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|Oklahoma State sets Big 12 scoring record to win team title with eight champions|
By Roger Moore Special to TheMat.com
STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State won the Big 12 Conference Championship for the tenth time on Saturday night. It marked the program’s 46th overall conference trophy.
In doing so, head coach John Smith’s squad scored 118 ½ points to set a league tournament record for points; in 2003 OSU scored 101 ½ points.
“It was a good day,” said OSU head coach John Smith. “Over twenty matches we got twelve bonus (point wins). Those are the type of things you like to see late in the season. One of the things that we were focused on was to try and get better in every match. Even in our losses, try and feel something positive coming out of them.
“Those bonus points, that’s being aggressive and chasing additional points. Its showing your conditioning level and not question your drive. That really sticks in my mind right now.
The conference earned 19 allocations by the NCAA. The Cowboys, with eight champions on Saturday night, grabbed nine of them. Iowa State, with one champion, will take six to Des Moines, while Oklahoma grabbed the other four. West Virginia, in its first year in the Big 12, did not qualify a wrestler. The NCAA Committee will make at-large picks on Tuesday.
Oklahoma State senior Jordan Oliver won his fourth Big 12 title, adding 149 pounds to his three 133-pound trophies. The 2012 NCAA champion and three-time All-American, moved his season record to 32-0 and career totals to 122-6. He recorded his 54th career pin on Saturday night with, you guessed it, a cradle 1:19 into the first period against Iowa State’s Max Mayfield.
“My last collegiate match in Gallagher-Iba Arena I wanted to go out with a bang,” said Oliver, named the day’s Outstanding Wrestler. “Everybody loves that cradle. That was the idea.
“I’ve been working those cradles since I was in junior high, finding different ways to make it work.
“It was a great weekend.”
Oliver’s teammate, Chris Perry (31-2), won his third league crown, battling through a third-period injury to beat Iowa State’s Tanner Weatherman, 8-0, in the 174-pound finale.
OSU senior Alan Gelogaev, fifth at the 2010 Big 12 Championships, competed in just his second league tournament after back-to-back seasons of injury. He finished in style, pinning Iowa State’s Matt Gibson in the first period in the 285-pound title match.
The hosts’ parade of champions also included true freshman Eddie Klimara (27-15) beating Iowa State’s Ryak Finch, 15-5, in the 125-pound title bout; junior Jon Morrison (24-6) winning a late scramble to beat Oklahoma’s Cody Brewer to win the 133-pound championship; rookie 157-pounder Alex Dieringer (29-2) hammering OU’s Matt Lester in the finals, 12-3; Tyler Caldwell (29-4) negotiating a 1-0 grinder over Patrick Graham of OU for 165-pound gold; and Chris Chionuma (27-8) beating Iowa State’s Boaz Beard, 5-3, for the top spot at 184 pounds.
Caldwell was third in 2010 and runner-up to Nebraska’s Jordan Burroughs, losing 2-1, in the 2011 finals.
Dieringer, a redshirt-freshman, enjoyed his first conference tournament.
“It is getting down to the end,” said the Wisconsin native. “I’m wrestling pretty well right now, and I feel confident. Today was nice, but we are looking ahead to bigger and better things.
“I had a good tournament and hopefully I can be close to Jordan Oliver in a few more years. He is the best wrestler I have ever seen and has helped me so much.”
Oklahoma junior 141-pounder Kendric Maple won his second Big 12 title. The All-American will take a perfect 26-0 record to Des Moines. The Kansas native beat Iowa State’s Luke Goettl, 12-4, in the finals.
The other championship bout, 197 pounds, included some testiness. Iowa State sophomore Kyven Gadson (25-2) beat OSU’s Blake Rosholt, 5-3. During the final stages both athletes exchanged words and coaches and officials had to keep order.
“I think sometimes it is not John (Smith’s) responsibility or Oklahoma State’s responsibility to inform fans of what is going on with a young man,” said Jackson. “His emotions are running wild. (Gadson) is not that kind of athlete, he is very respectful and a good young man. I know emotions kind of took him over but he did what he had to do in an adverse situation.
“We have to deal with our emotions a little better when we are in public.”
Added Smith, “I look at it as a match that (Rosholt) should grow from. He wrestled as hard as he’s wrestled in any of his matches. Sometimes you need a match like that to see what you can do.”
A five-team league from 1995-2011, the number of wrestling schools dropped to four when Nebraska left for the Big Ten. Missouri won the four-team Big 12 in 2012, but Tiger athletics left for the Southeastern Conference. Tiger wrestlers found a home in the Mid-American Conference. West Virginia, formerly of the Eastern Wrestling League, joined the Big 12 to complete the current roster with Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Iowa State.
The future of the conference – at least in wrestling – remains to be seen.
Friday’s first – and probably last – Big 12 Duals will be remembered for two things: Two program’s lack of concern and Iowa State’s Michael Moreno beating Caldwell.
Forfeit was the word of the day for West Virginia, who lost three duals by a combined 136-12. Eighty-four of those points came via forfeit. Oklahoma State set a school record for margin of victory, beating the Mountaineers, 57-0. The University of Oklahoma did not wrestle a number of starters as well; the Cowboys beat the Sooners, 40-3, in the evening session.
Oklahoma State (20-1) and Iowa State (11-5) produced the day’s best match. The hosts won 8-of-10 with one of the Cyclone victories coming from Moreno, who used a second period reversal into near fall points to beat Caldwell, 5-2, at 165 pounds.
“I did an interview earlier in the week and I talked about how the guys; the men; the future champions; the guys that want it they are going to hope for days like (Friday) where you are going to get tough matches,” said Moreno, a sophomore. “I didn’t get (OU’s Patrick) Graham (Friday) but I got Caldwell. In my opinion, I benefitted from that. I am mentally stronger now and have an edge over those two guys.
“It was a good confidence-building day for me; I hadn’t won a big match like that since December.”
Moreno, like most in attendance on Friday, admitted that it was over and time to prepare for the next competition. For nineteen Big 12 wrestlers that means March 21-23 in Des Moines. For a handful of others – including West Virginia’s Nathan Pennesi, a 141-pounder – they hope to be on the list released March 13.
BIG 12 WRESTLING FINALS
125 Pounds: No. 1 Eddie Klimara (OSU) dec. No 2 Ryak Finch (ISU), 15-5
133 Pounds: No. 1 Jon Morrison (OSU) dec. No. 2 Cody Brewer (OU), 6-2
141 Pounds: No. 1 Kendric Maple (OU) dec. No. 2 Luke Goettl (ISU), 13-3
149 Pounds: No. 1 Jordan Oliver (OSU) fall No. 3 Max Mayfield (ISU), 1:19
157 Pounds: No. 1 Alex Dieringer (OSU) dec. No. 2 Matt Lester (OU), 11-3
165 Pounds: No. 1 Tyler Caldwell (OSU) dec. No. 2 Bubby Graham (OU), 1-0
174 Pounds: No. 1 Chris Perry (OSU) dec. No. 2 Tanner Weatherman (ISU), 8-0
184 Pounds: No. 2 Chris Chionuma (OSU) dec. No. 1 Boaz Beard (ISU), 5-3
197 Pounds: No. 1 Kyven Gadson (ISU) dec. No. 2 Blake Rosholt (OSU), 5-3
Heavyweight: No. 1 Alan Gelogaev (OSU) fall No. 2 Matt Gibson (ISU), 0:58
1. Oklahoma State - 118.5
2. Iowa State - 74
3. Oklahoma - 58
4. West Virginia - 28
2013 Most Outstanding Wrestler: Jordan Oliver, Oklahoma State, 149