It wasn’t officially a state championship match, but for Snake River senior Destin Summers, Saturday’s Tiger-Grizz championship match came close.
One of the highlight matches of Saturday’s tournament finals was a state championship rematch at 126 pounds between Summers and Sugar-Salem’s Caleb Norman.
Summers, a state champion as a freshman and sophomore, was bested by Norman in last season’s state title match that went to overtime. It was a thrilling match that both wrestlers remembered well heading into Saturday’s Tiger-Grizz championship round.
“I’ve watched that match over and over,” said Norman, who’s also a two-time state champion.
“I wanted this one pretty good,” added Summers.
This time it was Summers coming out on top, fighting off a single leg by Norman in the first round, then pulling ahead with a pair of takedowns in the second. Summers won the match 11-5 to remain unbeaten on the season and improve to 30-0.
“I’ve been working a lot harder since he beat me at state.” Summers said. “I didn’t want to get beat this year.”
The Panther senior said he’s faster, stronger and better with his technique than he was a year ago. He’s also apparently been watching film of the opposition.
“He used my wizzer” said Norman, who dropped to 33-4. “I was doing that last year. When I took a shot it’s like ‘Oh, he’s been watching film.”
The wizzer is a move to keep balance and control by keeping an arm over an opponents’ arm. After taking control in the second round, Summers kept Norman in check for the remainder of the match.
“I knew it was going to be a tough match,” Norman said. “I’m happy with the turnout, but I’ll get him next time.”
Unfortunately for area wrestling fans, there may not be a next time. Norman, making his first championship match at the Tiger-Grizz, may finish the season wrestling at 132 pounds. He said he’s been sick and lost some weight, so he decided to compete at 126 on Saturday. It wasn’t an excuse, he said. “I was 100 percent.”
As for Summers, he’s not looking ahead to state. Saturday was his fourth finals appears at Tiger-Grizz and after finishing second at 98 pounds as a freshman and second as a sophomore at 106, he now has back-to-back titles after winning at 120 last season.
“I just like to wrestle,” he said.