GOOD MOVE: Edison wrestler Jerome Townsell gets Shawnee’s Caleb McClaurin on his back in their Class 5A 182-pound championship match in February in Oklahoma City. Townsell won the match, 8-1.
Courtesy Edison Wrestling
Jerome Townsell, a 182-pound junior wrestler at Edison, earned his second straight state championship in February. He accomplished the feat when he earned an 8-1 decision against Caleb McClaurin of Shawnee, taking home the gold from his weight class in Class 5A at the state tournament in Oklahoma City.
It was another memorable moment in this Eagle’s wrestling career. But this one was more special. Townsell endured a season of adversity. He suffered the loss of a family member, went through a period of having the flu, followed by an elbow injury that he incurred in the state semifinals.
His great aunt, Donna Johnson, passed away in December.
“(Winning state) was very meaningful because she was a big supporter of mine,” Townsell says. “She wasn’t there for it (to see him win state), but my uncle was, and we thought, ‘We got to get this next one for her.’”
As the season went on, more hardships came for him to overcome.
Townsell became sick with the flu around Christmastime. He had caught on to a bug that had stricken the team for awhile, his coach, Jim Harper says.
“We went through a phase where our entire team was sick with the flu a little bit,” Harper says.
Through the hardships, Townsell kept winning.
He had a record of 34-1 on the season. His only loss came to Alex Kauffman of Vinita in the Catoosa Tournament in mid-January. Kauffman went on to win state at 182 in Class 3A.
“Once he experienced that loss, it catapulted him for the rest of the season. It didn’t happen again,” Harper says.
Townsell’s career record is 110-10. He enforced 25 pins this year.
Next came the elbow hyperextension at the state tournament.
“He overcame a lot of obstacles just to get to the point of where he was,” Harper says. “At the state tournament, we had seen the maturation of it, because he won by combined scores of 37-1 in his matches.”
The lone point against him came in the final. He won his first-round and semifinal matches, respectively by scores of 14-0 and 15-0.
“That’s not done that often. He was that dominant,” Harper says.
The hyperextension of his elbow was in the state semifinal. Despite that, he still won the match by 15 points, getting awarded a technical fall at 4:32 into the match.
“He had a pretty good lead,” Harper says. “It was 8-0 or 9-0 when he came down on it wrong, and he was able to finish it out, really, without calling a timeout. It was after the match that pain started setting in.”
Townsell had ice applied to his elbow. A trainer was also there to look at it and taped him up at the final the next night. All that became more challenging for him, but he did come back to win when he needed to most.
“At the final, he was basically wrestling with one arm,” Harper says.
“My arm was taped up so much that I couldn’t get it past my normal point,” Townsell says. “It felt pretty snug, which was good. But in the second period, it started hurting. I went out of bounds, but right after that, we kept going. As long as I was moving, it wasn’t that bad.”
Once the match was over and he tasted the victory, the moment was special.
“It felt really good,” Townsell says. “I got to say my first time, it was really exciting to have everybody there. But this one did mean a little bit more to me because it was all for my aunt. I still had most people come over to watch. It was really nice, because when I looked up at my family, it was really great because they knew what it was for.”
Now he faces an offseason to rehab the injury, preparing for his senior year.
Freestyle is in the plans for Townsell’s offseason. He also plays football for Edison and will be involved there.
“He’ll be ready,” Harper says.
The Eagles also had another placer in Eric Hussaini, who took fourth at 106 pounds. Hussaini became the first freshman in Edison wrestling history to place at state. It was also Edison’s third consecutive year to place in the top 10 (Eagles took 10th with 31.5 points), as well as having a freshman to qualify for state. Hussaini came to Edison from Blue-T.