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Jackets’ Browning reaches medal stand

March 01, 2023 - 00:00
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  • Jackets’ Browning reaches medal stand
    KINGFISHER’S GANT BROWNING, pictured in an exhibition match during the regular season, took fourth place in the 126-pound bracket at the 3A state wrestling tournament last weekend. [Photo by Lily Fletcher/KHS Photography]

No Kingfisher wrestler has made their way to the medal stand at the state tournament since 2018.

Gant Browning put an end to that streak last weekend.

The KHS junior pinned Vian’s Gunner Richey at 5:47 on Saturday morning in their consolation semifinal of Class 3A’s 126-pound bracket.

That win secured Browning’s spot not only in the third-place match, but also on the podium.

Gant eventually lost a 13-0 major decision to Devin Duran of Jay.

However, he became the first Jacket to place at state since Austin Neal was fourth at 170 pounds five years ago.

Browning, who is now a three-time state qualifier, ended his season with a 31--13 record.

He started the tournament Friday morning by downing Marlow’s Brayden Bowman 6-2 to earn a spot in the semifinals.

After giving up a takedown to Bowman about a minute into the match, Browning dominated the rest of the way.

That pitted Browning against Berryhill’s Hunter Waits, who entered state as the champion from the east regional.

The match was a scoreless stalemate after two periods and Waits was able to score an escape point early in the third.

Browning was later assessed a penalty, which awarded Waits another point.

The match ended with Browning on the verge of scoring a match-tying takedown, but the buzzer sounded before he could complete it.

“He was really close,” said KHS co-head wrestling coach Steven Wilson. “He just needed to bump him to a hip.”

Waits went on to fall to Blackwell’s Kaiden Ailey 5-2 in the state championship match on Saturday night.

Ailey defeated Browning in the west regional final the week before.

The semifinal loss sent Browning to Saturday’s consolation bracket.

He handled Richey throughout the three periods before pinning him late.

Browning never was able to sustain any offense in the loss to Duran.

Hennessey’s Titan Hix made his way from the wrestle-in match to within one win of placing in the 3A heavyweight bracket.

Hix defeated Berryhill’s Eli Burke with a 9-0 major decision to earn his spot in the quarterfinals.

The freshman was pinned by Sulphur’s Justus Gilliam in 2:21. Gilliam eventually was the state runner-up to Sallisaw’s Maverick Williamson.

Hix came back from that loss to defeat Xavier Bigpond to land his spot in the consolation semifinals.

Bigpond was pinned at 2:42.

Comanche’s Cade White ended the Hix run in the consolation semifinals with a 12-0 major decision.

Hix, who bumped up to heavyweight from 215 just before the regional, finished his year with a 28-10 record.