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|No. 1 Oklahoma State qualifies for National Duals finals by dominating Kent State Regional|
By Roger Moore Special to TheMat.com
KENT, Ohio – Top-ranked Oklahoma State earned its way into the 2013 NWCA Cliff Keen National Duals’ final eight with two big wins on Sunday.
The Cowboys (15-0) routed host Kent State, 34-10, in the opening round and beat No. 24 Northern Iowa by a 39-7 count to advance to next weekend’s finals in Minneapolis. As this story was posted, Cornell and Missouri had already won their Regionals, while Oregon State was battling Virginia Tech in the other Regional final.
“They were good wins on the road,” said Cowboy head coach John Smith. “We are just trying to improve our performance this time of year. When you wrestle 20 matches I don’t think you are going to be satisfied with all 20, but for the most part I liked what I saw. We just need to recognize that we need to be excited when we step on the mat. It looked like a couple of guys were struggling when they stepped on the mat.
“Making weight for the first time in two weeks and the time off … we had some guys that didn’t perform as well as they are capable.”
In advancing to the regional final, Northern Iowa (9-5) avenged a loss from earlier this season against Wisconsin, beating the Badgers, 24-15. UNI forfeited a match in a 24-13 Wisconsin win last December; Wisconsin forfeited a match this time around. The Panthers, however, were no match for the Cowboys, who had four major decisions, a technical fall, and a pin. UNI forfeited at 133 pounds – Levi Wolfensperger suffered an injury in his loss to Wisconsin’s Tyler Graff earlier.
“We are only in the middle of February; we want to be at our best in March,” said unbeaten senior149-pounder Jordan Oliver (25-0), who had a pin and a major decision on Sunday. “It was a good weekend for us because we had positives and some negatives which gives us something to work on the rest of the season.”
Eddie Klimara (23-12) bounced back after a loss to KSU’s Stevie Mitcheff against UNI to put the Cowboys up 4-0. After the forfeit at 141 pounds, UNI won one of its two matches, getting a 10-1 major decision by Joey Lazor. But the Cowboys’ tough middle weights broke things open with the major by Oliver, and pins by rookie Alex Dieringer (23-2) at 157 and Chris Perry (24-1) at 174 sandwiched around Tyler Caldwell’s (23-3) 15-2 major decision at 165 pounds.
The Panthers’ Ryan Loder (27-3) continued his strong season, beating Chris Chionuma, 6-1, at 184 pounds. Chionuma (20-7) beat KSU’s Casey Newburg (32-6), 9-5, earlier in the day in one of the better matches of the regional.
Blake Rosholt (10-4) bounced back from his loss to 2011 NCAA champion Dustin Kilgore (36-0) to beat Taylor Kettman, 19-2, at 197 pounds and Alan Gelogaev (18-2) finished off the UNI with a 16-6 major decision of Blaine Beale at 285 pounds.
OSU had six pins, five major decisions, and a technical fall in the two duals.
“I liked the falls throughout the day,” added Smith. “You like to see that. It is not something I was necessarily expecting. Those bonus points add up in the end.”
Perry suffered his first loss of the season two weekends ago. But the junior, an All-American a year ago, knows the grind from November to March is not always going to be perfect.
“We wrestled against two teams that are going to scrap, not going to lie down for you,” said Perry. “We might not have been as ready as we needed to be in that first match. Everybody was a little sluggish, but that happens sometimes.”
Kent State jumped out to a 6-0 lead on the strength of Mitcheff’s 3-2 victory over Klimara, and a surprise at 133 where freshman Mack McGuire (22-16) knocked off fifth-ranked Jon Morrison, 3-2. But Julian Feikert started a run of three straight pins and OSU won seven of the last eight bouts. Kilgore moved his win streak to 54 and earned career victory No. 170 for his career.
Head coach Jim Andrassy’s squad bounced back to hammer Wisconsin, 33-10, in the third place dual.
Now attention turns toward Minneapolis where the Cowboys go in search of their first National Duals championship since 2005. OSU won three straight from 2003-05. Last season the Gophers beat OSU in the Duals finals in Stillwater.
“I’m looking forward to next week,” said Oliver. “Last year was a real bummer because we lost to Minnesota after beating them earlier in the year. This year it is in Minnesota and three of the top four teams are there.”
“I think we have the horses to get it done this year,” said Perry. “But we have to have everybody wrestle from 125 up to get it done next week.”
Oklahoma State should be the top seed with Iowa, coming off a recent victory over Penn State, as the No. 2. The Cowboys beat Iowa in Stillwater earlier this season. The host Gophers and Ohio State are expected to round out the top four.
"It really doesn't get any bigger," said Smith. "Everything tightens up, but it doesn't have to be that way. We just need to be loose. We have a short week but I really don't think there is any disadvantage to it. We just need to be tough, ready to compete against the best."
Kent State Regional final
Oklahoma State 39, Northern Iowa 7
125-Eddie Klimara (O) maj dec Ryan Jauch, 10-2
133-Jon Morrison (O) by fft
141-Joey Lazor (I) maj dec Julian Feikert, 10-1
149-Jordan Oliver (O) maj dec Bart Reiter, 13-4
157-Alex Dieringer (O) pin David Bonin, 6:34
165-Tyler Caldwell (O) maj dec Jarrett Jensen, 15-2
174-Chris Perry (O) pin Kyle Lux, 6:10
184-Ryan Loder (I) dec Chris Chionuma, 6-1
197-Blake Rosholt (O) tech fall Taylor Kettman, 18-2
285-Alan Gelogaev (O) maj dec Blaine Beale, 16-6