Rogers High's Jake Turner got off to a late start this season thanks to an injury, but he finished just fine.
The junior avenged his only loss of the season with a 12-6 victory over Russellville's Logan Sloss to claim his second consecutive state wrestling title. After winning at 138 a year ago, he claimed the title at 145 this season.
Turner joined Bentonville West's Stephen Fox and Fayetteville's Matthew Muller as Outstanding Wrestlers in the Class 6A-7A division.
Turner (27-1) got caught and pinned by Sloss, who was the top seed in the state tournament at 145, in the finals of the Big West Conference tournament a week ago. He was more conscious of Sloss's cradle this time around, after splitting two matches with him earlier.
"I just tried to block the hands before he even got to it and tried to spread my body," Turner said. "The first time I wrestled him I was kinda hesitant. I was more active and got a fireman's on him and almost pinned him, but he slipped away. It was more trying to combine the offense with trying to know what he's going to do next."
Fayetteville coach Nika West said the junior finished strong knocking off Har-Ber's Ben Fears in both the Big West and state finals, after losing to him earlier in the season.
"As a sophomore we saw a lot of promise last year," West said. "He was probably one of the first people I saw as a leader when I came over the Fayetteville a year ago. I told him that he was a leader of the team and it didn't matter that he was a sophomore.
"He won some big matches and placed in a lot of tournaments. He didn't place in the state tournament last year though, may have went 1-2. This year he dropped down a weight class from about 210 down to 182 and he's battled all year, medaled in every tournament we went to and he won the last two."
Mendez Shows Mettle
Rogers Heritage's DeAndrea Mendez avenged an earlier loss to claim a hard-fought win in the state finals at 220 pounds.
Mendez (42-6) edged Har-Ber's Quinton Reed 3-1 with a takedown late in overtime.
The senior was runner-up in the heavyweight division a year ago, but dropped down in weight class this season. Heritage coach Doug Freeman said he's wrestling the same style as he did a year ago and had some history against Reed.
"He was always quick, but he's stronger than those guys," Freeman said. "They wrestled a couple years ago when they were both heavyweights. DeAndrae won two out of three and pretty dominant then, but they were both younger.
"So pleased he stayed with it in a very tough situation all year. He was debating whether to wrestle since he had to work. He dedicated himself and not just as a wrestler but his leadership qualities really came forward this year. I'm really proud of him."
Berryville enjoys big finish
The Bobcats came away with seven medalist in the Class 1A-5A division of the Arkansas State High School Wrestling tournament, the most in program history.
Sophomores Colton Record (31-10) and Brett Parsons (32-17) were Berryville's top finishers, each taking second.
Record, the top seed at 285, dropped a hard-fought match in overtime in the finals.
Berryville coach Derrek Aynes is in his first year at Berryville and learning plenty about wrestling. He praised the work of Seth Record, Colton's father, who started the program eight years ago.
"It's physically tough and demanding," Aynes said. "It's all about toughness and heart. Seth's done a great job."
The elder Record got started with wrestling with his older sons in Oklahoma. But he said Aynes and himself make a great team.
"I do mostly technique and he keeps them in line," Record said with a laugh.
Sports on 02/18/2018
Print Headline: Rogers High's Turner bounces back strong