There will be plenty of intriguing storylines when the state tournament gets underway on Friday. Here’s what to look for…
New champions abound: There are 56 individual titles up for grabs at the state tournament, and there will be plenty of new champions this year. Thirty-five, to be exact. In Class 6A and 3A, eight champions graduated, and there were nine that exhausted their eligibility in 4A. Class 5A leads the pack with 10 graduates winning titles last year. So expect to see plenty of fresh faces atop the podiums at State Fair Arena on Saturday.
Who’s it gonna be in 6A?: There hasn’t been a repeat champion in Class 6A since Edmond North ended Broken Arrow’s reign atop the state’s largest class in 2013. Since then it’s been Stillwater, Broken Arrow, Choctaw and Sand Springs to pass the crown around. It figures to be between Broken Arrow and Choctaw for this year’s championship. Mustang, Sand Springs, Ponca City, Owasso, Edmond North and Yukon all figure to be in the mix for various individual championships, so it’ll come down to who navigates the crowd better, whether it’s Broken Arrow or Choctaw.
6A 126 is loaded: Broken Arrow’s Reece Witcraft and Choctaw’s Colt Newton cruised to regional championships over the weekend. In Oklahoma City, the field will feature Mustang’s Cameron Picklo, Muskoge’s Kyri Beasley and Deer Creek’s Cade Manion. If it’s Witcraft and Newton in the finals, it’ll be their second showdown in three weeks, after Newton beat Witcraft, 8-5, in the 6A dual state finals.
Another Mac attack?: Just take a look back to early January. The scene was the Malcolm Wade Invitational at Carl Albert, which could also be known as the “5A state preview” every year. Lawton MacArthur, last year’s state tournament champion, won the event with 236.5 points with Skiatook leaving as the runner-up with 208.5 points. It provided a glimpse into the future, but it also didn’t involve Collinsville and Coweta, who could mix things up just enough to create a mess atop the 5A leaderboard this weekend. The Highlanders are riding high after a dual state and regional championship, but can they post enough points in the middle and upper weights to make it back to state gold?
Any drama at all in 3A & 4A?: Tuttle and Perry — the two premier programs in the state when it comes to accumulating championships over the past decade. Since winning the 2009 state title, Tuttle has yet to be dethroned. Perry, meanwhile, has won 13 state crowns since the turn of the century. There figure to be some entertaining matchups along the way, but it’ll take a strong effort from an opposing school to keep Tuttle and Perry from more gold.