By Derek Brown
Stillwater News Press
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Just eight teams got the call to have the right to wrestle at Dual State.
No. 1 ranked Stillwater will travel to Yukon on Saturday where it will take on Midwest City in the first dual at noon during Dual State.
“All of us are really motivated and ready to go compete at Dual State,” Stillwater junior Joe Smith said. “Everybody wants to win Dual State. You can’t take anything for granted. If we’re going to win we have to go out and compete.”
The last time Stillwater made it to Dual State was in 2005. The event is new for every Pioneer wrestler currently on the squad.
“It’s been awhile since we’ve been there so we’re pretty happy to be here. Now we need to go and make the best of it,” Stillwater coach Doug Chesbro said.
Stillwater has been to Dual State six times. The Pioneers’ best finish was in the semi-finals, where Stillwater lost twice. SHS will look to top that this year.
“We want to do more every time you get there,” Chesbro said. “We realize what we have in front of us.”
King Williams, Benny Teegarden, James Brower and Chandler Rogers are the seniors that will experience Dual State for the first and last time as a Pioneer.
“I’ve been here for four years and this is my first time to go with the team so it’s pretty exciting,” Teegarden said. “Going out as a senior and going to Dual State, it feels great.”
Stillwater met No. 8 Midwest City on Jan. 23. The Pioneers blanked the Bombers 65-0. Even though the win was lopsided SHS is not going to overlook Midwest City because Dual State is a single elimination event and there is no room for error.
“You want to take it one match at a time,” Teegarden said. “I know that we beat Midwest City pretty bad last time but you can’t look over them or look ahead.”
When the Pioneers saw the Bombers earlier in the year, the team may not have been at its best.
“I don’t want our kids to get too overconfident from what the last score was because I don’t think they were at their best then,” Chesbro said.
Should the Pioneers advance they will not have an easy road following the first round. With a win over Midwest City the Pioneers would face either No. 5 Yukon or No. 7 Union.
“I think we are at our best. I think we’re in good shape,” Chesbro said. “Everything should be set to go.”
The other side of the bracket has No. 2 Edmond North, No. 3 Broken Arrow, No. 8 Muskogee and No. 6 Southmoore.
“Whoever comes out of this on top is a doggone good wrestling team,” Chesbro said. “At this point with eight teams left you never know.”
Dual State has its benefits and drawbacks because regionals are on Feb. 21-22. Dual State could host meetings between two wrestlers that could be vying for a spot at state. Chesbro and the Stillwater coaching staff will need a strategy to go by.
Stillwater will bring 20 wrestlers and will have two options for six weight classes.
“It’s good to have a good effort against somebody that’s going to give you their best effort to strengthen you. But at the same time sometimes we don’t want to see these people quite yet,” Chesbro said. “It’s a tough choice coaching wise but that’s a choice we’ll make down the road.”
King Williams is back from an injury and will suit up and be ready to wrestle on Saturday.
The Pioneers feel that they are clicking and ready for the challenge on Saturday.
“We’re really bonding together. We’re becoming one,” Smith said. “I think top to bottom we are doing pretty good.”