Broken Arrow Express
CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Broken Arrow wrestler Skyler Haynes takes down Mustang’s Kaden Truelove in the Class 6A 195-pound state championship match.
Broken Arrow’s Skyler Haynes is a defending state champion on the mat. He hopes to repeat that in February at the state wrestling tournament in Oklahoma City.
The challenge that awaits him is not just the fact he is competing at a new weight, but he’ll be persevering through the recovery of an injury.
Haynes, a senior, also plays football and was injured in late August, when he was dealt an ACL injury. He tore a meniscus in his left knee in the Tigers’ season opener at Euless (Texas) Trinity.
As a result of the injury, Haynes, who played safety, saw his season on the gridiron end and the start of his wrestling campaign get delayed.
“It’s been very hard,” Haynes says. “It’s kind of like a learning experience for me because I have only sat out a few times in my high school career, so taking a lot of time off this year has been kind of, I wouldn’t say stressful, but kind of like a wake-up call.”
Haynes was the state medalist (195 pounds) last year in Class 6A and was a runner-up (182) as a sophomore year. He plans to compete at 220 upon his return. He took up the sport of grappling in sixth grade, at the encouragement of his father, who once also wrestled.
“Growing up, I played a lot of team sports, and I like football and basketball,” Haynes says. “So when I came to wrestling, it was more individual. I felt like I could be more successful, so I like that aspect more because I like winning a lot. When I took that on, I think I treasured the most from it.”
Haynes lost a decision to Jordan Deringer of Stillwater the year he finished runner-up.
“There were lessons taken in from that match because I didn’t win,” Haynes says.
He believed developing more in experience made a difference in winning a year ago, where he beat Kaden Truelove of Mustang, 6-2, in the final.
“Just more time on the mat kind of helped with that and getting a little more confidence going into the state match,” Haynes says.
Haynes says the key to winning state last year was catching Truelove on his back at the beginning of the match.
“It kind of opened up the score,” Haynes says. “When that happened, it kind of opened it up. The week prior, I wrestled him in the regional tournament, and it was a closer score.”
When he won state, it didn’t come as a surprise to him.
“It was kind of like I was expecting to win that year since I fell short the year before,” Haynes says. “I kind of knew it was going to happen, but it was good to know that it actually happened.”
He considers that match as his favorite so far in his high school career, followed by the title match he lost.
What does he believe to be the key for another state championship? “I just need to stay out of positions that would hurt my knee and I should be okay.”