All the hard work the Poteau Pirates and Talihina Golden Tigers wrestlers have done this season has led to this weekend. The season has boiled down to today and Saturday as they will try to send as many wrestlers as possible to next week's state tournaments.
“This is what the season boils down to — it's a two-day season,” Poteau Coach Chris Barbee said. “If you want to continue your season, you need to make it into the top four (individually per weight class). If you don't make the top four, you're season is over. We've been working hard all year. We're coming off a pretty successful dual season and doing good in tournaments, also. We're looking forward to really competing. We're looking to get into the top four (in each weight class) to get to the state tournament. We're looking to qualify as many as we can, and that will set us up better in the state tournament to where we can finish in the top 10 (in team standings).”
The Pirates will be at the Class 4A Regional Tournament in Cleveland, Okla., along with Bristow, Catoosa, host Cleveland, Fort Gibson, Jay, Locust Grove, Mannford, Oologah, Sallisaw, Stilwell, Tulsa Cascia Hall, Tulsa McLain, Tulsa Webster, Vinita and Wagoner.
The top four wrestlers in each weight class will make state, which will be next weekend at Oklahoma City's State Fair Arena.
“Bristow is going to be tough,” Barbee said. “(Tulsa) Cascia Hall is going to be tough. Fort Gibson is tough. Locust Grove is tough. They're all pretty tough. There's not one team there that we haven't seen, so that makes me feel better about it — there's not going to be an unknown factor. It's a meat-grinder type of regional. But if you get out of this regional, you're going to be in pretty good shape at the state tournament. You can't overlook anybody at this time of the year. We just have to take it one match at a time, and let the chips fall where they may.”
The Golden Tigers will be in the Class 3A Regional Tournament at Inola, along with Barnsdall, Bethel, Blackwell, Cave Springs, Chandler, Hulbert, host Inola, Keys (Park Hill), Keifer, Liberty, Newkirk, Okmulgee, Pawhuska, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Quinton, Salina, Sequoyah-Tahlequah, Sperry, Tonkawa, Vian and Webbers Falls.
“It's a very tough regional,” Talihina Coach Jon Bradberry said. “In the weight classes in which we have wrestlers, we'll have the No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 wrestlers in the state. It's going to be very tough.”