By Chris Day
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Chris Perry learned a little more about himself so far this wrestling season. A little adversity teaches big lessons.
Perry won four state championships en route to a 133-1 record at Stillwater High School.
He’s also a part of an Oklahoma State legacy.
His father is two-time Oklahoma State All-American Mark Perry. His older brother, Mark Perry Jr., was a two-time NCAA champion and four-time All-American. His uncle is Oklahoma State’s wrestling coach John Smith.
Expectations were great.
Perry compiled a 15-1 overall record in 2009-2010 wrestling exclusively in open tournaments.
This season, he is OSU’s starter at 184 pounds. Perry (14-4 overall, 7-3 in duals) is ranked 12th in his weight in the first coaches’ panel rating released Thursday by the NCAA. Perry is 4-4 against ranked opponents this season.
Perry faced adversity and beat it, Smith said.
“Nothing has really surprised me,” the OSU wrestling coach said. “He has had a pretty good year.”
Many of Perry’s opponents have been ranked between No. 10 and 15 and he has won most of those matches, Smith said.
“He just needs to continue to remain focused and work on the things that will make him extremely successful. He can’t let down in the workout room for even one day,” Smith said.
Perry has two major decisions and four pins this season. His quickest pin came in just 43 seconds. He said he knows the competition is tougher at the collegiate level, and is preparing for the upcoming Big 12 duals, the conference tournament and the NCAA championships.
The redshirt freshman talks about this season, high school and adjusting to collegiate wrestling.
What’s it like to be a Stillwater wrestler at Oklahoma State University?
“It’s enjoyable. You’ve got a lot of fans. I can’t get caught up in all the hype that I’m from Stillwater and went to high school here. ... I’ve got to wrestle my style, go out there and focus on myself and not worry about what everybody thinks.”
How does wrestling for coach Doug Chesbro at Stillwater High compare with wrestling for coach John Smith at OSU?
“Coach Chesbro, I am really close with him. I’ve grown up around him my whole life. He was awesome for me. He was like another dad to me when I was growing up. He was a close family friend. He was a good coach. He taught me a lot of things about myself that I didn’t know. It translated over here. It helped me grow up here and take on challenges that I didn’t think I can take on when they first arose.”
In high school, you only lost one match in your four-year career. The competition is more difficult in college. How has that affected you?
“I’ve lost more matches this year than I’ve lost in a long time about five years. It’s different. I struggled with it at the beginning of the year. I’ve accepted it now and taken it as a challenge. I’ve made huge strides from it. It was hard on me because I’m not used to losing. I’ve had to change things. Every guy in college is most likely a three-time state champ in high school. Everybody you face is going to be good. You’re not going to have those guys you can go out and pin in 10 second like you could in high school. It’s a challenge you have to accept and move on with it.”