Senior Bryan Dutton will look to become Guthrie’s second wrestler to win multi-state championships and junior Conner Howard eyes his first state title on Saturday evening inside the State Fair Arena.
Dutton and Howard each won their two matches on Friday and now will wrestle on the big stage in the Big House for the state titles. In total, the BlueJays will return five of the six wrestlers on day two.
Dutton, the top seeded wrestler from the west, handled Shawnee’s Corey Todd in the first match of the 145 weight class to set up a match-up with Tahlequah’s Hestin Lamons.
In the match for the right to wrestle in the finals, Dutton gutted out a 3-2 win to send him back to the finals after winning the 140-pound state title in 2011 as a sophomore. Dutton (30-3) will look to join Doug Stalnaker as a two-time champion for the Jays. Stalnaker won back-to-back titles in 1981 and 1982.
To earn the elite status, Dutton will be challenged by the top seed from the east in Collinsville’s Dylan Helm, who is highly respected 24-1.
For Howard, he will look to become Guthrie’s 12 state champion in school history as he will see a familiar opponent in Lawton MacArthur’s Garrett Shaw.
Just last week at the Duncan regional, Howard, who wrestles at 220 pounds, won the regional title over Shaw and earlier in the year defeated the Highlander in the Carl Albert Tournament. Howard enters the final match at 32-3 while Shaw comes in at 34-5.
Howard pinned East Central’s Josh Herman in his first match on Friday and in the semifinals won easily 13-5 over Ada’s Royce Garvin, who in the first session stunned Deer Creek’s Austin Loomis 9-6 to advance.
Three other Bluejay wrestlers each went 1-1 after dropping their first match of the tournament.
Two-time state qualifier, sophomore Alex Nelson (120 pounds) dropped his opening match, 14-2, to Collinsville’s Jacob Findley before coming back in the consolation bracket and earning a narrow 4-3 decision over Coweta’s Dillion McCaleb. Nelson is now 20-6 on the year
Senior Timothy O’Connor (21-4), who returned back to the state tournament, was stunned in the first match of the 126 pound division after being pinned, but rallied in his next match to win 2-1 over Noble’s Shelby Greeson.
Heavyweight Blake Finley (17-5) dropped an emotional 4-3 match with Coweta’s Griffin Qualls before coming back and shutting out Shawnee’s Ryan Goodfox 3-0 to move on in the consolation round.
The lone BlueJay not to advance on was junior Tyler Mahan, who capped off a tremendous season. The junior finishes his year at 19-8 with losses to Tahlequah’s Reece Davis and Coweta’s Justin Shrum.