At least two Osages came home as state champions from the Oklahoma Kids Wrestling Association tournament on Feb. 18 and a handful more qualified and placed.
Chanlee McKinney, 8, won gold at 75 pounds in her age group for the Woodland Wrestling Club and Jimmie Wildcat, 12, at 140 pounds, became the third brother in his Pawhuska family to win the state championship. His brother Vann, who won last year, showed at fourth place.
Other Osages who made their mark: J.D. Ferguson of Pawhuska won the silver medal at 105 pounds for the 8 and under crew, and Millie Rumsey, also of Pawhuska, came in third among girls 10 and under in her weight class. Grayson Hazen of Woodland placed fourth, Kaysen Peters of Dark Cloud Wrestling placed 8th in the 6 and under at 46 lbs. and Dylan Reed, who wrestles for the Pawhuska Elks Takedown Club at 80 pounds, came in at No. 8 in the state.
Chanlee McKinney, a Woodland powerhouse, not only took home the gold medal at 75 pounds, but was also awarded the most outstanding wrestler in her class.
“This girl had a weekend, let me tell you!” said her mother, Tara McKinney. Chanlee will head to nationals in Reno, Nev., with Team Oklahoma and her dad, Bud McKinney, on March 31.
Tara McKinney said that Chanlee is as tough as nails on the wrestling mat but is a gentle tomboy who likes to hunt, fish and be outdoors. She’s also a really good sport who gives hugs to her opponents when they get upset at their losses to her.
Chanlee wrestled four matches at OKWA and won each with a pin.
“The final match was the hardest and man, it was a good match,” McKinney said. “It was a dog fight.
“When she’s on the mat she’s just on fire.”
Chanlee has a sister, McKyla, 11, who wants to wrestle but her parents are worried: McKyla is a star basketball player and they don’t want her to injure her “shooting arm.”
An Indian Taco fundraiser to help pay Chanlee’s way to Reno is set for 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on March 12 at the Woodland Wrestling Club in the old Fairfax Dollar General Store. For deliveries in Fairfax or Ralston, call (580) 716-7493.
A family tradition of gold
Wherever there are sports, you’re likely to find a Wildcat on the roster in Pawhuska, and OKWA was no exception. Jimmie Wildcat became the third of three brothers to win a state championship, following in the steps of brothers Lesharo and Vann.
“He won with a pin in the third period,” said his mom, Mary Wildcat. “It was a nail-biter. He was actually behind 2-0 and pinned the guy in the third period.”
His older brother Vann came in fourth at this year’s OKWA but won gold in 2022, as did Lesharo in 2020.
“We were so excited,” Mary Wildcat said. “It was Jimmie’s first time to win state and we were so proud to have won it. We just couldn’t believe it.”
Jimmie has been wrestling since he was 3 years old.
Sweet but tough
Millie Rumsey, the daughter of Cameron and Melanie Rumsey, placed third at 74 pounds at OKWA, also wrestling for Pawhuska Elks Takedown Club.
“Not only does she wrestle but she spends four nights a week at the dance studio, makes awesome grades and has her cute little button nose in a book the rest of the time,” her mother wrote on Facebook.
“It’s hard to find the words to describe her but Amanda Kendrick-Bartenhagen said it best: ‘She’s the sweetest tough a– around.’
“This girl is pretty special. She had 20 family members that came to cheer her on … We are so blessed.”
More to come
Now that wrestling for the younger set is moving on to nationals, high school wrestlers are prepping for their state championship in Oklahoma City. At least three Osages have qualified for state, including Easton Malone of Barnsdall at 215 pounds. He is the No. 1 seed in his weight class. And has a 34-4 record for the season. He, like others at the top of the sport, has been wrestling since he was a small child. He is the son of Gib and Holly Malone.
A few others are headed to state in the consolation bracket: Marion McCartney, the daughter of Danielle Cass and Nate McCartney, placed 4th at 135 pounds among girls in regionals and will have a chance at a championship, as will her cousin Corlin Cass, son of Bruce and Morgan Cass and Dana Cass, at 113 after placing 5th in the boys’ regionals.
Did we miss an Osage wrestler? Call (918) 287-5607 to let us know if we did!