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Tigers' wrestling dominance eases coach's stress

BA wins 6A title in record fashion

State Champions
5c7d7c042f871State Champions
State Champions

The last week of February was a relaxing seven days for Shawn Jones.

It was a week of coaching from an easy chair. A week of designing a state championship ring. A week of reflecting on numbers that pointed to the 2019 Broken Arrow wrestling state champions as being one of the most dominant in the history of Oklahoma Class 6A.

Jones’ relaxation period came nearly 12 hours earlier than he anticipated. And, truth be told, perhaps even 24 hours.

“We had those six kids in the consolation semis that morning, so you really couldn’t even take a breath before then because you wanted those kids to get into the finals,” Jones said about the second day of wrestling at the OSSAA Class 6A State Wrestling Championships a week ago Saturday. “But as soon as that round was over, and we had our three kids push through to the consolation placements then yeah, we were relaxed. We knew it was over. That was a pretty good feeling.”

With two consolation winners and seven Tigers wrestling for an individual title in the night session, Broken Arrow was well on its way to fifth Class 6A team crown and ninth overall.

There has been no 6A team dominate the state championship weekend like Broken Arrow did at the OKC State Fairgrounds Arena the weekend on February 23-24, 2019.

The 62 point differential – 158-96 – between first place Broken Arrow and second place Mustang was the greatest margin of victory ever by a 6A team. For a point of reference, the 2001 BA team that crowned five champions scored 156 points. Midwest City placed second that year with 124.5 points.

Though the 2019 Tigers did not have the meet mathematically wrapped up on Friday, it would have defied all logic to think the Tigers would not be crowned champions. Broken Arrow had a 121 to 68 lead on Mustang after the first day. In hindsight, Mustang’s 28 points scored on Saturday, meant the Tigers could have played the role of spectators and still walked away with the team trophy.

That wasn’t going to happen though. Mustang, according to point analysis, was still in the tournament. They could have finished with 154 points had all their wrestlers earned falls on the final day. So yes, according to the most extreme analytical numbers, one could infer that Mustang had a chance at nabbing the title. But with seven Tigers wrestling in the finals the odds favored BA so tremendously Jones’ voiced the assessment “that we had it all but wrapped up.”

Broken Arrow came into the tournament with a Class 6A record-setting number 13 wrestlers. In 2001, the Tigers qualified 11 wrestlers. Twelve of the 2019 group made it to the semifinals. Ten of those placed.

The Tiger coaches dubbed “One-and-Done” as the season’s theme from the first day of practice. The question from each wrestler was “What does that mean?”  

Jones had an explanation.

“We just told them that if you do something right the first time then you don’t have to do it again.”

While there is a great deal of truth in that adage, it was not the true meaning behind establishing this “One-and-Done” mantra.

Jones did not tell his wrestlers the coaches’ authentic thought behind the phrase until Saturday of the tournament.

“We told them that when we were talking about ‘One-and-Done’ and what that means is that we’re going to wrap this thing up on Friday night and come back Saturday and you guys are going to get to wrestle for yourselves,” Jones said.  

It was the first time a Jones coached Tiger team had the lead after day one.

“We have always had to come from behind,” he said. “We had a pretty good feeling about things. A lot of stress had gone away.”

With the nearly stress-free championship, Jones now stands alone as the winningest wrestling coach in Broken Arrow history. Since 2006 Jones’ teams have amassed 144 dual wins, five State Team Championships and four Dual State Championships. This is the second year under Jones the team captured the Triple Crown of wrestling: regional championship, dual state championship and team state championship.

With that week of relaxation behind him, Jones and his staff are now beginning work for 2019-2020.

“Mustang’s returning 85 points and we’re returning 81,” Jones said of the underclassmen from each school who competed in the team state tournament. “So we think we’ll be right back in the mix.

"When this week is over it will be time to get back to work.”