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February 21, 2014

Fightin' Chicks take first steps toward state in Del City regional

CHICKASHA —

Chickasha wrestlers have spent the better part of four months working toward these next few weeks.

Starting today, they'll hit the mat and take their first step toward a regional tournament performance worthy of qualifying for state. Like most teams, they have their top seeds that are expected to challenge not just in Del City this weekend but at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds in a week's time when the best wrestlers in the state converge and compete.

But in the postseason, anything can happen.

"Regionals is a weird thing," head coach Chad Randle said. "There are always kids not there that were supposed to be because of grades, injuries; somebody didn't pull their weight right, the stress level made them wrestle weird, or whatever. I've always had kids go that weren't supposed to. We've been stressing don't count yourself out."

Four of the Fightin' Chicks' team -- sophomore Dakota Resendez, junior Riley Williams, senior Triston Hill and senior and defending state champion Josh Latham -- are expected to be seeded inside the top four in their weight class. It gives them the best possible chance to qualify, with four advancing from each weight.

"Hopefully, they do their job to get in," Randle said. "We don't even talk about state; this is the last week of practice unless you get the bonus round."

The situation is slightly different for the undefeated Latham. Like his teammates, he spent the week preparing, both mentally and physically, for the challenge ahead; but he'll also be looking at the prospect of keeping his dream of being named two-time state champion within sight.

"I think part of getting ready for state is to forget ever being there; remember why I want it, why I started," Latham said.  "As far as I'm concerned, I'm not a state champion. Last year is over and done with. That'll always be there."

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