Perry is used to winning wrestling championships. Saturday, the Maroons won the Class 3A Dual State Championship. It was their fifth straight dual state championship, and the team has won 13 of the last 15.
Even with all those titles, this one was something special.
Perry led Newkirk 27-25 heading into the duals final match at 132 pounds. That meant Perry's chances at another championship rested squarely on Damien Tucker.
Tucker didn't disappoint.
Trailing 8-7 heading into the third period, Tucker picked up a two-point reversal and three near fall points to earn a dramatic 12-8 victory and give Perry the team title.
“It feels great to do this for my team,” Tucker said. “I knew I had to pull it out, this team has a lot of heart.”
For Perry coach Ronnie Delk, this one felt even more special than any of his past five championship teams.
“Yes, it definitely did,” Delk said. “This team has just overcome so much. These guys, especially Damien tonight, just found a way to gut it out.
BLACKWELL PLEASED WITH SEMIFINAL APPEARANCE
After losing nine seniors from a team that finished as the 4A Dual State runner-up in 2012, many believed Blackwell would take a step back this season.
However, the Maroons made another strong run as a dual team in 2013, reaching the semifinals before falling to Tuttle.
“Everyone wrote us off for dead,” Blackwell coach E.J. Edgar said. “When you graduate nine guys, you're supposed to take a step back. I think this is a sign of the overall health of our program.”
Blackwell finished the dual season 14-5.
“I'm as proud of this bunch as I am of any other team I've ever had,” Edgar said.
TUTTLE'S BEARD STAYS UNDEFEATED
Tuttle's Zachary Beard picked up three wins on Saturday at 170 pounds, bringing his record to 34-0 on the season. Beard won by pin against Bristow and Blackwell, and received a forfeit in the finals against Vinita.
Beard is a 3-time individual state champion. He will have a chance to defend his individual championship starting next weekend at the regional tournament, with the state tournament the following week at State Fair Arena.