The Altus Bulldog Wrestling team capped off a successful weekend at the 93rd Oklahoma High School Wrestling Championships at the Oklahoma City Fair Grounds. The bulldogs claimed two individual crowns from Cameron Loving (160 pounds) and Taven Birdow (220 pounds), while Montorie Bridges, the third finalist, fell short to Collinsville’s Christian Moody in the 113 pound final. Austin Baldwin placed 4th in the 170 pound weight class as well. The bulldogs finished 3rd as a team with 69.5 points, falling behind team champion Collinsville (148.5) and runner-up Lawton Macarthur (107).
Loving squared off again Lawton Macarthur’s Colton Jump in the 160 pound final and prevailed 4-1. This was the fifth time this season the two wrestlers competed, Loving taking away the win in all five matchups. The junior used a takedown and reversal to score his four points, while only giving up a one point escape to solidify his second consecutive state title in dominant fashion. Loving defeated Deer Creek’s Jacob Schimmels and Collinsville’s Ryan Haymaker by fall on his way to the championship match. He finishes with a 41-4 record on the year.
Taven Birdow, a sophomore, grappled with Garrett Shaw, another Lawton Macarthur wrestler in the 220 pound finals. Tied up at one point a piece, the match headed into overtime where it was Birdow who was awarded the 2-point takedown after both wrestlers came out of a wild scramble. This was the second time in the same amount of weeks that the two wrestlers competed against each other – Birdow and Shaw also went into overtime in the regional finals in Del City. Birdow topped Colby Layman from Grove by Fall and Durant’s Blaise Gorges 5-2 on his way to the championship match. He finishes with a record of 39-4 on the year.
Montorie Bridges, a sophomore bulldog, entered the state tournament with a record of 38-1 – that one loss being to Collinsville’s Moody earlier in the year. Bridges easily disposed of Dayton West of Deer Creek in 51 seconds before defeating Fletcher Edwards of Coweta 18-3 in the semi finals. In the finals, however, it was Moody who put together two takedowns and an escape to defeat Bridges 5-3. Bridges is now a two-time state placer after getting 3rd place in last year’s state tournament. The sophomore bulldog finishes with a record of 40-2.
Austin Baldwin had a surprise first round upset against Coweta’s senior Sam Dawes. Dawes was the east regional champion, but the Altus freshman caught the senior in an awkward position, forcing Dawes to pin himself. After a semifinal loss to Lawton Macarthur’s senior Dillon White, Baldwin came back to beat Collinsville’s Josh Arnold to earn some hardware at his first state tournament. The freshman once again faced Dawes of Coweta in the consolation finals where the senior got some payback for the loss in the first round with a fall.
The bulldogs had three other state qualifiers in the tournament – Gage Gomez (106), Mikie Abuan (138), and Keegan Pride (285). The Bulldogs will return all 69.5 points from this year’s state tournament next year along with a total of twelve out of fourteen starters from this year’s squad. Needless to say, the Bulldogs will once again be competing for a state title next winter.