By Andrew Glover
PERRY, Okla. —
Last year the Perry Maroons wrestling team saw their season end in disappointment with a second-place finish at the state tournament. Early this month, coach Ronnie Delk provided a little motivation for his team, to not return with another silver trophy.
“He put out the silver trophy in the locker room before dual state,” senior 152-pounder Austin Allen said. “Every time we came into the locker room we had to look at it. It made me sick.”
Delk said he took it a step further last week and got his wrestlers focused on their goal.
“We drove up last Sunday and sat in the same spot in the parking lot, where we watched Blackwell come by with their trophy last year,” Delk said. “Fortunately, we were able to get in to the arena and we were able to walk around and showed them some things.”
At the state tournament, Friday and Saturday at Jim Norick Arena, Perry made sure no one was going to take their trophy and won its 39th state title and ninth in the last 10 years.
Perry accomplished its first goals of the season by winning the Dual State championship on Feb. 9 and regionals on Feb. 16. The Maroons sent 11 wrestlers to the state tournament and seven won their first round matches. In the semifinals, Perry got victories from Dalton Revels at 106, Noah Nida at 120, Colton Looper at 145, Allen at 152 and David Thomas at 160.
Looper, Allen and Thomas all had to pull out close victories. Looper won his match with a 4-3 decision in the tiebreaker. Allen won by fall with 34 seconds left in the tie breaker. Thomas advanced with a 1-0 decision. Looper said he knew it was going to be tough adding his hard work paid off.
“I was wrestling someone that had the same style,” Looper said. “When he stalls the whole time, getting an escape is huge. Coach Delk has been training us all season for those type of moments.
The Maroons finished Friday with a 93-57 lead over Tonkawa. Saturday would be a struggle for Perry as it only won one of its seven consolation matches. Tonkawa was able to get within 20 points entering the finals. The Maroons’ struggles continued in the finals as they lost their first four finals, making it up to Thomas to clinch state and keep Perry from playing the waiting game.
“I was kind of upset,” Delk said. “We hadn’t won a final all day. I felt we got some bad calls that cost us other matches. When David was up, I knew how hard he worked.”
Thomas match would be difficult as he trailed 4-2 in the third period. The junior scored a takedown late to even the match at 4. After making it through the first tiebreaker scoreless. Thomas scored an escape in the ultimate tiebreaker, clinch the match and state.
“It felt great,” Thomas said. “My two goals was to an individual championship and a team state title. I accomplished both.”
The Maroons are already looking ahead to next year.
“I’m already thinking about going for number 40,” Delk said.
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