February 3, 2014

Narrow Latham win highlights Chickasha tourney

Adam Troxtell
The Express-Star


A dramatic ending to two full days of wrestling at the Chickasha Sports Arena included Chickasha senior Josh Latham narrowly preserving his undefeated record, an overtime win for Tuttle in the heavyweight final, and the removal of an assistant coach from the building.

Beginning Friday at noon, hundreds of wrestlers from 24 teams across the state converged for the Chickasha tournament, and the weekend results did not disappoint for one local team. Tuttle went into Saturday evening with eight wrestlers in the final, and all of them won. That helped the Tigers to win the team title by 81.5 points. 

Chickasha had one champion by the time it all ended, but that could have been very different. Latham, Chickasha's undefeated senior and defending state champion, defeated Western Heights' Harley Stanley 3-2 in the 195-pound final. This match took Latham to the limit, as he had easily disposed of his opponents in the previous rounds. The most time Latham spent on the mat before the final was 34 seconds, grabbing pins in both the quarterfinal and semifinal matches.

Stanley proved a more difficult test, but a take down in the first round gave Latham a 2-1 lead heading into the second. An escape early in that round put him 3-1 up.

It was 3-2 late in the third round after Stanley got an escape of his own, and that put Latham on the defensive to avoid a take down. As the clock wound down, Stanley was granted the match winning two points when he appeared to have brought Latham down on the edge of the mat. 

But it wasn't a clear-cut decision, and there was a discussion between the two officials over whether or not Latham had escaped the hold before being brought down or if he was fully outside the circle. The match officials reversed the initial decision, which gave Latham the victory.

That wasn't enough for one Western Heights assistant coach, who was immediately in protest on the mat. The argument became so heated that the coach was told to leave the area, and security was called in to assist. This led to a face-off between the coach and the security guard on duty, which spiraled out the back door of the arena. 

Another narrow match went against Chickasha in the 160-pound division. Senior Triston Hill fell 3-2 to Blane Culp of Piedmont. Culp won the match with a reversal in the third round, and that came after Hill got the only take down of the match. Hill was on the cusp of securing a point for an escape when the seconds wound down.

Dakota Resendez and Riley Williams medaled for Chickasha by winning their third place matches. Resendez won 2-1 over Michael Lopez of Piedmont in the 120-pound class. He took a 2-0 lead out of the first round and held off Lopez for the win.

Williams' win came against a familiar face, long-time friend Brody Largent of Piedmont. Williams won it in a close battle, 6-5, as both wrestlers concentrated on their attack. Williams and Largent will have been very familiar with each other, since they have wrestled both on the mat and in practices since they were small kids in the youth ranks.