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Snodgrass, Neal reach state

February 20, 2019 - 00:00
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Kingfisher senior has memorable run in regional runner-up finish

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    STATE BOUND - KHS senior Stone Snodgrass, left, and junior Blake Neal are headed to this week’s state wrestling tournament after their performances in last weekend’s regional. [Photo provided]

No matter his opponent, there’s a part of Stone Snodgrass that makes him believe he can defeat his foe when he steps onto a wrestling mat.

“I truly believe I have a chance in every match,” said the Kingfisher High School senior.

Few, if any, gave Snodgrass much of a chance last Friday night when he lined up across Marlow’s Kobey Kizarr in the semifinals of the 138-pound bracket of the Class 3A wrestling regional.

Kizarr was the top-seeded wrestler in the bracket, finished third at state at 132 pounds the year before, sported a 42-3 record, was wrestling in front of his home crowd and was among the favorites to win regional and state gold by season’s end.

One minute and 26 seconds after the referee started the match, he ended it with Kizarr’s shoulders on the mat.

“I was just patient,” Snodgrass said. “He made a mistake and I saw an opportunity to put him on his back and took it.

“Then when he was on his back, I squeezed his head like a tick and held on for life.”

Snodgrass had defeated the favorite, shocked the crowd, earned a spot in the next night’s championship bout and secured a spot in this weekend’s state tournament.

Snodgrass was one of two KHS wrestlers to qualify for state. He’ll be joined by Blake Neal, who was fourth at 182 pounds.

The Jackets were 10th overall in the regional with 71 points.

Marlow won it with 223.5 points, topping runner-up Comanche’s

202. Bridge Creek was third with 197.5.

Snodgrass was fifth at 132 pounds at the regional last year, which earned him a spot in one of two wrestle-in matches, a new concept that pitted the fourth-place wrestler from one regional against the fifth-place finisher in the opposite regional.

The winners of the two wrestle-in matches advance to the regular bracket while the loser is finished.

Snodgrass last year had to battle to the very end just to earn that spot and eventually lost the wrestle-in match.

“Last year I just barely slipped in at the end in the fifth-place spot,” he said.

“It was an awesome feeling this year knowing I was going to state after the first day of regionals.”

Beating Kizarr was just part of Snodgrass’s banner day.

In the quarterfinals, he pinned Mangum’s Stetson Ryan, who had pinned Snodgrass in the district duals earlier this season.

“Everyone was so excited after those two matches,” Snodgrass said.

Perkins-Tryon’s Ayron Lawson eventually pinned Snodgrass in 5:48 in Saturday’s championship match.

That pits Snodgrass against Salina’s Austin Wilkins in the quarterfinals Friday in State Fair Arena.

Wilkins was third in the east regional at Perry.

“It takes a lot of pressure off the first match knowing I’m in,” Snodgrass said. “I’m just going to go out there, be patient and wrestle smart.”

Neal will take on Morrison’s Hayden Fry in one of the 182-pound wrestle-in matches. Fry was fifth at the east regional.

Neal pinned Landon Adams of Chandler and Kale Hunt of Marlow to earn a spot in the regional semifinal.

Once there, he was pinned at 3:05 by Sulphur’s Trey Kiser.

Neal battled back to defeat Gage Allen of Perkins-Tryon 3-2 to lock up his spot at state.

He was then defeated by Bridge Creek’s Dominick Baez in the third-place match.

Seven KHS wrestlers were still in line for a spot at state after the first day of action, but only Neal and Snodgrass emerged.

Wrestle-in matches begin at 9:30 a.m. Friday and first-round matches at 11 a.m.

The second session Friday begins at 5:30 p.m. with first-round consolations. Semifinal matches start at around 7:45 p.m.

Sessions Saturday begin at 10:30 a.m. and 5:15 p.m.