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No. 1 Oklahoma State Thumps No. 3 Iowa 24-11

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By: Lee Cothran

7,809 people, including Coach Gundy and his glorious mane, witnessed No. 1 Oklahoma State prove that they deserve the ranking as they completely dismantled No. 3 Iowa on Sunday in Gallagher-Iba Arena. The crowd made up the largest for the program since 2007. Coach Smith gave major props to the Cowboy faithful that made their way to Stillwater on Sunday.

“When looking at the weather on Friday it looked like it was going to be a tough weekend to fill this place up and I just really appreciate these people showing me some tough.” Smith said after the match. “That was important and I really appreciate it.”

The dual started at 125 pounds, a match that was made more important by Iowa wrestler Thomas Gilman’s statements on Friday regarding the style of wrestling that Oklahoma State is known for, and declaring that Iowa would “kick the crap” out of the Cowboys like they “always do.”

Gilman also made comments regarding the Cowboys ranking. “I guess you could look at it as us trying to knock them off because they’re No. 1, but we’re Iowa, so really they’re trying to knock us off.” Again, history and math must not be Gilman’s finest subjects. That said, Gilman was able to hold up his end of the bargain as he got the Hawkeyes out to a 4-0 lead with his major decision win over Nick Piccininni. Pic kept the match close through the first two periods, but experience and conditioning were in Gilman’s favor in the third as he was able to get two quick takedowns and stack on points against the talented freshman.

The bout of the day came at 133 pounds where No. 6 freshman Kaid Brock took on No. 1 senior Corey Clark. This match was hyped as a clash of styles. Classic Oklahoma State State vs Classic Iowa. A kid from just west of Iowa City vs. a kid from Stillwater. The match did not disappoint and certainly did live up to the hype, even with some controversy at the end.

Brock began the match with a couple of shots that Clark defended brilliantly, resulting in restarts for the wrestlers. With time dwindling in the first, Clark took a shot at Brock and got Brock’s foot into the air, which is never the best position for a wrestler to be in. Brock, however, found an opportunity to dive at Clark’s ankle, slip through Clark’s legs, and finish the takedown as time expired to take a 2-0 lead into the second period. Brock started the second period in the bottom position, escapes Clark, and quickly gets back into a shot that Brock converts to the takedown.

This takedown results in the best part of every OSU-Iowa match … the moment where Tom and Terry Brands can’t control their emotion, run onto the mat screaming, and threaten to get into fights with the officials, OSU coaches, and fans. Like death and taxes, you can easily rely on the Brands brothers to not be able to handle things not going their way in the most embarrassing way possible.

Of course, the takedown is upheld, and once action resumes Clark got an escape and a takedown of his own to get to the third period with only a 6-3 deficit to Brock and 46 seconds of riding time, which will come into play later. Clark decided to begin the third on bottom, and quickly escaped Brock. The two wrestled a great match for the remainder of the period with Clark needing to score twice to win. With 25 seconds left, Clark got the takedown to tie the match, and if he could ride out the period he will get the win by accumulating more than a minute of riding time. Clark was only able to hold onto Brock for 11 of the 14 seconds required to at least tie the match, and Brock scored the upset 7-6 victory over Clark.

“If you dissect (Brock’s) match, it’s a good win,” Coach Smith said. “It was a little bit ugly in the way he finished it up. He’s wrestling a guy who is a multiple-time national finalist and someone that isn’t going to drop his head when he gets down and not be there at the end. Kaid just has to recognize that there are some things that we’ve seen as coaches in his past that he just needs to grow through to get to another place. It was a great win though.”

Dean Heil’s matchup at 141 was with 19th-ranked Iowa wrestler Topher Carton. In classic Dean Heil fashion, he wrestled to an early lead and maintained that lead for the full 7 minutes for the win. Heil made us sweat a couple of times, but took care of his business.

149 pounds gave us another featured matchup as No. 3 Anthony Collica took on No. 2 Brandon Sorenson. Unlike Brock and Clark, this match had the action of a game of chess during the first seven minutes. Both wrestlers are so evenly matched, that neither wanted to make a mistake that would give his opponent the win.

The first overtime period resulted in the same stalemate we found ourselves in at the end of regulation, and the second sudden victory overtime victory provided the same. One wrestler needed to either hold on to their opponent, or accumulate more riding time than his opponent. Fortunately for Collica, he finished this match as the victor. This bout will likely happen again in the semi-finals round at NCAAs, and it will be just as thrilling.

157, again, provided a feature match between No. 5 Joe Smith and No. 2 Michael Kemerer. Smith and Kemerer started the bout very aggressively with multiple shots and scrambles by both wrestlers. Kemerer eventually scored a takedown, which Smith reversed and let Kemerer out to make the score 3-2 in favor of the Hawkeye going to the second. While the first period was full of excitement, the second and third left a bit to be desired. With a 4-2 deficit going into the third, Smith would need to get out of Kemerer’s hold and get a takedown to secure the victory. Unfortunately, Joe did not have enough in the tank to get the takedown and loses 4-3.

The 165 match was not a feature match, as the Hawkeyes trotted their backup out to take on fourth ranked Jordan Rogers. Rogers did not disappoint the Cowboy faithful as he was able to pin the Hawkeye with 30 seconds remaining in the first.

“Going for the pin has always been my go to,” Rogers said. “Growing up, we’ve always learned how to pin and gone to pinning camps, where we learned multiple pin combinations. That’s what has always made us pretty hard to scout because we can really pin someone from just about any position. In that match, Coach Perry said I just have to keep working on this guy and the opportunity might present itself. I don’t try to rush my pins because if I rush it then I’ll end up getting pinned, and I don’t want that to happen. I definitely paced myself and went with the intention of taking the guy down and scoring as many points as I can, and when the opportunity presented itself I took it.”

The crowd was energized as the Cowboys claimed a 15-7 lead going into the heavyweights.

Cowboy senior Kyle Crutchmer took care of business against No. 13 Alex Meyer 5-2. Another Cowboy senior would have a chance to prove himself again against No. 5 Sammy Brooks of Iowa, but it was not in the cards for No. 4 Nolan Boyd on Sunday as he was caught in a cradle hold by Brooks in the third and gave up the major decision to the Hawkeyes.

Preston Weigel got an opportunity to close the window for the Hawkeyes winning this dual, and took full advantage when he finally got into the top position against his unranked opponent. After Weigel picked up the decision, the win was in firmly in the hands of the Cowboys at 18-11 with the 285 bout remaining.

The 285 bout proved to be an exciting one in it’s own right with 9th-ranked Austin Schafer of the Pokes taking on 7th-ranked Stoll of the Hawkeyes. The incredible story line to this match is that Stoll outweighs Schafer by 46 pounds, and while the smaller, more athletic heavyweight is the future of the sport (looking at Kyle Snyder, Ohio State’s Olympic gold medal winning sophomore), it is tough for any wrestler to take on somebody that much bigger than they are.

Schafer, however, was up to the task. After a Schafer takedown early, Stoll tried pushing Schafer around for the remaining two periods. This strategy seemed like it was going to work, as the official gave Stoll two stalling points to tie the match. However, late in the third, Schafer was able to take down the big guy one more time to seal the victory and finish off the match.

All in all it was a landmark day for the Cowboys. Ending a three year drought against Iowa, getting a monster, excited crowd in GIA, and seeing a couple of OSU wrestlers pull off upsets made for a wonderful Sunday.

The Cowboys will be back in action this coming weekend as they get started on Big 12 action taking on the West Virginia squad Friday at 7pm, and the South Dakota Jackrabbits (who are in the Big 12 for wrestling) on Sunday at 2pm. As always, I highly encourage everybody to make it out to cheer on the Pokes.

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