After a year’s delay, the Piedmont Wildcats finally get to compete in the Mudville Duals.
They were supposed to make their first appearance in the wrestling tournament hosted by Miami High School last year, but the tournament was cancelled in the aftermath of the massive ice storm that battered the area.
“I saw it last year on an okwrestle.com forum,” Piedmont coach Chuck Morgan said. “We were going to come last year, but it got cancelled. It’s better than going to some other tournaments and go two-and-out. We will get lot of mat time. That’s one reason we wanted to get into it.”
The Wildcats are one of 13 teams are entered in this year’s tournament, with the whole four-state area represented.
Bentonville, Ark., is a first-time entrant.
Kansas will be represented by Coffeyville, Independence and Caney.
Missouri schools entered are Webb City, Joplin and McDonald County.
Joining host Miami and Piedmont in the Oklahoma delegation are Owasso, Pryor, Liberty and Tahlequah.
A mystery team, composed of wrestlers from several squads, will give the tournament an even number of teams.
The tournament will be held on the campus of Northeastern A&M, in the NEO Fieldhouse and NEO Student Activity Center.
“That way, we can have six mats going,” Miami coach Josh Bolinger said.
Competition begins Friday at 4 p.m. with four rounds wrestled.
There will be another three rounds starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, setting up the pool portion of the competition. That will in turn set up the three brackets — gold, silver and bronze.
The top two teams in each pool will compete in the gold bracket with the third- and fourth-place teams in pool play going to the silver bracket.
The teams that wind up fifth and sixth in pool competition will wrestle in the bronze bracket.
“Our kids are excited and they’re looking forward to coming out there,” Morgan said.
Piedmont is 1-1 in dual competition so far.
The Wildcats have one returning state qualifier back in 171-pounder Tim Steeds. He was eliminated in two straight matches, “but he wrestled well,” Morgan said.
Two other wrestlers placed sixth at the regional tournament — 152-pounder Jaren Jackson and heavyweight Reece Rizzo.
This is the fifth year for the tournament to be held in this format.
The Civic Center, which was to have been the site of the ’07 event, was being used by the City of Miami in recovery efforts.
It was just the second time the event had been cancelled.
Locust Grove won the tournament in 2006, holding off McDonald County, Mo., 40-36.