Perry Wrestling: Still Dominate – Presented by Perry Memorial Hospital


By Chad Waters 

The town of Perry is known for doing two things better than anyone else in the country.

They build the world’s best trenchers at Ditch Witch, an international company founded by lifelong Perry native, Ed Malzahn. They also raise some of the best high school wrestlers in the country, who have amassed the greatest high school wrestling records.

The Maroons have won 42 state tournament titles, 26 more than second place Midwest City. The Maroons also have the most dual state titles at 19.

Since 1961, Perry has never gone longer than three years without a state wrestling championship. That means every graduating senior from Perry over the past 57 years has gone to at least one pep rally to celebrate a state wrestling championship.


Also averaging 2.5 individual state champions per year since 1961, several Maroon wrestlers are looking to add their names on the Perry wrestling room wall that is already filled with 172 names. This season, four Maroon wrestlers—Ryan Smith, Dylan Avery, Hadyn Redus and Kohl Owen—are looking to add their names for a second time.

The Maroons returned five additional state qualifiers this season, and with the state tournament a little more than a month away coach Ronnie Delk says his group has a chance to break the individual state champions record (7) by having more than half the weight class stand atop the podium.

“On paper I think we can final eight to nine guys with an opportunity for each of them to be a state champion if everyone stays healthy,” Delk said.

With last year’s squad winning the Class 3A state championship by more than 75 points, there was belief in Perry that this could be an even more special season. And it has already shown.

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In the nearly 100-years history of the Perry High School wrestling program, it’s difficult to find a new record for the Maroons to attain. But in the first tournament of the season, Perry did something it’s never done before—win the 43rd Annual Perry Tournament of Champions.

“Hosting the biggest schools in the state and us being the smallest school it felt good to finally win it,” Delk said. “We always invite these teams to come push us and beat us…It meant a lot just for the community.”

Ten days later, Perry finished 5th at the Kansas City Stampede, a nationally ranked tournament with 40 teams from 10 states attending, giving the Maroons their highest finish in the tournaments 14-year history.

“We were 11 points behind Goddard, Kansas, who is nationally ranked,” Delk said. “That’s what we want. We want to get at that level to where we’re nationally ranked, so you’ve got to go out and beat those teams. And we wrestled really well.”

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After dominating their four district opponents by a combined score of 324-3, the Maroons qualified for a chance at an 11th-straight dual state title, which would be another state record to surpass El Reno.

With six duals remaining, each week will be no different for the Maroons as they use the rest of the month of January to prepare for a third-straight state title. “It’s a special team,” Delk said. “And what a lot of people don’t know is we haven’t had a full lineup with all of our starters yet this season. It’ll be fun when we get everyone healthy to see how good we can actually be.”

And there’s no doubt in Perry, or anywhere else in the state, that this team will continue the longevity of excellence that is Perry wrestling.