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Cowboy Wrestling Takes Southern Scuffle By Record Margin

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By: Lee Cothran

Oklahoma State Wrestling set records for highest team point total and largest margin of victory over the holiday weekend in “the Rose Bowl of Wrestling.”

The Cowboys had never won the team title at the Southern Scuffle before scoring 198 team points over the weekend, the most in the history of the tournament. The runner up, Missouri, scored 126 points. The 72-point margin of victory also shattered the previous record held by Penn State.

It came down to Oklahoma State’s “murder’s row” of middle weight wrestlers in the tournament this year with Kaid Brock (133), Dean Heil (141), Anthony Collica (149), and Chandler Rogers (165) all winning titles.

Joe Smith (157), Kyle Crutchmer (174), and Nolan Boyd (184) all finished second. Preston Weigel (197) finished in third after an interesting match in which he wrestled teammate and backup Derek White, who won the Tournament of Champions in Reno. Nick Piccinnini (125) finished sixth.

Austin Schafer (285) was the only starting Cowboy that did not place. After an incredible first day in the tournament, Schafer dropped two in a row on Monday to fall off of the podium.

The tournament was not without controversy, however, as Dean Heil was the benefactor of some questionable calls in his semi-final match against George DiCamillo of Virginia. Heil was able to get a takedown against DiCamillo late in the third, but in the ensuing scramble it appeared that Heil was put on his back in what would normally result in a defensive fall.

The referee, however, was not in position to see this and Heil went on to win the match. In his finals match, Heil defeated a eighth ranked Joey Ward of North Carolina, a wrestler that has given Heil fits in the past and the only wrestler with a winning record against the defending national champ.

The two breakout performances of the tournament for the Cowboys were Kaid Brock and Chandler Rogers. Rogers had been slightly disappointing in the final dual appearances of 2016, being the only wrestler to lose in the Bedlam match.screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-7-36-44-am

Rogers vindicated himself completely with his performance in Chattanooga as he won by two falls, one tech fall, one major decision, and one decision, including pinning No. 4 Daniel Lewis of Missouri for the championship.

Kaid Brock has been on a tear all season, and while his matches in the Scuffle were a bit closer than he has shown capable in duals, he also established himself as one of the 5 best wrestlers in his weight. If Brock can wrestle to that position or better in March, the Cowboys will be in great shape.’

“I think (our performance) was good,” head coach John Smith said. “I’m obviously pleased with the effort. I think it definitely showed us some areas we’re struggling a little bit in. Of course, that big deficit you like to see.

“You did that in the quarterfinals and the semifinals. I think the one thing that we’ve got to take from here is that the couple of teams that we need to challenge for national championships may not have been here. Those are the things you keep an eye on. You don’t want to pat yourself on the back too much, but be motivated by a good performance and a good team effort.”

The Southern Scuffle is typically a tournament that gives teams the best preview of what they need to tune up before heading into the meat of the dual season, and also what weaknesses they may have for the national tournament in March.

As Coach Smith mentioned, it was a great effort by the Pokes but the three teams closest to the Cowboys in competition were absent from the tournament this year.

From my perspective, if the Pokes wrestle the way that they did this weekend with slightly better performances from Piccinnini and Schafer, we are looking at a very special season for Oklahoma State wrestling.

This season could set up a special run for the program as well, with half of the starters being underclassmen. If a team can produce 2-3 champions and eight All-Americans, that team is going to be in great shape. Oklahoma State also improved immensely in the tournament in wrestling for bonus points.

Repeatedly you saw wrestlers cutting their opponents lose, even with the match in hand, to go for more takedowns so that they could get major decisions and tech falls. These bonus points are what has made Penn State stand out the last several years, and has been the difference that gave them titles in at least one season.

One of the teams that OSU is competing closely with is Iowa, who is visiting Gallagher-Iba Arena on January 15th. It is important that we get our home advantage for this dual, and it would be incredible if 10,000 Cowboy fans showed up strong for this dual.

If you do not know the rules, Oklahoma State shows videos at duals that explain what is going on. If the scoring confuses you, the person sitting in front of you will help explain. Tickets start at $10, and there is no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than grabbing some cheese fries at Joe’s and watching the most prolific dynasty in American sports do what they do best against their primary rival.

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