Just days before the biggest matches of their high school careers, Plainview wrestlers started beyond the mat.

How about the track? How about windsprints? How about two-a-days?

Not a complaint is uttered from the group, in the shape of their lives, ready to take on the Dual State meet for the first time in school history.

"It's a team setting and we're really looking forward to it," 152-pounder Isaac Barnes said. "We're not satisfied though. We want to keep working to that state title."

That's why the Indians were at Plainview at 6 a.m. every day this week, getting in that extra work, then returning after school for another session.

Plainview, which is ranked fourth or fifth in the state in duals, depending on the poll, will face Vian in the first round of the state meet on Saturday. The winner gets the winner of the Perry-Geary matchup later that day.

Perry, an Oklahoma wrestling powerhouse and owner of 41 combined duals and team state championships, is the prohibitive favorite among the eight teams competing at Cushing High School on Saturday.

If any team is going to be closest to bringing the traditional state tournament experience at each weight, it will be Perry, said Plainview coach Rocky Atencio. But Dual State offers opportunities for the Indians to succeed at a higher rate.

All they have to do is win one team at a time.

"At a state tournament, you're gonna have the best kid at every weight," Atencio said. "At Dual State, it's gonna be a mixture of the better wrestlers and the great wrestlers. It's gonna give us an opportunity to really shine as a group instead of individuals.

"I'm not saying the individuals aren't going to shine, but we're going to have a team atmosphere versus an individual atmosphere."

Senior 145-pounder Brendan Atencio said that since Plainview's never been to Dual State, there may be a bit of anticipation when the Indians first hit the mat. But a trying schedule, which took Plainview to duals tournaments in New Mexico, Wisconsin and Texas this season has prepared the Indians for this weekend.

"I'm sure we'll have a couple of guys go out there and wrestle scared at first, but we'll get settled in," said Atencio, who is one of Rocky's two sons on the team. "But I don't think they'll be too much difference. We've been in two big duals tournaments, so I think we'll be fine."

Regardless of the outcome on Saturday, the ride to Dual State will be a good primer for Plainview's run at regionals and the Class 3A state tournament in the next two weeks.

"We're still building and we're still getting better and better," Barnes said. "We want to peak at the right time."

Erik K .Horne