It has been a long time for Jason Self. The Westmoore grappler finds himself back on centerstage after a two-year absence and he looks to make the best of it.

Self will return to the site of his prep career’s greatest accomplishment when he leads a contingent of Jaguars to the 86th Oklahoma High School Wrestling Championships Friday and Saturday at the State Fair Arena.

As a ninth grader Self fell short of winning a state title when he lost in the finals. But it looked like it would only be a matter of time before he would be crowned.

Two knee injuries later, however, Self was without a return trip to the postseason. That was until last weekend when he took second at 189-pounds in the Regional Tournament.

Norman North’s Billy Deal won the 189-pound title, beating Self 5-0. Despite the loss, Self will be the No. 2 seed in the state tournament.

“Jason was a state runner up as a ninth grader,” Westmoore coach Mark Peck said. “Last two years he had two knee injuries that ended his season. I’m just glad to see him get a chance to go back and repeat his performance from his ninth-grade year.”

Joining Self at the championships are Caleb Randell (119-pounds, 19-6 record), Dylan Terhune (160, 18-8) and Brian Self (171, 18-5).

Randell is a sophomore making his first trip to state. But after his performance at regionals, the coaches have confidence he can do well. He lost in the regional final.

“There were several good kids in that bracket,” Peck said. “He had two tough matches before he got to semifinals.”

Randell will face Jenks’ Dylan Gargia (15-5, Sr.) in the first round Friday while Self matches up with Znick Ferrell (22-9, So.) from Charles Page.

In order for Jason Self to make it back to the finals and come away with a win, Peck says the senior will have to control his emotions that will undoubtedly make an appearance at the tourney.

“There will be a lot of pressure on him,” Peck said. “Just wrestle his match and forget about the pressure of finally getting back there. The expectations are high. But he is a gamer and at his best when the lights come on.”

Unfortunately for Westmoore, they did experience a few upsets. Nick Filipo, who qualified for state last year, was unable to make it back this season.

“He lost two close matches, then had to come back and wrestle the kid he lost to in the quarters,” Peck said. “He beat him for fifth place. He showed a lot of guts. It’s hard to get up for that just after your dreams have been crushed. He will have another shot. That helps. He will come back stronger next year.”

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