Altus High School’s Keegan Pride spent the last four months dominating his opponents in the heavyweight division of Oklahoma high school wrestling.
Although he fell short of the state championship, Pride finished runner-up at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association’s Class 5A State Wrestling tournament in February to complete the final season of his high school career with an overall record of 32-3. Pride also earned an All-State selection in the process.
Despite the stellar season and All-State selection, Pride ultimately had his eyes set on the goal of winning a state championship for himself and for his team.
“It feels really great to achieve this level of success, but it would have been a much better feeling if I would have won the championship,” Pride said. “I’m still proud of myself and it is an amazing feeling to be recognized as one of the best wrestlers in the state.”
Pride is one of only two AHS wrestlers to be selected to compete at All-State and all of his success can be attributed to the many hours of practice he has put into the sport for the past 10 years.
“I got into wrestling about 10 years ago because I just wanted to try it out and my friends were in it,” Pride said.
But what started out as a curiosity for the sport grew into an admiration for it and a desire to be one of the best.
“I’ve always tried to be the best and I’ve always worked as hard as I can,” Pride said. “I never want to get outworked by anybody and that is what has driven me to succeed.”
Pride’s run of success at the state wrestling tournament included taking out Trey Carnes (24-9) and Kyle Urich (29-12) but the one hurdle he fell short against was Lawton MacArthur’s Montana Phillips (27-2).
Pride fell to Phillips in the championship match by a 5-1 decision.
Several coaches have offered him a spot on their college wrestling teams, an accomplishment Pride is looking forward to perhaps more than anything else.
“Being selected to All-State is one of the proudest moments of my career,” Pride said. “But what I’m really looking forward to is going to college to wrestle.”
Being able to further one’s education while continuing to compete in a sport they love is the goal of many student athletes and by this time next year, Pride will have an opportunity to experience something most only get to dream about.
But for now, Pride turns his attention to the All-State competition at Bixby High School scheduled for 7 p.m. July 26.
Only 52 wrestlers were selected to All-State in Oklahoma.
The field is broken up by small and large schools with 13 wrestlers competing for each squad in the East and West.
In the Large West where Pride will be competing alongside fellow Bulldog Gage Gomez, Altus accounts for two of the 13 selected wrestlers.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.