By Matt Goisman
McALESTER — In all but one weight class, whichever wrestler had a better first round ended up winning his match.
In nine of Tuesday’s 14 matches, that wrestler wore a blue Pryor Tigers singlet, leading to a 51-19 win against the McAlester Buffaloes at McAlester’s Bob Brumley Gymnasium.
“Almost 93 percent of the time, the first point scored wins, so that’s huge,” said Pryor coach Roger White, a former McAlester wrestling coach. “I think the other 7 percent are new wrestlers that don’t know how to push themselves.”
Counting matches that ended with first-round falls, Pryor outscored McAlester in the first round by a combined score of 42-12. Three falls in a row by Pryor middleweight wrestlers Cody Foos, Kelvin Grubbs and Chase Biggs, pushed Pryor’s lead to 30-10.
Tanner Hughes then beat McAlester’s Jonathan Herrick in the 160-pound weight class, with Hughes taking a 2-0 lead with a first-round takedown and ultimately winning the match 11-5. Caleb Reece then pinned James Remedi in the 182-pound weight class, giving Pryor an insurmountable 26-point lead with three matches left.
“We’re not where we’re going to be as far as physical (strength),” Buffs coach Tim Thomas said. “I probably had three guys in the lineup that didn’t wrestle all through the break that we just had or the week before because of some kind of sickness. And then I also had three football players in the lineup that came out yesterday.
“So shape was definitely an issue for about half our lineup.”
McAlester’s two biggest victories came from wrestlers who’ve recorded very little practice time this season. Despite battling bronchitis the last two weeks, Buffs senior Hunter Scott still pinned Lance Linvingston just 58 seconds into the 133-pound weight class, at the time cutting Pryor’s lead to 12-10.
“I was just going to try to end it as fast as I could, because I just got over being sick,” Scott said.
Buffs junior Riley Smith, meanwhile, just joined the team, his football season having ended Saturday. Despite a lack of practice, Smith still scored the quickest win of the night, almost immediately taking down Josiah Gauger, then pinning him 42 seconds into the first round to win the 220-pound weight class and cut the deficit to 39-13.
“I think he’s also in our kid’s head, because our kid knew that was Riley Smith, (who placed) third in the state last year,” White said. “That’s huge in this sport; it’s so mental.
“I was impressed overall. I was impressed with our effort, and it’s something we can build off of, for sure.”
No Tiger pinned a Buff wrestler in the first round, but Grubbs led his team by pinning Richard Plancarte 21 seconds into the second round of the 145-pound match. Grubbs nearly pinned Plancarte twice in the first round, scoring a two-point and a three-point near-fall and leading 7-0 after the first round.
“If you break your guy in the first period, then that second period, they’re going to be coming out there and the whole mindset’s going to be different,” Grubbs said.
While in most cases whoever won the first round ultimately won the match, McAlester 170-pound wrestler Kole Rollins proved to be the exception, winning his first varsity match. Down 2-1 after the first round, Rollins scored a two-point near-fall in the second to go up 3-2, then ultimately won 4-2 when Pryor gave him an automatic escape before the third round but couldn’t tie the match with a takedown.
“I kinda just kept my cool and knew that I’ve come back in matches before and didn’t give up,” Rollins said.
“I was able to keep him on his back for a two-count.”
Buffs senior Donald Cannon put his team on the board with a 12-4 win against Konnor Godwin in the 126-pound weight class that made it 9-3 Tigers. Three of Godwin’s points came because Cannon allowed him to escape and then took him down immediately, trading one-point escapes for two-point takedowns to build his lead.
With the win, Pryor improved to 2-0, and McAlester dropped to 0-2. Pryor also won the junior high dual-meet Tuesday, 49-27, improving to 1-1 and dropping the Jr. Buffs to 0-2.
Of Pryor’s nine junior high matches won, seven came via fall. Of McAlester’s five wins, four came via fall.
Contact Matt Goisman at firstname.lastname@example.org.