MIDWEST CITY -- One of the goals for every Oklahoma high school wrestling team is to make the dual state competition.
It certainly was one of the goals for Carl Albert, but the Titans fell one match short. Carl Albert lost at its gym to Harrah. The Panthers went to dual state, the Titans stayed home.
Coach Fay Barnett had no idea how his club would respond to the disappointment. Dual state begins the biggest three-week stretch of the wrestling season.
Carl Albert wasn't around for that first weekend, but the Titans made sure everybody remembered who they were at last weekend's regional at Tahlequah.
The Titans qualified eight wrestlers for state and have put themselves in position for another solid run this weekend.
"That disappointment drove (us) even harder in the (wrestling) room and the weight room," senior heavyweight Kyle Croak said. "We took everything more serious."
Croak epitomizes the resurgence of the Titans. Croak said he had a January to forget. Battling illness, he didn't perform to his abilities at 215.
He had been thinking about moving up, and upon the advice of teammates and coaches, moved to heavyweight for the regional.
It was a gutsy call, especially since Croak had to open the regional against top-seeded Jake Gibson of Pryor. Croak defeated Gibson on his way to earning a second-place finish and a second seed for this weekend.
"Kyle had a great weekend," Barnett said. "You could just see how focused he was all weekend."