Edison’s Jerome Townsell a Three-Time Champ

GTR Sports Writer

THE WINNER: Edison’s Jerome Townsell is declared winner by the official after he pinned his opponent in the Class 5A 182-pound championship final in February in Oklahoma City. 

Courtesy OSSAA

Jerome Townsell made history last February when he became a three-time state champion for Tulsa Edison High School.

A senior at the time, Townsell won the Class 5A 182-pound final in the state wrestling tournament in Oklahoma City. It marked his second at that weight and third overall. He won at 170 pounds as a sophomore.

Townsell won within a minute, forcing a pin to Muhammad Al Zeragi of Lawton Eisenhower at :56 into the match. The win also marked Edison’s first ever three-time state champion since the program revived nearly a decade ago.

Being humble, yet conservative and aggressive, were the keys for Townsell, he says.

“I made first contact into it and after we went out of bounds the first time, I was determined to keep pushing and overassert myself into the match itself. I wanted to make sure I kept pressure on him 24/7 and let him know I’m here and this is where I belong,” Townsell says.

There was one match early in the year that Townsend dwelled on to make sure it wouldn’t repeat itself.

“Throughout the year, I had one bad hiccup (a loss) where I wasn’t humble enough and I just have to remember it,” Townsend says. “I always have to stay humble no matter who they (the opponent) are. You could get caught. This is a sport where a first-year kid can beat a kid who has wrestled almost all his life because he got caught doing something he shouldn’t have. Anybody can get lucky. You just have to wrestle level-headed hard and be very humble.”

Townsell, who is moving on to wrestle collegiately at the University of Central Oklahoma, always works to get done with his matches quickly, which is why he had a pin in each match at state.

“I love getting off the mat as fast as I can so that no one can see what I may have in store for maybe a bigger match,” Townsell says. “Nobody can really scout me out. Not only that, it is really joyful inflicting a point of dominance. Just knowing that I finished the match in a certain amount of time. I try to keep it generally as fast as I can.”

The leadership at , which is coached by Todd Steidley, is what drew Townsend to the Edmond school.

“There are a lot of good coaches there,” he said. “My high school coach recommended me going up there. As I met the coaches myself, I really saw some nice people. You can tell they have a lot of talent. They can coach really well. Also, they have a really good mechanical engineering program up there and I really want to take part in it.”

After committing to , he was pursued by South Carolina, who is coached by former OU coach Mark Cody. But, he wanted to stick to his commitment.

Townsell dedicated his state championship to two people. His aunt, who passed away during his junior year, and Ray Nunneley, a supporter of the program.

Nunneley coached Edison in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s and helped revive the program within the past decade. He had a long-time vision of Edison having a three-time state champion. But, sadly, he passed away last September and did not get to see Townsell make that vision become reality.

“It really hit pretty hard,” Townsell says. “Nobody was ready for that. With that happening during football season, we dedicated our homecoming football game to him. Going into the season, we knew that a lot of the stuff we were doing was for him and to make sure we have a successful season.”

Townsell got to see Nunneley a lot growing up.

“The best part about knowing Ray was how he always took care of some of the wrestlers with financial needs,” he says. “He was really kind throughout the years. We saw him a lot at tournaments, which was really great. But, he always kept us afloat, whether we needed financial stuff for new singlets, warmups or anything else.  He has always been a big help for that.”

Of course, winning state meant a lot in memory of Nunneley.

“(Jim) Harper (Edison coach) would tell me you know who this is for and I wouldn’t forget it,” Townsell says. “Going into it, knowing that he wanted to be here for it, it was always in the back of my mind and I always wanted to reassure that it was something he wished for that would have been done.”

Updated 07-24-2018

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