By Derek Brown
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The weather has pushed back Stillwater’s season a week. But the excitement level has risen.
Stillwater will host Sapulpa at 7 p.m. Thursday which will be their first dual of the year in front of their home crowd.
“We’ve got to focus on what we are best at and find a groove and get in it and just go,” Stillwater coach Doug Chesbro said.
No. 3 ranked Stillwater wants to not only beat No. 12 Sapulpa but they aim at doing it convincingly.
“They’ll have some good kids. They always do,” Chesbro said. “If we’re going to truly be a top three team then we need to dominate teams that are of that caliber in the rankings. We’ll find out. I think if we score 40 or more points against them I will be pretty impressed and think that they are doing a pretty good job.”
Stillwater High School has not yet seen a home event for the winter season. The Pioneers’ wrestling dual will end that streak.
“Everybody is probable itching and ready to have some excitement go on in the gym. Hopefully we will give them what they want,” Chesbro said.
The Pioneers have had a couple of duals cancelled at the beginning of the season because of the weather. The wrestlers have been chomping at the bit to get on the mat.
“The kids are ready to wrestle, especially at home. Time-wise, we’re about a week behind,” Chesbro said.
Stillwater will battle in the Perry Tournament of Champions Friday and Saturday after the dual against Sapulpa.
“(Thursday) is definitely going to be big for getting our kids ready to compete for something a little bit bigger this weekend,” Chesbro said.The Pioneers have only wrestled in the Ark City Dual Tournament Dec. 7. Because Stillwater has had two duals cancelled the wrestlers have been anxiousiously waiting.
“We’re really eager to wrestle in this one,” Stillwater 152-pound junior Joe Smith said.
Stillwater has a handful of reasons why they want to defeat Sapulpa. This will be the Pioneers’ first dual at home and they have kept Stillwater out of Dual-State in the past though it is not a district dual this year.
“This year I’m hoping we should pound them,” Stillwater 132-pound junior Kaid Brock said. “I have a feeling that we’re pretty eager to have our first dual, especially since it’s at home. We’re going to want to make a statement.”
The crowd could bring a lot more energy than they have in the past for the wrestling team.
“It’s really exciting due to the fact that the student body is behind us a lot more this year,” Brock said.
The wrestling room has been excited about the upcoming season and wants to start their home stand off on the right foot against Sapulpa Thursday.
“I hope we have a good crowd turnout. We have a chance to be really good this year and I think everybody is really motivated to win this dual,” Smith said.
Despite a nine team ranking difference between Stillwater and Sapulpa, the Pioneers will not slack off at all.
“We’ve still got to show up. There’s not too many slouches in Oklahoma where you can just go and plan on beating. You’ve got to wrestle every dual,” Smith said.