Long family latest in line of Evey-coached father-sons to qualify
Ed Evey has coached two generations of Kingfisher High School families who have reached the state tournament before.
There was Jeff Gaither, a runner-up in 1986 whose sons Jakob and Joe combined to place at state five times, including Jakob’s heavyweight championship in 2008.
Stan Blundell, now an assistant on the KHS wrestling, was third in his weight class in 1988. His son, Rhett and Dylan, both qualified during their high school careers.
Now you can add another family to the list.
When sophomore Isaac Long pinned Blanchard’s Ethan Warren at 5:54 of their consolation semifinal during the Class 4A regional in Tuttle on Saturday morning, his ticket to this week’s state tournament was officially punched.
Long’s father, Nick, was a two-time qualifier for KHS. He reached state as a sophomore in 1999 and then placed as a junior in 2000, both at 215 pounds.
“I was more excited for him than when I qualified,” the elder Long said. “He’s a tough kid and worked really hard to get there. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
The younger Long is quite a bit smaller than his father was at the same age as he qualified at 138 pounds.
He went on Saturday to finish fourth and was the highest-placing Yellowjacket at the regional.
He was, however, one of four Kingfisher wrestlers who earned a spot at State Fair Arena this Friday.
Also qualifying were seniors Bryce Hawk, Jon Henry and Blake Neal.
All three of them placed fifth: Hawk at 126 pounds, Henry at 132 and Neal at 182.
They’ll all be taking part in wrestle-in matches that begin at 9:30 a.m.
A loss in that initial match would end their season.
A win puts them in the traditional bracket that includes a consolation side.
As a team, KHS was 11th in the regional that was dominated by defending state champ and top-ranked Tuttle.
The Tigers scored 364 points. Blanchard was runner-up with 202.
KHS notched 64 points.
Long earned 16 of those points for the Jackets.
He won his first-round match, also against Warren, with a 6-4 decision before pinning McLain’s Jerome Warren in 3:52 of his championship quarterfinal.
Harrah’s Jude Stone edged Long 4-1 in their Friday night semifinal.
In the rematch with Warren, Long cemented his spot with the fall. KJ Evans of Heritage Hall eventually topped Long for third place with a first-quarter pin.
However, in an effort to avoid a potential semifinal with Tuttle’s Ryder Ramsey, Evans opted to take Long’s spot in the wrestle-in match.
That puts Long into the traditional 138-pound bracket and guarantees him at least two matches at state.
Ramsey is the top-seeded wrestler in the bracket and won the 132-pound state title as a junior last season.
Hawk earned 13 points for KHS. He entered the regional bracket as the sixth seed.
“That was the best he’s wrestled all year,” said KHS co-head coach Ed Evey.
Hawk pinned Harrah’s Wheeler Williams with just three seconds left in their quarterfinal match before losing 11-4 to Cache’s Luke Hill in the semifinals.
He was then pinned by Jarrod Bewley of Blanchard in their consolation semifinal, giving him one final chance in the fifth-place match.
He took advantage by again pinning Williams in the third period, this time at the 5:22 mark.
Henry lost his quarterfinal match to Kyler Damron of Harrah and had to win three consolation matches to get his spot at state.
He beat Tecumseh’s Jake Cash 10-4 and then Aaron Seabolt of Clinton 6-2. That set up a 4-2 loss to Newcastle’s Quentin Schane in the consolation semifinal.
But he ended his day Saturday with a 7-4 decision against Weatherford’s Cody Seright to take fifth.
Neal is the lone Jacket to be making a return trip to state.
Neal pinned Cache’s Antonio Austin in 2:39 in the quarterfinal before dropping a 6-5 decision to Weatherford’s Mike Hixson in the semifinal.
John Venable then earned a 7-1 decision over Neal in the consolation semifinal.
Neal grabbed his second state tournament berth in his final shot by pinning Blanchard’s Caiden Wright in 1:52.
Dawson Garvin (106 pounds) and Rhylee Toepfer (113) fell one win shy of reaching state. The two were sixth in their respective weight classes.
Hawk will take on Ft. Gibson sophomore Grant Edwards in his wrestle-in match. Edwards was fourth in the east regional.
Henry gets Stilwell’s Tristen Butler. The senior took fourth in his east-side bracket.
Cascia Hall’s Grant Baber was fourth at 182 in the east and will take on Neal in their wrestle-in match.
Long gets Ft. Gibson freshman Cole Mahaney, also fourth in the east.