It takes more than the threat of extreme winter weather to cancel a wrestling tournament in Oklahoma.
The 47th Annual Oklahoma State Junior High Wrestling Championships are set to take place Feb. 4th and 5th in Oklahoma City and neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow will keep the participants, coaches, and fans away.
Cox viewers can also watch a replay of the event on YurView OK (Cox channel 3) – Tuesday, Feb. 8th and Friday, Feb. 11th at 7pm CT.
“We’ve never postponed it,” said Yukon Athletic Director Mike Clark, son of tournament creator Lelan Clark. “If we only have two guys at a weight, they’ll get after it.”
Having enough wrestlers to compete is not a concern at this tournament, however. Despite the wintry conditions, tournament officials are still expecting several hundred wrestlers, including a few hundred in the girl’s division, to show up this weekend at Jim Norick Arena at State Fair Park in Oklahoma City.
Watch the event on YurView Oklahoma (Cox Channel 3). A live stream will be available to subscribe to at watch.yurview.com and on the YurView apps (Google Play, Amazon Fire, Roku & Android TV). *Please note that the focus of the event will be the 9th-grade championships.
“Fifteen or 1600 wrestlers is what we’ve averaged over the last 10 to 15 years,” stated Clark. “Twenty-two hundred is the most we’ve ever had.”
The Oklahoma Junior High State Wrestling Championships were created in 1976 by Mike’s father, Lelan Clark. Lelan is a National Wrestling Hall of Fame Honoree and recipient of the Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award. Mike’s brother, Darryl, is the current tournament director and former Cornell University and Midwest City wrestler Jason Roach and his family are also key volunteers.
“I’m 60 years old and I remember being 8 or 9 years old and watching the state tournament in 1971 at the Fairgrounds Arena,” said Clark. “I remember the matches and the excitement. A lot of these kids have grown up doing the same thing.”
The double-elimination tournament begins Friday morning and culminates with championship matches Saturday night. While not a sanctioned OSSAA event, Clark likens the junior high tournament to the Tulsa Nationals or Junior Open Championships that draw competitors from around the Midwest.
“It’s harder to win this tournament than it is the high school state tournament,” claimed Clark. “That’s because all the kids are in the same group – 6A, 5A, 4A – they’re all going for one title. That’s what makes it so tough.”
“(Oklahoma State wrestling coach and Olympic gold medalist) John Smith won this tournament,” added Clark. “I think he won it one time. (Oklahoma State football coach) Mike Gundy won this tournament once upon a time in the 9th grade.”
Cox customers in Tulsa and Oklahoma City can watch this Ford Game of the Week event on Yurview Oklahoma (Cox Channel 3) this Saturday, February 5th, at 6:00 p.m. and also for free on their phones using the Cox Contour App. Download the Contour app on Apple and Android. The telecast will focus on the 9th grade division championship matches.
A live stream will be available to subscribe to at watch.yurview.com and on the Yurview apps (Google Play, Amazon Fire, Roku and Android TV). A replay of the event will be available to watch the following day.