Wrestling prepares for competition

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Hailey Williams, Smoke Rings

Connor Kelley subdues a fellow wrestler

As the Demon wrestlers headed for state in Oklahoma City, the nerves start to settle in.

Four of the wrestlers that qualified are senior Connor Kelly, Sophomore Conner Kinnard, Sophomore Hunter Kelly and Sophomore Jonathan Gomez. Of the four, Connor Kelly placed fourth.

According to senior Jett Gray, the sophomore class stood out and I felt as though they matured this year and proved they have what it takes to be good, and are willing to do it.

Being in the weight class of 128 lbs. which is the toughest weight class, is what motivates Gray.

Motivation was a key factor this season.

“Nothing is better than knowing you have one of the toughest weights in the state,” Gray said. “It makes you feel that much better when you win because you beat some of the best.”

Demon grapplers prepared for regional and state tournaments by running before school and working hard during practices. Tremendous time is spent preparing mentally. Gomez prepared by focusing mentally and concentrating on his weaknesses.

“Being a two-time state placer means nothing right now,” Gray said the week before state. “I just want to finish my high school career with a win and that’s all I’m focused on.”

Gray was beat out of regionals and would not be going to state for his senior year. Kelly spoke about the team’s lack of season experience.

“Our team is really young,” Kelly said. “We just need more experience for the young guys.”

Gray and Gomez agreed that the team will get stronger soon and continue to improve.

“As young as we were underclassmen showed great improvement and fight,” Gomez said.

Boston Brown and Tyler VanOven will be the only seniors next year. VanOven has wrestled all three years of high school. However, Brown took a break and then came back. Unfortunately, Brown is out for the season with a knee injury that  happened during a match against Lawton High.

Demon wrestlers that students look up to are Connor Kelly and Gray. Gomez said he has always looked up to these two since his first high school practice of wrestling.

“Connor and Jett push everyone to do their best and to work hard during practice,” Gomez said. “They’re great leaders on and off the mat.”

With the season being over, these athletes are looking forward to a new season full of success in future years.