Gary Wayne Harding
Collinsville High, Collinsville, Oklahoma
Gary Wayne Harding is a junior at Collinsville High in Collinsville, Okla. Harding has shown steady progress each year in high school. Although not ranked nationally yet, he is right on the bubble and with continued improvement he should find himself in the rankings at some point this year.
Harding is a two-time Oklahoma 5A state champion. He won his first state title as a freshman at 112 pounds. Last year, he went up two weight classes and won the title at 126 pounds. He’s a smart mat wrestler, with great hips that allow him to counter well.
Harding makes it very difficult for his opponents to score. One thing that stands out is his ability to ride and turn his opponents. He makes people work underneath often leading to him tiring his opponents out.
This past weekend, Harding won his second Mid-American National title. Harding had five matches at the tournament and earned a fall in four of those five. He defeated a highly regarded Daniel Cartagena, of Allen, Texas in the finals by technical fall, 16-1 in 4:50. We will continue to follow the progress of Harding and evaluate where he fits into the national rankings.
In 2011, Harding was a Cadet Freestyle Runner-up at 119 pounds. During the tournament, he picked up wins over Colton Adams of Nebraska, Tate Robinson of Tennessee and Anthony Valencia of California before falling to Aaron Pico of California in the finals.