scheduled for Feb. 15 at Yukon High School.
“I thought we wrestled well for the most part,” Piedmont coach Erik Ford said. “We left a few matches out there we should have won, but that’s how it goes when you wrestle tough competition. Our five tournaments have served us well this season. They’ve gotten us battle tested and gotten us ready for regionals. Overall, it wasn’t bad considering we had two guys out of the starting lineup.”
Culp found himself in a tough matchup in the finals against Chickasha wrestler Triston Hill, who had home mat advantage in the match.
However, even the hostile environment wasn’t enough to keep Culp from winning the title as he claimed a narrow 3-2 decision over Hill to win the tournament title.
Alex Cardenas joined his teammate in the finals in the 132 pound weight class, but ultimately fell to Tuttle’s Brik Filippo by a 4-2 decision.
Steven Sharp (106) and Reece Henry (138) both managed to claim third place overall in the tournament for the Wildcats along with Francisco Lopez in the 145 pound division.
Michael Lopez (126) and Brody Largent (182) both finished in fourth place overall for the tournament, with Chance Krumsiek (113) placing sixth place.
Piedmont 47 Guthrie 21
In their final dual of the regular season, the Wildcats showed they will head into dual state with plenty of momentum.
Facing the Blue Jays of Guthrie on the road, Piedmont never trailed as the Wildcats blew open a 10-6 dual and cruised to a 47-21 victory, giving PHS its eighth straight dual victory.
“We started off the year 0-2 in duals and then we won eight straight,” Ford said. “I think Del City woke us up to be honest. We should have won that won, and we didn’t wrestle our best. Since then we’ve been a lot more focused on our dual competitions and that’s what I feel has helped us win eight straight.”
Steven Sharp got the dual started with a 9-0 victory at 106 pounds over Dakota Walters, before Chance Krumsiek (113) collected a pinfall victory over Jarrott Gates to make the score 10-0 in favor of Piedmont.
A forfeit at 120 pounds got Guthrie on the board at 10-6, before Cade Sparks collected a 19-2 technical decision over Tyler Hickman at 126 pounds, putting Piedmont on top at 15-6.
Alex Cardenas won his match at 132 pounds, before Reece Henry fell to Tyler Mahan in the 138 pound match to make the team score 20-9 overall.
Francisco Lopez bounced back for the Wildcats at 145 pounds with a 6-0 victory over Joe Kuruvilla, before Jacob Tyler earned a forfeit victory at 154 pounds to give Piedmont a 29-9 lead.
Blane Culp also earned a forfeit victory at 160 pounds, before Darryl Burns fell 4-2 against Andrew Toney in the 170 pound match.
Tyler Banks gained a pinfall victory over Cooper Howard at 182 pounds before a forfeit victory for Brody Largent at 195 pounds sealed the dual for Piedmont.
Juan Guerrero and Matt Wyatt both lost the final two matches of the night at 220 and heavyweight.