Nevaeh Kent set for 6A State Tournament after roller coaster ride at regionals

Winter Sports, Wrestling

Trey Hunter

February 22, 2024
Nevaeh Kent (Sr.) looks for an escape during her regional semifinals match against Putnam City West's Savannah Gray at Yukon High School last week. Kent eventually qualified for the State Tournament at 115 pounds after winning a wrestle-in match against Union's Ma'Kadri Titus. (Photo by Trey Hunter)

Nevaeh Kent wasn’t going to leave Yukon High School without a punched ticket.

She just didn’t know she would get slapped in the face along the way.

Last year left a sour taste in the senior grappler’s mouth, having come up just one match short of reaching the Class 6A State Tournament. A 5-2 decision to Moore’s Brooklyn Noel was the final showdown of her junior campaign.

The result weighed on Kent until the 6A West Regional Tournament last week at YHS. It was finally time to rid herself of that feeling.

“I beat everyone except for her,” Kent said. “It was disappointing, but I wasn’t going to give up.”

The road this year started off easier as she didn’t have to wrestle until Day 2 of the regional. She had set herself up as the two-seed at 115 pounds, earning a bye in each of the first two rounds.

After pinning Noble’s Riley Abbott in her first official bout, Kent was already in the championship semifinals. However, moments later, her roller coaster ride took off.

“After the whistle was blown and she slapped me in the face, I couldn’t believe it,” Kent said. “I got pretty upset because honestly that’s a no-no in wrestling and I was pretty shocked.”

Nevaeh Kent (Sr.) goes for a move against Putnam City West’s Suzannah Gray during the Class 6A West Regional Tournament last week at Yukon High School. Kent made her way to the 6A State Tournament after winning a wrestle-in match at regionals. (Photo by Trey Hunter)

Kent got twisted into a pin by Putnam City West’s Suzannah Gray and immediately after the referee’s whistle sounded and his hand hit the mat, Gray hit Kent across the face.

After discussing, the referees disqualified Gray and awarded Kent the win, sending her to the championship match against a different Moore wrestler this year – Hannah Lopez.

However, after a two-hour break, Kent and her coaches received word that she actually had to wrestle into the state tournament and that she would not be wrestling for a regional title.

“We thought we had advanced,” Mustang coach Will Staats said. “The OSSAA said the wrong choice had been made to send Nevaeh to the championship match and they had to overrule. So, she ended up with a loss, but Gray was still disqualified.”

“So, I had to go through the back end again,” Kent said. “I had to be patient. It wasn’t the result I wanted, but I ended up winning the final match and I’m proud to still be going to state.”

Kent defeated Ma’Kadri Titus for fifth place, setting up a matchup against Sand Springs’ Iaila Mirza in the wrestle-in round today at Jim Norick Arena in Oklahoma City. The winner faces Lopez in the first round later tonight.

Kent said she was “shocked” after the mess at regionals but was glad to have earned her way to state.

“I didn’t want it given to me.”

She has prepared for this weekend with Staats and fellow qualifier Kady Theriot (So.), who punched her ticket at 110 pounds. Trying to keep up with cardio is the main goal.

“Doing at-home workouts, running on the treadmill, just trying to keep up,” she said. “I’ve been doing bike workouts and other things… 30-second sprints.”

Kent’s mindset is rock solid. She has never watched the State Tournament but has eyed the bracket and sees some familiar names.

“I’m not too worried,” she said. “It is what it is. I feel like I have beaten some people that might have beat me before, too. It’s 50/50… really it depends on a good day or a bad day.

“If you pull a move, you make it. You can’t be scared to take chances.”

Staats appreciates how tough it was for Nevaeh to bounce back from the regional debacle. He was excited to see her check one goal off her list.

“I know that it has been a goal for her since she started wrestling,” Staats said. “It’s awesome to see girls and wrestlers reach their goals. I’m really proud of her and how she is going to serve our country in the Army.

“Hard work pays off, especially in this sport.”

Kent and Mirza are scheduled to wrestle around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday during the Wrestle-In portion of Session II. For more information and brackets, visit

Published by trey hunter

Trey Hunter is the owner and publisher of the Mustang Sports Review. He graduated from Mustang High School in 2006 before graduating from the University of Central Oklahoma with a journalism degree in 2011. He has covered Mustang sports for multiple publications as well as high school sports and professional basketball for other outlets. Contact Trey for story ideas or reach out with information. PHONE: (405) 659-9898 EMAIL:

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