Area wrestlers set for title bouts

Feb. 23—Nine area wrestlers are still in title contention after the second day of the 2024 Oklahoma High School Wrestling Championships.

The event will conclude Saturday in Oklahoma City at the State Fairgrounds Arena. The finals will begin at 6:30 p.m. The award presentations are at 9 p.m.

Abigail Rivero, Stillwater

Abigail Rivero, the 115-pound junior, can make a big mark in Stillwater High School athletics — when she'll wrestle to become the first Pioneer girl to win a state championship.

"I've been working since freshman year to go to state, place at state, and last year I got beat out at state," Rivero said. "Now, I can win state. Not only is it just for me, it's for all the girls to come behind me."

Rivero pinned Bixby's Larra Mullin in the third period. Coach Elizabeth Tidwell's confidence in her is through the roof going into the match with Kristen DeLaRosa.

"She's getting No. 1," coach Elizabeth Tidwell. "There's no doubt about it."

Rivero pinned DeLaRosa in the regional finals.

Stillwater boys

Aydan Thomas (113 pounds) was dominant in his 18-1 technical fall victory over Deer Creek's Nash Neely. The score was 12-0 after the first period.

He'll defend his state title against Mustang's Van Smith, who wrestled all the way to the championship bout from the wrestle-in match.

Julio Aguirre (126 pounds) won a 2-0 in sudden victory over Edmond North's Christian Belford.

Aguirre tried to get an early takedown in the first period, but he couldn't open Belford up. He rode the Husky out in the second period and couldn't escape in the third.

When the two matched up at the Geary Invitational, Belford did "something illegal," and he did it again. Aguirre was awarded a point.

"It wasn't pretty at all — but he battled — and good things come from that," Kyle said. "Really good effort on his part."

Aguirre is a state champion from Rose Hill, Kansas. He spent a year there because of trouble with the OSSAA.

But he always wanted the Oklahoma state title. He'll need to go through Bixby's Gage Walker to do it.

Walker teched Aguirre the first time they wrestled and won an 11-4 decision the second time.

"I'm getting closer and closer every time," Aguirre said. "I think I can upset him. I think I can really do something."

JJ McComas scored six points in the last five seconds of periods to win a 9-0 decision over Broken Arrow's Evan Rodriguez in the 132-pound match. He hopes to reclaim the state championship with a win over Bixby's Isaiah Jones.

Landyn Sommer (157 pounds) and LaDarion Lockett (165 pounds) easily defeated their opponents to finish Stillwater's day.

Sommer looks to go back-to-back, but he'll need to avenge a 6-5 dual state loss to Edmond North's Kody Routledge, the No. 6 wrestler in the nation at his weight.

Lockett can go back-to-back-to-back by beating Zander Grigsby of Sand Springs.

Pawnee boys

At 150 pounds, Grady Mittasch pinned Ty Thrasher of Lincoln Christian in 5:01 and sent himself to the championship match for the second straight year. Mittasch told the News Press he wants to finish his high school career with three state titles, but he needs to get his second first.

Mittasch will face Marlow's Zach Dawson in a rematch of the regional championship bout. Dawson has beaten Mittasch three times this year already.

"I'm pretty confident. I've been working on my feet, getting better," Mittasch said. "I just got to make sure I set my shots up. I can't take any crappy shots."

Kolbe Novotny upset the 3A east regional champion and 2023 state runner-up, Deacon Hendren, at 157 pounds.

Novotny will wrestle a Marlow kid in his final match, as well. Cade Gilbert is the defending state champion, and Novotny lost the title bout last year at 132 pounds.

Cash Waren, Perry

In a match between two area kids, Cash Waren got the best of Cale McPeek in the 190-pound semifinal.

"He had a game plan and he executed it well," Perry coach Ladd Rupp said. "I don't think he's satisfied or complacent at this point. I'm just here for the ride."

The only wrestler standing between Waren and the ultimate prize is Blackwell's Jason Osgood.

Waren and Osgood were both runners-up in 2023 at different weights. Waren lost to Kooper Doucet at 215 pounds, and Osgood lost to Perry's own Kaleb Owen at 175 pounds.

One of them will accomplish what they couldn't then.