By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Perry wrestling coach Ronnie Delk wasn’t from the community which created some concern. After leading the Maroons to the Class 3A state championship, the community is embracing Delk.
“If I need something for the program, I can turnaround and ask,” Delk said. “The community embraces these kids.”
Delk graduated from Collinsville High School and then wrestled under Oklahoma State. Before taking over in 2011, Delk spent the previous five years as an assistant under Scott Chenoworth. The current coach said it was an honor to take over a program with so much tradition.
“Anytime I get to coach these kids it’s an honor,” Delk said.
Unfortunately, Delk’s first year at the helm saw the end of a streak as the Maroons finished second to Blackwell at the 2012 state wrestling tournament ending an eight-year run. Delk said it was hard.
“I was a young coach with a young team,” Delk said. “It was hard building this team for that and coming up short.”
This past season, Delk wanted to make sure his team didn’t finish short again using some motivational tools.
“I did things from bringing out the second-place trophy in the locker room to taking the team up to the Fairgrounds the Sunday after regionals,” Delk said. “I wanted to let them have a look around and get ready.”
Ready the Maroons were as they dominated on Feb. 22. A sudden victory by David Thomas in the 160-pound championship on Feb. 23 brought the state championship trophy back to Perry. Delk said it was exciting winning his first state title as a head coach.
“I was so excited for my kids winning a state championship,” Delk said. “I still have people come up to me and congratulate me.”
Delk said it was a complete team effort.
“We had 12 qualify for state but it takes a whole room,” Delk said. “(My qualifiers) had to have good workout partners. They can’t just workout by themselves. If something happens someone needs to be ready to step up.”
Delk said he learned a lot from Oklahoma State coach John Smith and Scott Chenoworth.
“Wrestling for coach Smith, he was all about technique and doing it right,” Delk said. “Last December, Chenoworth gave me an article about Tom Osborne from Nebraska and how he was always calm, whether his team was winning or getting its tails kicked. I found it kind of weird because Chenoworth was very intense and took it to a new level. I try to stay calm and starting to learn how to do that.”