MUSTANG — Bill Clinton was President of the United States. Bob Stoops was on his way to save OU from the mess that John Blake created. And Les Miles was still a few years away from being named the head coach at Oklahoma State.
The year was 1998.
It was also the last time Mustang qualified for dual state. That was until the Broncos brought that drought to an end this season.
Mustang took down Norman (58-12), Moore (61-13) and Edmond Memorial (40-17) to secure a trip to this year’s Class 6A dual state tournament, being held at Firelake Arena in Shawnee this weekend.
“It was really special to me,” Mustang coach Brian Picklo said. “This team is a group of friends, not just teammates. They cheer for each other, they push each other and they have a lot of fun wrestling.”
That joy has been coupled with success this season, too. The Broncos finished third at Mid-America Nationals in December, and in January they finished sixth at the Geary tournament, second at the COAC Conference Tournament and third at the Owasso dual tournament.
“Our schedule has been a grind,” Picklo said. “We’ve definitely had some ups and downs. We’ve fought through illness and injury, and I think it has prepared them because they have faced adversity and have been successful.”
And it’s been a mixer of youth and experience for Mustang. Joseph Lupton (120), Cooper Meadows (182) and Blake Russell (285) have been the seniors leading the way, and then there are the freshmen, Keegan Luton (106), Tucker Owens (113) and Tate Picklo (145), who have made an immediate impact. Owens, Lupton and Cameron Picklo (126) each picked up individual titles at the conference tournament, and Owens, Lupton and Russell all went unbeaten at the Owasso dual tournament.
“I’ve got a bunch of kids who are chasing dreams and bringing everyone up with them,” Brian Picklo said. “Luton, Lupton, Cam Picklo and Tate Picklo have all raised the bar for themselves and the team.”
For Brian Picklo, he’s personally invested with his sons, Tate and Cameron, following in their father’s Big 10 All-American footsteps.
“I’m a super proud dad,” said Brian Picklo, whose sons are a combined 51-8 headed into dual state. “I have enjoyed every bit of this journey. It’s awesome to be able to share something I love with my boys.
“Wrestling was something that made me who I am today. I’m glad I get to be there and share in my boys’ development. There is no other activity in the world that can teach you more about life than wrestling. It teaches humbleness, perseverance, discipline, dedication, it gives perspective, it teaches sportsmanship and humility, it gives the participant the opportunity to conquer fear, it gives the participant strength of mind, body and spirit. I’m grateful to get to share these lessons with my sons.”
At dual state, Mustang will take on Sand Springs in the quarterfinals while being on the same side of the bracket as Choctaw. The quarterfinals will be wrestled on Friday with the semifinals and finals to follow on Saturday.
6A dual state
Quarterfinals – Friday at 6 p.m.
Choctaw vs. Ponca City, Mat 1
Sand Springs vs. Mustang, Mat 3
Broken Arrow vs. Deer Creek, Mat 2
Edmond North vs. Owasso, Mat 4
Semifinals – Saturday at 2 p.m.
Choctaw-Ponca City winner vs. Sand Springs-Mustang winner, Mat 2
Broken Arrow-Deer Creek winner vs. Edmond North-Owasso winner, Mat 4
Finals – Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Championship, Mat 4
— By BEN JOHNSON