Connect with us


Five Thoughts on OSU Wrestling’s 2-0 East Coast Weekend

The Pokes beat No. 15 Pitt and No. 20 West Virgina.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

Oklahoma State’s 29-9 win over West Virginia on Sunday completed a 2-0 weekend on the East Coast for the No. 5 Cowboys that included a pair of victories against top-20 opponents.

The Cowboys handled No. 15 Pitt 31-6 on Friday before their Big 12 win against the No. 20 Mountaineers. OSU improved to 7-0 after the weekend, with five of those wins coming against ranked opponents.

Here are Five Thoughts from OSU’s weekend.

1. Three-Point Takedowns Benefitting OSU

As half the crowd Sunday at WVU Coliseum yelled, “Three!,” the other group still screamed, “Two!”

This offseason, the NCAA changed the value of a takedown from two points to three, which is a change OSU coach John Smith has praised overall. And Smith will continue to be a fan of the rule change if his wrestlers keep taking advantage of it.

The Cowboys tallied five bonus-point wins against Pitt before notching four in their win over WVU. Four of those over the weekend came from OSU’s first two weights in 125-pounder Troy Spratley and 133-pounder Daton Fix.

Although Spratley pinned his opponent Friday night, he earned a 12-1 major decision against Jace Schafer on Sunday. Spratley got only one takedown each period, but a trio of three-point takedowns mixed with an escape and a stalling point was more than enough for a major.

Fix was even more of an example of a wrestler taking advantage of the new rule, though. He got a 20-4 technical fall against David Rhoads before the second period was even over. Fix had a 15-4 lead after the first period alone thanks to five takedowns. For comparison, that would have been a 10-4 lead a year ago, which is almost a three-takedown difference. Wrestlers are also exchanging two points instead of one when letting opponents up after takedowns like Fix was throughout the match.

At 184, Dustin Plott also earned a tech, 20-4 in the third period.

I’m not so sure even a guy like Fix could put up 20 points and get a technical fall that quick in the second period last year.

2. Tagen Jamison Finds Ways

Tagen Jamison held on (literally) for a top-10 victory.

Jamison, ranked eighth at 141, narrowly beat No. 9 Jordan Titus of WVU on Sunday. He gripped onto Titus’ ankle the final seconds to secure the 4-2 decision.

Somehow, Jamison just keeps winning. Four of Jamison’s wins on his 14-3 record are against top-10 opponents. All three of Jamison’s losses are to top-5 wrestlers and none by more than four points.

Jamison, a freshman, could be a piece that makes the Cowboys a serious national title contender in March if he eventually takes down a top-5 foe at the right time.

3. Sammy Alvarez Another Proof of Depth

This OSU squad’s depth chart may be longer than a line at Murphy’s on a Saturday night.

Sammy Alvarez, a senior transfer from Rutgers, was thrust into the starting lineup at 149 with a pair of two ranked opponents on the schedule. Alvarez handled No. 26 Finn Solomon of Pitt for a major decision in his OSU dual debut Friday night. Sunday, he narrowly upset ninth-ranked Ty Watters but lost 4-2 after a late escape and riding time from Watters.

Alvarez wrestling in place of No. 21 Jordan Williams, a redshirt freshman, and going 1-1 with a ranked win and being a takedown away from a top-10 upset is an example of how deep this OSU team is. But he hasn’t been the only example.

Even new standouts like 157-pounder Teague Travis, who is 12-1, was a replacement in the lineup. Although 157 was a weak spot until Travis got the nod, he got the chance as a depth replacement when Jalin Harper was injured. At 133, Reece Witcraft was 1-1 with a loss to the top-ranked wrestler at his weight and a ranked win while Fix missed two duals with an injury.

Even as heavyweight Konner Doucet thrives at 11-2 with a top-10 win Friday, some wonder if his backup, Christian Carroll, may be even better. Carroll was the No. 1 pound-for-pound recruit in the class of 2023.

Outside of fill-ins when needed, wrestling is a unique sport in that talented guys at the same position (i.e. weight) also get to go head-to-head every practice to improve the other. I guess the next best comparison would be to imagine a great receiver and cornerback going at it everyday in practice.

The depth of this OSU team, added through transfers and a great recruiting class, may be the biggest difference in the Cowboys improving from being a top-20 team to top 5 in less than a year’s time.

4. Izzak Olejnik Not Unbeatable

Cowboys fans may have started believing 165-pounder Izzak Olejnik was unbeatable, but reality struck in Morgantown for a wrestler in maybe the toughest weight in the country.

Second-ranked Olejnik was upset by No. 9 Peyton Hall 5-1 for his first loss in an orange singlet since transferring from Northern Illinois. He was 16-0 at the start of Sunday with eight wins against ranked opponents.

Olejnik knew he had a tough weekend ahead with two top-10 foes on deck. But, like the fans I mentioned above, even Smith was starting to believe Olejnik was invincible. The ESPN+ broadcast crew mentioned how Smith said he didn’t even have any worries about Olejnik’s tough weekend because of what he had done so far. Over half of a wrestler’s challengers being ranked will eventually give, though.

However, Fix talked earlier this week about how much Olejnik keeps improving since getting in a wrestling room of OSU’s caliber (no offense to NIU). A loss was bound to happen eventually with such a challenging schedule. So still give me Olejnik over Hall if these two meet for a Big 12 title in March.

5. Maybe Luke Surber Wasn’t Ready Afterall?

Luke Surber *finally* returned at 197 pounds against Pitt on Friday after being sidelined since Dec. 1 with an injury. But in his long-awaited return, Surber, ranked 12th, lost to No. 15 Mac Stout 5-2. Then, on Sunday, it was Kyle Haas back at 197 for OSU, as Haas lost to Austin Cooley 5-0.

We’ll have to wait and see what Smith says at media availability Wednesday, but maybe Surber wasn’t quite ready to get back on the mat yet or he re-aggravated something in the loss. Either way, Haas, who’s 10-5 this season and 0-3 in duals, is not the same punch the Cowboys get at 197 from Surber.

Most Read

Copyright © 2011- 2023 White Maple Media