The red and gray dual was a huge success and the perfect way to kick off the 2022-2023 season. It was one of the most fun days in this sport the coaches and I have ever had. It started with a dance-off by all the junior high kids as they waited to get on the mat, and ended with everyone having a great time watching all of the boys and girls show off their talent.

The night began at 6 pm and the wrestling team had the honor of getting to listen to 6th grader Cooper Key shred on his guitar as he played the National Anthem. It brought tears to a lot of people’s eyes and gave them a taste of just how talented this young man has become in just a short amount of time. It takes a lot of courage to do that as a 6th grader and he never batted an eye. I want to thank Melanie and Brian Key for sharing your son with the wrestling team and thank you Cooper for being a rock star. (Also Coop do not forget about me when you become rich and famous.)

After that we got to do something that I will always remember, we got to honor one of our own. Donnie Morgan, former 2x state champion and first-ever Claremore State Champion was inducted into the hall of fame this year. We were able to give thanks and show our gratitude for the path he helped create inside the Claremore Wrestling program. It was a wonderful night being able to finally give Donnie a forever place in the gym as we honored his family and his memory with the Donnie Morgan Memorial section. Claremore wrestling has a great history and this was long overdue, and now everyone will know the importance of Donnie Morgan.  Thank you, Brant Bruner and Brian Young for speaking on his behalf and giving everyone a taste of who he was.

Now it was time for the dual, Team Weber vs. Team Jahn. We had pins, majors, freaks, double legs, cheap tilts, barb wires, snap downs, bloody noses, coaches screaming, fans cheering, and best of all kids competing. We had some kids wrestling the 300th match of their careers and some that were wrestling their first. It didn’t matter who was wrestling, they tried as hard as they could and the coaches couldn’t be prouder of what the team looked like to start the year. The final score had Coach Jahn, Coach Williams, and Coach Cunningham’s team winning close over Coach Weber, Coach Willard, and Coach Willard’s team, but in the end, the night was a win for everyone involved. The future of Claremore wrestling is bright and this was just a small sample of what you will see we these boys and girls put their foot on the line this year, you do not want to miss the Zebras.

The wrestling team, and especially me need to say thank you to a few more people. First of all, I want to thank my amazing booster club and all the parents that are involved in the club. They do all the things that no one wants to do and then let the coaches and players take all the credit. Last night would not have been the success it was without them. Secondly, I want to thank everyone that put a donation in the box to help the team. We made way more money than I thought we would and it was very humbling to see the support. I also want to thank the students that came to support their classmates. I also want to thank the coaches. I am blessed with a staff that I would not trade for any other staff. They are passionate, hard-working, and care for these kids more than you all can imagine. These men make me look good and never let me down. Something I would like to say is this week I have been sick as a dog, but it did not matter, these coaches picked up the slack that I left behind and made sure everything was ready for the event. I will say it again, I could not do this job without Coach Jahn, Weber, Willard, Cunningham, Williams, and Kincaid. Claremore wrestling is very lucky.

Ok, I am getting close but I owe a thank you to two more people. First of all, Dr. Hindenburg thank you. Thank you for stepping way out of your comfort zone and wrestling me. You’re a lot stronger than I thought you were, Anyway, I have no idea what that must have been like to agree to do something like that. When asked, do you want to wrestle Coach Willard, Dr. H agreed with little hesitation. He did it for one reason, the kids. He saw an opportunity to show his support and help the team raise some money for this upcoming season. I do not know anyone else that has a boss that would do something like this for our program. Thank you again, Dr. Hindenburg, you make working at Claremore better for all.

Lastly, I want to thank Big Germ. Big Germ is a former student and athlete at Claremore High and is the young man that wrestled Coach Weber. It was a surprise to most, but maybe the most fun part of the night. What you all do not know is that he had no reason to do this, he just wanted to help bring some fun and energy to the event. Germ never had any problem bringing energy and he didn’t disappoint this time either. But watching him wrestle was not the best part of seeing Big Germ, talking with him and hearing how well he is doing was the best part. Thank you for contributing to our night. Once a Zebra always a Zebra.

What a great night, the Zebras will be back in action against  Bartlesville on November 29th starting at 5:30 in the Mobra.