By Michael Kinney
Christian Rowland has a long memory. The defending state champion doesn’t forget past slights or defeats.
So when he took the mat Saturday afternoon and faced off with Adley Bufford in the championship match of the COAC tournament, he knew exactly what to expect. The big man from Edmond Santa Fe had pinned Rowland at the Mid-American Nationals a month ago and Rowland hadn’t forgotten.
Rowland made sure it was a different out the second time around. He pinned Bufford in the second period to claim the conference championship in the 285-pound division. at Southmoore.
Coming into the match, Rowland said he had to bring a different mindset compared to the first time.
“The last time I wrestled him, I underestimated him. I thought he was a scrub,” Rowland said. “Coach told me no matter who you’re wrestling, you better be ready for a six-minute match. That was my mindset after this.”
Yet, despite the victory, Rowland still found flaws to pick at.
“I wish I would’ve shot more,” Rowland said. “Trying to get those incorporated into my wrestling, but thought I wrestled okay.”
However, he still feels he got his message across to Bufford, in case they have to meet up again.
“He can’t hang with me,” Rowland said.
With just a few more weeks left in the regular season, Rowland wants to start sharpening his skills in order to defend his state title.
“I’m wrestling pretty good. I’d like to do better, but I’m not satisfied at all. But we’ll get there, which is shooting,” Rowland said. “Something I have to build confidence in. I know I’m a good shooter, it’s just, I’ll get in a match and I just don’t have the confidence to.”
But that is something he plans to work in his remaining matches.
“I don’t want to go full match with anybody,” Rowland said. “I want to destroy all my competition.”
One of the best matches of the day took place between Mustang’s John Wiley and Stillwater’s Angelo Ferrari in the q160-pound division.
Wiley, who is ranked No. 5 in the nation, entered the third period with a 5-2 advantage.
However, Ferrari was able to pick up a takedown with just seven seconds left in the match to earn the 7-6 victory over the Oklahoma signee.
Story/Photo from Michael Kinney Media