ENID — Elgin’s wrestling team reached the pinnacle of the Class 5A mountaintop, as they claimed their first-ever Dual State Championship with three convincing wins over ranked opponents last week at the Stride Bank Center.
“This was unique,” head coach Cody Rowell said. “This group of kids have been with me since they were in junior high and grade school. I’ve watched ‘em grow up and chase their dream, and to see them achieve that was incredible.”
The Owls defeated No. 2 Coweta 40-27 in the championship dual to earn the state title. Elgin tallied 40 or more points in each of the three duals, with wins over Pryor in the first round and Collinsville in the semifinal matchup.
Elgin received key victories at 144 pounds and 150 pounds, as Dominik Benedetto defeated Coweta’s Brock Roberts 4-2 and Jack Anglley scored an 11-5 decision over Mason Kidd. Roberts is ranked No. 3 in his weight class, and Kidd is ranked No. 2 at 150 pounds.
The Owls held a slim 19-18 lead heading into Benedetto’s match but soon led 25-18 after the two victories by Benedetto and Anglley. Elgin’s Gabe Dittmeyer then pinned Coweta’s Ben Mendenhall to pad the Owl lead to 31-18.
Coweta tallied wins in the next two matches to draw within 31-27, but Elgin’s Ritson Meyer scored an 8-2 decision at 190 pounds and Colyn Donnelly pinned Coweta’s Raice Speaks to seal the dual win and the state crown.
“Those two (Benedetto and Anglley) were big,” Rowell said. “They were up against highly ranked opponents so when they won those two matches, we knew on paper, we should probably win. Winning this state championship makes a lot easier to come in and train on Monday morning. We plan to keep our focus and our feet on the pedal because now we have a target on our back. We don’t want to lose our focus the next two weeks.”
Elgin began action in the Class 5A West Regional Friday with preliminaries followed by the finals, which are set for Saturday. The tournament is being held at Carl Albert High School. The finals will be wrestled starting at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Rowell anticipates that “eight or nine” wrestlers will qualify for the state tournament, which is scheduled for Feb. 24-25.
“I think we have three or four who could compete for regional titles and several others who could place,” the coach said.
Elgin dominated Pryor in the first round of Dual State with a convincing 48-18 victory last Friday. On Saturday, the Owls had little trouble with Collinsville and disposed of the No. 5-ranked Cardinals 48-21 in the semifinal matchup.
Elgin jumped to a 15-0 lead over Collinsville with wins by Donnelly, heavyweight Shay Spencer and Brice Martin at 106 pounds. After losing the next two weights, Elgin won by pin at 132 pounds and injury default at 138 to lead 33-9.
Collinsville won the next three matches before Dittmeyer, Donnelly, Jovani Mullins and Meyer each claimed victories at their weights to win the dual and send the Owls into the finals against Coweta. Mullins and Meyer each recorded pins.