By Michael Kinney
NOBLE– After two days of competition, the Mustang girls wrestling team had one left standing when the final round of the regional tournament started. Despite having already wrapped up a return trip to the state tourney, Mia Cayard still had business to take care of Tuesday evening at Noble High.
Cayard faced off with Yukon’s Jocelyn Neal for the 145-pound regional title. As she has done throughout the season, Cayard won easily to take home the championship.
“I think I wrestled good,” Cayard said. “My ultimate goal was not to give up a single point and I did not give up a single point. So reached my goal.”
Neal didn’t make it easy for Cayard to show off her talents. Neal employed a more defensive strategy that seemed designed to not cause any mistakes that would get her beat.
Despite that, Cayard found a way to pick up points where she could and had her hand raised after three periods of action.
“It’s pretty tough, especially when someone’s so closed off,” Cayard said. “Trying to open them up a bit. Trying to work my positions and whatnot. So, it’s a little difficult, but just got to work to it.”
Cayard will be heading to her second straight 6A State Wrestling Championships. They begin next week at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds.
No other Mustang wrestler placed in the top five in their division so Cayard will be the only representative at state.
After losing in the finals last year, Cayard wants to finish the job this time around.
“It feels great. Going back in there, showing them what I got,” Cayard said. “Doing this for girls wrestling itself. So, trying to make everyone else proud.”
However, when the day ended, the Yukon saw all four of their wrestlers come up short in the final matches up the tournament. Yet, despite the defeats, coach Fay Barnett was still impressed with how the group performed Tuesday at Noble High School.
“The thing is, you get to go qualify for state. And, we had three individuals do that,” Barnett said. “Two individuals, Trysten (Rittberger) and Kaylee (Davis) have both been there. But we also have to come back and fix some things. We had some slip-ups this weekend.”
Joining Rittberger and Davis at state will be Neal. The junior will be making her first trip to the girl’s state championship, which is only in its second year of existence.
Neal had to face Cayard in the championship bout of the 145-pound division. It was also the first time the two had faced off this season.
Neal wrestled a defensive matchup and slowed Cayard down. However, in the end, Cayard pulled out the victory.
Davis also had a chance to take home a regional championship when she took on Lexington’s Izzy Pack for the 152-pound title.
Unfortunately for Davis, she had a miscue while trying to put Pack on her back. Pack was able to get on top and pin Davis instead.
Rittberger lost to Cache’s Jazmin Shelton in the 165-pound third-place match while freshman Sara Bond saw her season come to an end with a loss in the 185-pound fifth-place match to Melany Amador of Little Axe.
“The region, we have over 200 participants at this west region. It is tough,” Barnett said. “So it’s anybody’s ball game. You know, our expectations were we could qualify at least three and we did. So we’re very happy about that.”
Story & Photo by Michael Kinney
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