CUSHING — Tuttle coach Matt Surber knew his team was the heavy favorite in the Class 4A Dual State Championships. Still, Surber was nervous about how his team might perform.
He would have no reason to be as the Tigers cruised to easy 43-10 victory over Vinita to win their fourth consecutive dual state title.
The win over Vinita came after Tuttle had already routed Bristow (63-13) and Blackwell (61-9) earlier in the day.
“Today I was more nervous than in the last couple years,” Surber said. “When you're heavily favored, and everyone keeps telling you that, you feel the pressure for your team to perform.”
Surber isn't exactly sure what the secret is behind Tuttle's run of success.
“I don't know what it is,” Surber said when asked about the run of championships. “We just got a formula right now where our kids really believe in themselves and it shows.”
In the finals, Tuttle put Vinita away quickly by winning the first seven matches of the dual to open up a 31-0 lead. During that stretch the Tigers got bonus point wins from Dakota Head, Austin Elam, and Zachary Beard.
The dual victory was clinched with five matches remaining after Tuttle's Nathan Jackson picked up a 3-1 win over Vinita's J.W. Williams in the 285-pound match.
Beard, a senior, has been a starter on each of Tuttle's four consecutive dual state title teams. For him, this season's experience was different from the past three.
“The first couple we were shocked and excited to win,” Beard said. “Now it's become about how bad we can dominate. But it still feels great to win that fourth one.”
After losing the first two duals of the season, to Broken Arrow and Allen (Texas), Tuttle's win capped off a streak of 12 straight dual wins. The Tigers finish the dual season at 12-2.
Vinita received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty following the 145-pound match. Three team points were deducted as a result of the penalty. The Hornets finish their dual season 18-2.