Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
There’s one thing Zac Overbeck and Enid Plainsman teammate Caleb Harris won’t feel at the Class 6A state wrestling tournament, which begins today at the State Fair Arena in Oklahoma City and that’s pressure.
“Now it’s just for fun,’’ said Overbeck, a former state junior high champion who qualified for the first time last week when he was second at 220 pounds in the regionals.
“I’m kind of nervous,’’ said Harris, who was third at 182 pounds in the regionals. “My goal is to win. That should be everyone’s goal going into state. I just want to wrestle well enough so, at the end of it all, I did everything that I could and there’s nothing to be left behind.’’
Overbeck said “it was tough’’ not qualifying his first two seasons, especially a year ago when freshman 145-pounder Anthony Gonzales made it.
“It’s been a long time coming,’’ Overbeck said. “The monkey is off my back.’’
Overbeck (23-9) will go against Southmoore’s Bryan Trompeter (19-16) in the first round. He pinned Trompeter in the Mid-America Nationals in Enid last December.
Harris (24-10) faces Zach Moore of Southmoore (34-6), who was second in the West regional.
Harris, who qualified for state in Georgia as a junior, said it was exciting to qualify because of the quality of competition in Oklahoma.
“In Georgia, I never got a chance to wrestle someone who was nationally ranked,’’ he said.
“I wrestled two or three nationally-ranked wrestlers this year. It was good for me to go somewhere else and get some different coaching.’’
No one might have benefited from Harris’ move to Enid more than Overbeck.
“That was a big difference for me,’’ Overbeck said. “Caleb coming in and being my workout partner gave me a chance to work harder in the room and it paid off on the mat.’’
Harris credited the work ethic promoted by EHS Corey Clayton for his success.
“Coach Clayton really emphasized the way we need to be drilling every day,’’ Harris said.
“Since he got us drilling the way we need to be, it helped me in areas where I was weak before. I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in for wrestling.’’
Overbeck has reached the finals in all five of Enid’s tournaments this season.
He avenged one of his finals losses by beating Broken Arrow’s Steven Allen in the regional semifinals.
“I was just aggressive,’’ Overbeck said. “I went out there and wrestled like I wanted to beat him. I know now what I have to do compared to what I did before. I guess it hadn’t occurred to me that I needed to be aggressive and take shots. When I take shots, there’s not a lot of people who can stop them.’’
With confidence, he said his goal is make sure the sixth time is the charm for a championship.
“That’s the goal,’’ he said. “There’s no reason why I can’t win.’’
Overbeck went to state the last two years as a workout partner for the now-graduated Jake Scott.
“It’s a dream come true to reach state,’’ he said. “Jory (ex-EHS coach Jory Dick) taking me to state my freshman and sophomore year just to watch helped me with my nerves.’’
Harris, a senior, is keeping his options more for the future. He is leaning towards going to Oklahoma State to study veterinarian medicine.
“If I do well at state, that could change,’’ he said.
Harris, a senior who is leaning towards attending Oklahoma State to study veterinary medicine, also got some revenge at regionals. He beat Owasso’s Landon Henderickson in the third-place match, after losing to Henderickson in the championship quarterfinals.
“That was a big match for me’’ Harris said. “It’s always big mentally to come back and beat somebody who you lost to before.’’
Harris is grateful for what wrestling has done for him.
“It’s made me a much better man, getting done what needs to be done and doing what I needed to do,’’ he said.
“Both of them are in the right frame of mind to win,’’ Clayton said. “They had a great season, a good week of practice and now, it’s time to finish what they started.’’
The semifinals and first round of consolations are tonight. The rest of the consolations and championships will be Saturday.�