By Brad Heath 

When you think about McLain athletics what comes to mind? Probably football and Joshua Jacobs making his presence felt at the University of Alabama. Or is it the success of the track program? One sport not mentioned too often at McLain is wrestling. That is changing.

The year was 1977. The No.1 hit on the radio was Rod Stewart’s Tonight’s The Night. Everyone’s television was tuned to Laverne & Shirley, Happy Days, Three’s Company and Charlie’s Angels. The Oakland Raiders defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI and Pitt beat Georgia, 27-3 to claim the national championship in college football. At McLain High School a young man by the name of Greg Hawkins was wrestling for his second state championship. Hawkins was attempting to become the schools second back-to-back champion following Ron Hawkins who did it the two years prior. Greg Hawkins won his second straight title in Class 4A after moving up in weight to 178-pounds. It would be the last time a McLain wrestler would take the 1st place position on the podium at the state competition.

Enter head coach J. Paul Ganzel and a group of motivated wrestlers that are focused on turning McLain wrestling into a powerhouse that is respected across the state.

“We wrestled our district quad and beat both Jay and Oologah. Vinita got us though and improved to, 17-0 going into dual state. Our dual season record is finished, 9-2,” said coach Ganzel. “In our fourth year of rebuilding a team from scratch, we have so many kids going in the right direction and this coach can’t refrain from smiling with enthusiasm.”

Recently Taywone McNack placed 1st at the Skiatook Invitational and Hollis Tuggle won seven of eight matches and finished 2nd. The pair obviously have the talent to win and place in tournaments, but can they do it on wrestling’s biggest stage? Coach Ganzel believes they can.

“We have two kids with a more than legitimate chance of winning a state championship this year and several that may surprise everyone before the seasons finish,” said Ganzel.

For coach Ganzel the key is the junior high program. For many years wrestlers who grew up on the mat would move because the junior high program for McLain just didn’t exist. Today the Tulsa Public School district is considering implementing a junior high program and that would be a game changer for McLain High School.

“It would funnel the elementary kids who currently train in our building under the Pin-King name, directly into McLain High School. As of now, those kids are leaving the district to wrestle elsewhere once reaching the 7th grade.

The junior high program could secure the future of the program, but today the focus is on McNack and Tuggle. They are the favorites to make history for McLain High School this season, but keep an eye on Jeremiah Salone, Abraham Calamease, Marquis Weston, Troy Draper and Devon Pressley.

“It is evident to all that McLain has seven wrestlers of the fourteen weight classes that are expected to qualify for the state tournament and two wrestlers who are destined to become a state champion,” said Ganzel. You can’t deny the facts, this team is hungry and wrestling for more than a place on the podium, they are wrestling for their place in history.

McLain Wrestling Lineup

Yochanan Ewell (106, Jr.)

Nicole Stanley (106, Jr.)

Jeremiah Salone (113, Sr.)

Taywone McNack (120, Sr.)

Monique Hatter (120, Jr.)

Reginold Sells (126, Fr.)

Abraham Calamease (126, So.)

Gabrielle Salone (126, So.)

Patra Ware (132, Fr.)

Montre’ion Beasley (132, Fr.)

Marquis Weston (138, Sr.)

Raequan Walker (145, So.)

Anthony Harris (152, Jr.)

Christian Holdman (160, So.)

Kyie Lewis (160, Sr.)

Troy Draper (170, Sr.)

Devon Pressley (182, Jr.)

Antwain Thomas (182, So.)

Dillon Hanika (195, Jr.)

Daryll Johnson (220, So.)

Terryn Johnson (285, Fr.)

Hollis Tuggle (285, Sr.)



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