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Jenks Gazette

Drake Vannoy Brings State Championship to Jenks


In his first year at Jenks, Drake Vannoy has won a state championship.

The sophomore move-in was victorious in a 5-3 decision against Sand Springs’ Kaleb Tabor in the 152-pound title bout of the Class 6A state wrestling meet Feb. 24 in Oklahoma City.

“I knew I was in control most of the match,” Vannoy says about his win.

His title was the Trojans’ first state champion since Que Overton won heavyweight in 2015. Overton is now wrestling and playing football at the University of Oklahoma.

“Winning state was a great feeling,” Vannoy says. “It’s great to know that after you worked for everything, all the working out in the morning, after school, finally, I can realize that I completed my goals and it’s over. It felt pretty good.”

Coaching, for sure, Vannoy says, factored into the key to his success.  

The state final was not the most memorable at the meet. His first-round match, his toughest, against a former workout partner was. The opponent was Kruz Simons of Edmond North, where Vannoy previously attended school. The match was his toughest.

“It was an overtime match,” Vannoy says. “It was close the entire time. In overtime, he got in deep when I shot, and I got out of it and scored, and it was over.”

Vannoy was a 7-5 winner over Simons.

“He worked out with him (Simons) last year,” Jenks coach Ray Weis says. “Because of that, it was an emotional match. But, that kid was a state champion two years ago and he got third in state last year, so the kid had a lot of credentials. He is a junior and is really a tough wrestler.”

Was the guy from Edmond North stunned?

“Yeah,” Vannoy says. “He was, because he used to beat me up.”

Vannoy finished the season with a match record of 37-4.

“It felt really good just knowing that I didn’t do as great as I could have last season and the fact that I could change that around and go from a 25-10 record to 37-4 is pretty great,” Vannoy says.

While improving in his record, Vannoy is loving his transition to Jenks.
“Everyone accepted me and my family with open arms,” he says. “I’ve had a great time.”

The thing this former Edmond North athlete likes most about wrestling is that it is an individual sport.

“You don’t have to worry about everyone else doing their job,” Vannoy says. “It’s just you and another dude, and the fact that you don’t have to depend a lot on everyone else. You can just go out there and work. There is no doubt whether you win or lose.”

There are no favorite moves Vannoy claims to have, but, his coach says he is best at a single-leg.

“Most of his points at the state tournament were from a single-leg,” Weis says. 

Vannoy says that his favorite wrestlers are Daton Fix and Kaden Gfeller, both freshman at Oklahoma State who are red-shirting this year. Both were four-time state champions in high school, respectively, at Sand Springs and OKC Heritage Hall. It’s their styles that Vannoy likes.

“Both of them went undefeated their entire high school career,” he says. “Both of them are so explosive, they are so dominant every second of the match. How they carry themselves on and off the mat is impressive.”

With a state title behind him, Vannoy now has an offseason ahead to focus on winning another. He already has physical resources at home.

“I do like to get up early in the morning just to work out. I wake up at 7 to work out at my own house because I have my own gym. I lift weights before school,” he says. 
“I will be freestyling a little bit and working out with Coach Weis and Brandon Elrod through the rest of the year and go to national tournaments in the summer. 

Like Vannoy, Elrod, who wrestles at 126, will also be a junior. Vannoy also said he plans to workout with teammates Austin Daniels (145), who graduates in May and Colt Freeman (170), who will be back as a senior.
“It is a great experience,” Vannoy says. 

Updated 04-19-2018

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