CHS takes back district title
NEWCASTLE – Avenging last year’s home district title loss was the only thing on the Clinton wrestling team’s mind Thursday night, and CHS made sure Newcastle felt the same sting, blasting the Racers, 55-21, for Clinton’s 12th district title in program history.
It’s the fifth title in the last six years for the western Oklahoma wrestling powerhouse and returns Clinton to Dual State, where it was the runner-up in 2015 and 2017.
The No. 15 Reds (5-2 overall, 3-0 in district) cemented themselves as the best team in 4A-1 with a lopsided margin of victory in district duals. Before it took down Newcastle, Clinton beat Elk City 61-17 on Thursday as well. Adding in CHS’s 49-15 win over Weatherford, Clinton outscored the district, 165-53.
Clinton head coach Rob Pitman said the team remembered where it was last year and worked to get back on top.
“This is something we’ve been thinking about for a long time,” he said. “Ever since we lost last year and didn’t get a chance to go to Dual State with the team that we had, it hurt quite a bit.
“These kids have been hungry all year. Going into the season, we’ve had three goals, winning districts, getting to the finals at Dual State and getting 14 kids to (the) state (tournament). Step one accomplished. The kids are really excited…”
Against Newcastle, Clinton got the night started at 126 pounds with Aaron Seabolt. The rising freshman got caught on his back with about 30 seconds remaining in the first period. The young Clinton star somehow managed to stave off a pin, keeping his back just off the mat for the remaining time – that proved to be huge. Seabolt would trail the majority of the match before reversing his opponent, putting him into a headlock and picking up just enough near-fall points to win 11-10.
A nine-point swing in the opening match in favor of Clinton let Newcastle know that Thursday would be different. The Reds never looked back and ended up winning six of the dual’s eight matches, four of which came via fall. Versus the Racers and Elks, Clinton compiled a record of 13-3 in individual matches, winning seven by pin and losing just one by pin.
“… Aaron Seabolt slipped up and got put to his back early, but he kept battling back,” Pitman said. “He could’ve given in, but he ended up putting the kid on his back and got that one-point victory. That’s one of those things that takes the wind out of the other team and sets the tone for the rest of the dual. The final score showed that.”
The blowout win mattered to Clinton. Even though the match was already in hand, seniors Ethan Hines (182 pounds) and Ruben Gutierrez (heavyweight) showed no mercy slamming their opponents to the mat and picking up pins.
The former of the two carried the emotion of the dual, clapping and yelling immediately after he got the win. The senior starters, who were all in this lineup last year, went 5-0, excluding three forfeits.
Pitman pointed out that the complete dominance his team displayed against district opponents told the league that last season was a fluke, and that they’ll be back to beat everyone again next year. With only four seniors on this starting roster, nine of these wrestlers will be back, many with more than one year of eligibility remaining.
Clinton has the weekend off but returns to dual action at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Anadarko. The Reds have five duals remaining before Dual State weekend which starts Feb. 8.