The top spot in the Class 6A wrestling rankings has been a revolving door.
Edmond North, Stillwater, and Broken Arrow have all spent time at No. 1 in the coaches' poll. That sort of change at the top is a rare occurrence in wrestling, but it serves as evidence to how talented all three teams are.
Throughout January, it appeared Broken Arrow had the upper hand. The Tigers edged out Edmond North by half a point to win the Geary Tournament, and did the same to Stillwater a week later at the Bobby Lyons Invitational in Sand Springs.
But after Stillwater's 37-23 dual win at Broken Arrow on Jan. 28, it's the Pioneers who enter Saturday's Dual State Championships at Yukon as the favorite.
The win over Broken Arrow also allowed the Pioneers to gain the east's top seed in the tournament, putting them on the opposite side of the bracket from Broken Arrow and defending champion Edmond North.
“It's going to be tough regardless of who we wrestle (on Saturday),” said Stillwater coach Doug Chesbro. “There's tough teams all the way around. I think us winning against Broken Arrow earlier in the year put us in a little bit better position. I'm not counting anyone else out, and I don't want to look past anybody, but obviously we've set ourselves up where we're in a position to have a little bit easier path than (Broken Arrow and Edmond North).”
It remains to be seen just how strong Edmond North is, as Saturday will mark the first time all season it's had a full-strength team.
“We should have a pretty good lineup this weekend,” said Edmond North coach Andy Schneider. “We design our schedule and our training so that we are wrestling our best and have our best lineup at the end of the year for dual state and regionals. We'll have our full lineup and several extras this weekend, so I feel pretty good about that.”
As always in dual competition, bonus-point wins will play a major role in deciding the champion.
“I think it will come down to the wire,” Schneider said. “I think we'll have our work cut out for us just to make it to the finals. That Broken Arrow matchup can be just as tight and competitive for us as the potential Stillwater matchup. With those teams, their strongest part of the lineup is not necessarily ours and our strongest part isn't necessarily theirs, so I think it'll come down to a lot of bonus points.”
COLLINSVILLE, TUTTLE, PERRY FAVORED TO REPEAT
Defending dual state champions Perry (3A), Tuttle (4A), and Collinsville (5A) all enter Saturday's tournaments as favorites to repeat.
Tuttle is looking to make some impressive history by becoming just the fourth program in the state to win five consecutive dual titles. The Tigers, who are heavy favorites in Class 4A, would join Perry, Bristow, and El Reno as the only schools to accomplish the feat since dual state began in 1989.
Second-ranked Cushing serves as the biggest threat to Tuttle, especially with the advantage of being at home. If Cushing is to get its shot at Tuttle, it will likely have to first get by undefeated Vinita in the semifinals.
In Class 3A, Perry can extend its state record with a 15th dual state championship and 14th in the last 16 years. A potential finals matchup with second-ranked Blackwell could make for one of the best duals of the weekend. Perry defeated Blackwell, 34-28, on Jan. 16.
Like Tuttle and Perry, Collinsville has been the dominant force in its class recently. The Cardinals have won three straight titles, but enters this year's tournament as only a slight favorite in Class 5A with Lawton MacArthur posing as potentially their toughest opponent.