By Jason Chlapek
Killeen Daily Herald
SAN ANTONIO – Ellison senior Omar Mickens was focused on Friday. So much that he refused a post-match interview.
That's because Mickens is a semifinal victory away from advancing to the state wrestling meet after recording a pair of decision victories on the opening day of the Region IV wrestling meet Friday at Blossom Athletic Center. The meet concludes today.
Mickens, who competes in the boys 145-pound weight class, defeated Steven Munoz of Weslaco East, 6-2, in the first round before earning an 8-5 decision against Kris Rich of San Antonio Roosevelt in the second round to earn a berth in the semifinal round against Christopher Madsen of McAllen Rowe. If Mickens defeats Madsen today, he will earn a spot in the region championship match as well as the state wrestling meet on Feb. 27-28 in Austin.
In addition to Mickens' success, nine other wrestlers from Killeen ISD schools are still in contention for state-meet berths. Among them are Mickens' teammate Jose Reyes.
Reyes, who is competing in the 119-pound class, defeated Carlos Olvera of La Joya Juarez-Lincoln, 20-5, in the opening round before pinning Jonathan Flores of Leander in the second round. Reyes will face Tim Holt of San Antonio Madison in the semifinal round today.
Dion Everett of Shoemaker is still in the running for a state berth in the 180-pound class. After a pinfall victory against Juan Munoz of San Benito in the first round, Everett suffered a pinfall defeat against McAllen's Sam Mangum before staving off elimination with a 9-6 decision win over DeMorris Turner of Killeen. Everett will face Wes Jensen of San Antonio Churchill in an elimination match this morning.
Turner, Killeen's lone boys representative, finished 1-2 in his first region meet. Other area wrestlers who competed in the region meet were Tylor Bigley of Harker Heights (135-pound class, 1-2 record), Copperas Cove's Dustin Lorance (140-pound class, 1-2), The Ellison duo of Adrian Cruz (112-pound class, 0-2) and Darius Branch (152-pound class, 1-2), and the Shoemaker quartet of Dabby Quiles (130-pound class, 1-2), Josh Mains (152-pound class, 1-2), James Blackman (160-pound class, 0-2) and Jonathan Player (275-pound class, 1-2).
While three area wrestlers continue their runs toward the state meet today, seven girls area wrestlers are still in contention as well. In fact, four of the seven girls wrestlers are competing in semifinal matches this morning.
Keeya Sykes of Killeen drew a first-round bye in the girls 95-pound bracket before taking just 21 seconds to pin Olivia Mungia of San Antonio Wagner in the second round to earn her semifinal berth, where she will take on Ashley Alonzo of Corpus Christi King.
Shoemaker's Chelsea Koenen, who is aiming for her fourth trip to state in as many years, recorded a pair of pinfall wins against Victoria Hernandez of San Benito and Jordan Gaza of Corpus Christi Carroll, respectively, to advance to the semifinal round of the 119-pound class. Koenen will face Maylene Garcia of Corpus Christi Ray in her semifinal match.
The Ellison duo of Tamara Hartfield and Shellie Bryant each earned first-round byes in the 165- and 185-pound classes, respectively, and each recorded pinfall victories in their only matches on Friday.
Hartfield pinned Ann DeLeon of McAllen to earn a semifinal match against Desiree Martinez of Pharr-San Juan-Alamo North, while Bryant pinned Autumn Lauire of McAllen Memorial to earn a semifinal bout with Claudia Pena of PSJA.
Darian Emmou of Shoemaker remains in contention in the 185-pound class after a 2-1 finish on Friday. Emmou opened the meet with a pinfall win against Lio Valencia of La Joya Palmview before dropping a pinfall decision to Denise Henson of Austin LBJ and staving off elimination with a pinfall win against Jlyssa Jauert of Madison. Emmou will try to stave off elimination once again today when she takes on Perla Becerra of Juarez-Lincoln.
Caila Robledo also is still alive and trying to fight elimination today in the 110-pound class. After receiving a first-round bye, Robledo was pinned by Allison Woodruff of LBJ before pinning Katie Soloff of Shoemaker in an elimination match to advance to this morning's elimination match against Jesicca Koob of Austin Lanier.
In the 148-pound class, Amy Mijango of Shoemaker is still alive after a 1-1 finish on Friday. Mijango drew a bye in the first round. She was pinned by Alyssa Rodriguez of PSJA North, but proceeded to pin Nicole Cunnanon of Heights to earn an elimination match against Leanna Salinas of Mission Sharyland.
Also competing from area schools were the Ellison trio of Jordan Kimble (138-pound class, 1-2 record), Sarah Copsy (128-pound class, 1-2) and Stephanie Copsy (102-pound class, 0-2); the Shoemaker trio of Soloff (110-pound class, 1-2), Charmaine Thomas (95-pound class, 0-2) and Tatianna Clemons (165-pound class, 0-2); and the Heights trio of Ashlee Alteri (102-pound class), Monique McMichael (119-pound class) and Nicole Cunnanon (148-pound class) ? all 0-2.