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Oklahoma: State Tournament History

We made it!

Despite an ongoing pandemic and historic weather event, the Regional Tournaments have been completed and the State Tournament brackets are set. It is time to enjoy some outstanding wrestling and see who will bring home the championship trophies for each class. Listed below is a brief history of the Oklahoma High School State Wrestling Tournament along with a few of the State Tournament records.

Prior to 1934, Oklahoma A&M (OSU) and OU each held separate “State” Tournaments. Oklahoma A&M started their tournament in 1922 and OU started in 1925. Starting in 1934, the State Tournament came under control of the Oklahoma High School Athletic Association (later the OSSAA). From 1934 until 1947, only individual champions and medalists were recognized by the Association. While team scores were certainly kept and the newspapers touted the championship teams, it wasn’t until 1947, that the Association awarded a team trophy to the winning team.

In the 1960s and 70s, wrestling experienced tremendous growth as the popularity of the sport exploded. This growth led to many adjustments to keep up with the growing number of schools fielding teams. Listed below are the dates and changes that were made.

1960 – The number of weight classes increased from 10 to 12.
1961 – Split into two classes (Class A and 2A)
1970 – Split into three classes (Class 2A, 3A and 4A)
1978 – Split into four classes (Class A, 2A, 3A and 4A)
1981 – 13th weight class added
1988 – Classes renamed 2A, 3A, 4A and 5A
1996 – 14th weight class added
2009 – Classes renamed 3A, 4A, 5A and 6A

Tulsa Central was THE dominant program in the early days of Oklahoma wrestling as they won 10 state titles between 1929 and 1939. Coached by Hall of Fame member (and future Oklahoma A&M coach) Art Griffith, they also won two national tournaments during that time. Fellow Hall of Fame member Rex Peery (and future Pittsburg coach) led Central to four state titles, winning their last title in 1949. Wrestlers from Central went on to win 28 NCAA titles (most in the nation), including four 3X champions.

Perry won its first state championship in 1952 and has gone on to win 43 state championships which is not only the most in Oklahoma, but also number one in the nation for most high school state wrestling championships. Tuttle stands 2nd with 17 state championships, winning their first title in 1990 and have won the last 12 Class 4A state titles.

Midwest City was the team to beat for many years and always in the running for a state title. From 1971 to 1991, they won 13 of their 16 state championships. The Bombers were not only a power in Oklahoma, but gained national acclaim as they were named national champions in 1981, 1990 and 1991.

Broken Arrow won their first state championship in 1998 and immediately proceeded to win five titles in a row. The Tigers have won the last two Class 6A titles to give them 11 state championships. Collinsville has dominated Class 5A since 2011, winning nine title during that time, including winning six in a row from 2011-2016. They also crowned 31 individual champions in their championship years.

When comparing teams from different eras it is obvious that you can’t just go by most points scored as scoring and the number of weights has changed over the years. As an example, in 1954, there were ten weights, no advancement points, only one point for a fall (no such thing as a major decision or tech fall back then) and placement points were 6-4-2-1. An interesting side-note is the number of falls earned at the State Tournament (Thanks to long-time coach and current wrestling official Kevin Wattenbarger for asking this question). Limited research shows that in 1954, there were 17 falls in 104 matches (16%), the 1973 Class 2A Tournament saw 18 falls in 120 matches (15% and 11 of those falls came at 178 and HWT). The 2019 Class 5A State Tournament saw 88 falls in 196 matches (45%). What does that mean? That is for you to decide.

Everyone has their “best team ever” and have good reasons for their choices. Just to get the discussion started, listed below are a few teams from the different eras of Oklahoma Wrestling.

Many from the 1960s, say that the 1963 John Marshall team was the best ever. They won the Class AA state title with four champions and owned a 24-10 dual win over Class A state champion Perry (Perry crowned five champs and was the first team to score 100 points at the State Tournament). John Marshall was led by future Olympic gold medalist Wayne Wells and the team included future collegiate stars Bryan Rice, Mike McAdams and Dickie Haxel.

There is always fun discussion on what was Perry’s best team, but the conversation usually starts with their 1973 state championship team. The 1973 champs were the first team to crown seven individual champions as they scored 105.5 points to more than double 2nd place Hobart’s 41 points. In fact, Perry outscored the combined scores of the 2nd-4th place teams (105.5 to 98.5). Perry finished 10-0 in duals including wins over Class 3A state champion Blackwell and Geary Tournament champion Norman.

Midwest City’s 1981 state and national championship team also crowned seven champions as they scored a record 160.5 points to beat a strong Tulsa East Central team by 61 points. The 160.5 points scored by the Bombers remained as the Class 6A scoring record until 2020, when Broken Arrow scored 163.5.

In 1994, Tulsa Webster sent legendary coach Ernie Jones out in style (for his 1st retirement) as they crowned six champs and had four other placers to establish a new scoring record of 189 points. They outscored 2nd place Lawton Mac by 65 points and the 189 points remains as the Class 5A record.

El Reno’s 2004 team crowned seven champions to run-away with the team title. They scored 177.5 points to more than double 2nd place Duncan’s 88 points. El Reno also won the Geary Tournament that year with a then record 179 points.

Like Perry, there are many options when choosing Tuttle’s best team. The 2020 team certainly can make their case as they shattered state records for state champs and points scored. In 2019 AND 2020, the Tigers put an incredible 11 wrestlers in the finals, with the 2020 team finally breaking the glass ceiling of seven state champs (held by five teams) by crowing nine state champs! Tuttle scored an incredible 247 points to more than double 2nd place Cushing’s 116 points. Like the 73 Perry team, Tuttle outscored the 2nd-4th place teams (247 to 222).

Looking at three eras, Perry dominated the 70s, El Reno dominated from 1996 to 2006 and Tuttle has ruled the past 12 years. From 1971 to 1981, Perry won a state record 11 titles in a row (since tied by El Reno and broken by Tuttle). From 1971 to 1974, the Maroons had an amazing 30 state finalists; crowning 22 individual champs (remember there were only 12 weights at that time). During El Reno’s streak of 11 titles in a row, they had an incredible 78 finalists and won 52 individual titles.

There may not be enough adjectives to describe Tuttle’s domination at the State Tournament since 2009. In those 12 years, the Tigers have put 102 wrestlers in the state finals and crowned 62 individual champions. In the last four years alone, they had 41 finalists and 25 champs. The domination can be seen in the State Tournament scoring records as Tuttle owns the top six spots and 8 of the top ten for most points scored at the State Tournament.

Listed below are some of the records for the State Tournament.

Most Team Championships

  1. Perry – 43
  2. Tuttle – 17
  3. Midwest City – 16
  4. Tulsa Central – 14
  5. Broken Arrow – 11
  6. El Reno – 11
  7. Collinsville – 9
  8. Blackwell – 8
  9. Ponca City – 8
  10. Cushing – 8
  11. Stillwater – 8
  12. Choctaw – 6
  13. Marlow – 6
  14. Tulsa Webster – 6

Most Consecutive Team Championships

  1. Tuttle – 12 (2009-2020)
  2. Perry – 11 (1971-1981)
  3. El Reno – 11 (1996-2006)
  4. Perry – 8 (2004-2011)
  5. Tulsa Central – 6 (1934-1939)
  6. Perry – 6 (1961-1966)
  7. Collinsville – 6 (2011-2016)
  8. Sperry – 5 (1983-1987)
  9. Broken Arrow – 5 (1998-2002)
  10. Tulsa Washington – 4 (1976-1979)
  11. Ponca City – 4 (2003-2006)

Most Team Points

  1. Tuttle – 247 (2020)
  2. Tuttle – 229 (2019)
  3. Tuttle – 210 (2018)
  4. Tuttle – 200 (2016)
  5. Tuttle – 197.5 (2017)
  6. Tuttle – 193 (2013)
  7. Tulsa Webster – 189 (1994)
  8. Tuttle – 187.5 (2015)
  9. Tuttle – 178.5 (2014)
  10. El Reno – 177.5 (2004)

Most Team Points – Class 6A

  1. Broken Arrow – 163.5 (2020)
  2. Midwest City – 160.5 (1981)
  3. Broken Arrow – 158 (2019)
  4. Broken Arrow – 156 (2001)
  5. Ponca City – 149 (2004)

Most Team Points – Class 5A

  1. Tulsa Webster – 189 (1994)
  2. El Reno – 177.5 (2004)
  3. El Reno – 175 (2003)
  4. Collinsville – 174 (2013)
  5. El Reno – 167 (1997)

Most Team Points – Class 3A

  1. Perry – 171 (2009)
  2. Perry – 160 (2001)
  3. Perry – 157.5 (2018)
  4. Sperry – 150 (1989)
  5. Blackwell – 150 (2012)

Most Individual Champions

  1. Tuttle – 9 (2020)
  2. Perry – 7 (1973) (12 weights)
  3. Midwest City – 7 (1981) (13 weights)
  4. Bristow – 7 (2000)
  5. El Reno – 7 (2004)
  6. Tuttle – 7 (2017)
  7. Tulsa Central – 6 (1945) (10 weights)
  8. Perry – 6 (1974) (12 weights)
  9. Skiatook – 6 (1987) (13 weights)
  10. Tulsa Webster – 6 (1994) (13 weights)
  11. El Reno – 6 (2000)
  12. Ponca City – 6 (2005)
  13. Tuttle – 6 (2013)
  14. Tuttle – 6 (2014)
  15. Tuttle – 6 (2016)
  16. Perry – 6 (2018)
  17. Tuttle – 6 (2019)

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