Broken Arrow Express
Photos courtesy of Broken Arrow Athletic Department
Another year. Another group of champion wrestlers.
Four names were added to Broken Arrow’s list of championship wrestlers for 2017 as sophomores Gavin Potter and Zach Marcheselli, along with seniors Skyler Haynes and Trenton Lieurance took first in their respective weight classes at the state tournament in Oklahoma City in late February.
Potter was the Class 6A 182-pound champion. Only one point was needed for Potter, as he beat Easton Rendleman of Choctaw, 1-0. Marcheselli won the 195-pound title as he pinned Edmond North’s Blake Minnick at 2:57. Haynes, who overcame an injury that kept him out early in the season, edged Delvin Jordan of Sand Springs, 3-2 in the 220-pound title match, and Lieurance won 285, beating Gage Johnson of Norman North, 3-2 in an ultimate tiebreaker.
Having captured titles last year, the wins made Marcheselli and Haynes two-time state champions. But it was the first for Potter and Lieurance.
The lone point in Potter’s match came on an escape.
Nothing happened in the first period, Potter says, looking back. He broke from Rendelman’s grip to get the escape point in the second period.
“In the second period, I got out with 1:30 left, so it was kind of like we were on our feet for the whole time. He shot in for a takedown, and there is like a scramble and he almost took me down, then I fought that off and then he didn’t shoot again in that period. I ended up on top, but it could have ended up either way,” Potter says.
Potter had wrestled Rendelman twice before in the year, splitting with him in the regular season, but the third time was the toughest. Potter won the first match by the same score as mid-season in the Geary Invitational Tournament, but Rendelman won the second battle at dual state, 8-4.
When Potter lost to Rendelman, he knew he was going to face him again in the state tournament, and he saw that as a challenge.
Ultimately, he overcame.
“I was more happy to win it for my team than to win it for myself,” Potter says.
Lieurance (36-4) had to go four extra periods before beating Johnson. Like Potter, it also took an escape to win. It was the first state championship for Lieurance since he was in middle school. He placed both his sophomore (4th) and junior (3rd) years.
Besides the fact he won state, Lieurance ended a four-match drought to Johnson, dating back to last year. His last win against the Norman North contender came his sophomore year.
“It was really good (to get state) because he had previously beaten me two times this year,” Lieurance said.He also lost to Johnson at state last year, which sent him to the consolation bracket. “I made a bad mistake and he countered on it, was able to get some points,” Lieurance says. “He made it to the finals and ended up getting beat.”
In his first loss to Johnson this season, which came in the Geary Tournament, Lieurance was caught in a body lock. “He basically threw me down. I just got out of my stance and basically did not have my focus and it resulted in him beating me,” he says.
They had another close match at regionals.
In state, Lieurance would have his turn to shine.
“That moment made me really happy because it wasn’t just a normal match,” Lieurance says. “I had become a state champion after I had beaten him. I should have been a two-timer. I should have won state last year. I should have made it to the finals because I would have beat the dude there, but it was a great feeling, like I’ve never had that feeling before.”
Unfortunately, Broken Arrow came up five points short of winning the team championship as San Springs took it with 129.5 points. The Tigers had 124.
“It was really disappointing that they (Sand Springs) beat us in state,” Potter says. “I was really thinking that we were going to come through at state, but we didn’t.”
“It was pretty devastating that we lost to them by only five points, because that’s only one match, one pin, and we lost. It was really bad,” Lieurance says.
Haynes’ win at 220 was the only championship that involved a Broken Arrow-Sand Springs battle. The Sandites also beat the Tigers at dual state two weeks earlier.
However, it was still a memorable night for Broken Arrow with their four champions along with a runner-up finish from Tyler Lawley (120 pounds), a third-place finish Caleb Wise (160) and fourth-place for Bryce Mattioda (138).