Black Diamonds win District Duals, qualify for Dual State
WAGONER — The Sallisaw Black Diamonds will get a shot at two team state titles this year. The first one could happen Feb 9.
The Black Diamonds ran the table at Thursday’s District 4A-8 Duals to earn a trip to the Class 4A Dual State Tournament, which will take place Feb. 9 at Stride Bank Center in Enid.
“We wrestled really well,” Sallisaw boys wrestling coach Mark Smith said. “We had to wrestle some tough teams. Our district was definitely not one of the easy ones. On all the duals, we won a by pretty good margin. We’re always looking for that. We’re looking to score a lot of points, and separate ourselves if we can. There were some close matches, and we won those close matches — and that’s always important, too.”
The Black Diamonds (60) routed Hilldale 68-6, Inola 70-3 and Checotah 72-9 before handling host and 14th-ranked Wagoner 45-25.
“We did well,” Smith said. “It was a tough environment and intense. It was good for our kids.
We want to be prepared for dual state, and that environment helped prepare them. We know we’ve gotten a lot better, but I want to see where we’re at compared to the Tuttles and some of the other schools who are consistently getting in there (to dual state).”
Smith knows that topranked Tuttle and the other six teams who will qualify are all going to be tough match-ups for the Black Diamonds, who will have to bring their “A” game to Enid if they want to bring home the dual state title.
“We’ll have to go battle,” he said. “There’s a tough Tuttle team. There’s going to be some tough teams we’re going to get in the second (dual state semifinals) and third rounds (state dual state finals). We’re just going to take it one match at a time. We have to focus on our matches. What I tell the guys is ‘take care of yourself each match at a time, and the team will take care of itself.’ ” Of course, a secondary goal is to get a chance to go against wrestlers the Black Diamonds matmen have not seen yet this year, and see how they stack up against them should they meet up two weekends later at the Class 4A State Tournament.
“We’re going to get some teams from the other side that we might not get to see if we hadn’t have made dual state,” Smith said. “We’ll get to see Tuttle. We’re going to get to see where we’re at, and that’s a good thing.”
The Black Diamonds will celebrate Senior Night with Thursday night’s home dual against Greenwood, Ark., beginning at 6 p.m. at the Sallisaw Middle School Gym.