CUSHING — It was a moment usually reserved for pure celebration, as Tuttle notched its fifth-straight dual state championship on Saturday by defeating Vinita 55-12 in Class 4A.
Red-clad fans jumped in the stands. Wrestlers embraced one another on the mat. But Tuttle coach Matt Surber was still reminded of what happened six and seven years ago — the last two times Tuttle reached the state final, but failed to win. A result of high expectations.
“We lost the first two,” Surber said. “Evidently, we learned after those.”
With its win Saturday, Tuttle entered an elite category of state teams with five-straight dual titles since 1989; joining Perry, Bristow and El Reno.
“The kids just trained really hard this week and were ready to go,” Surber said. “We went out there and wrestled and won a lot of close ones.”
Tuttle's title defense on Saturday began with a 12-0 deficit.
Previously undefeated Vinita opened the dual with two match victories by fall — one from Jake Mason against Dusty Loftin in 1:11, and another by injury default when Tuttle's Teague Fox suffered a torn ligament in his right shoulder in the third period against J.W. Williams.
“That stuff don't shake them too much,” Surber said. “They understand the heart of our lineup is our little guys all the way up to 160 … We just go at it and the kids understand what's going on.”
Surber's attitude was reflected in Tuttle's performance, as the team coasted to victories in each of its next 12 matches, winning six by fall.
Tuttle 126-pounder Blake Dauphin is one of five seniors who completed their high school careers with a sweep of dual state championships. It was Dauphin's third-straight on the mat, and one he won't soon forget.
“It means a lot for us seniors to be able to win it every year since we've been in high school,” Dauphin said. “It was a good way to go out.”
Serber said eight underclassmen who wrestled on Saturday will return next season.
“We'll reload next year and try to come back,” he said.