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Oklahoma State Survives No. 7 Mizzou 20-16



It was not the prettiest dual of the season for the top-ranked Oklahoma State wrestling squad. Five OSU wrestlers picked up wins, while the five others were on the losing side of the coin on Friday night in front of one of the larger crowds in Missouri wrestling history. But the Pokes stayed undefeated on the year.

The positive takeaway here is that OSU’s wrestlers faced some adversity, and through some senior leadership in Nolan Boyd and Austin Schafer were able to pick up the win against a very talented Mizzou squad.

“I think we knew there were going to be battle matches today,” head coach John Smith said. “We won several of them, and we stretched some of the scores out. I think 125 was an important match, and 184 became real important. It wasn’t our best match by far, but it’s important to be able to struggle in matches and still find ways to win.”

At 125-pounds, Nick Piccininni started the dual off with his third-straight technical fall victory. The freshman dominated his opponent early with two takedowns and an escape point in the first two periods.

Picc really shined in the third period by not only stopping Assad from getting out but also turning him to his back twice to stretch the lead to 13-0. After a stalling penalty and riding time added two points, Picc picked up the victory 15-0, earning five team points that would prove to be very valuable later in the dual.

Kaid Brock and Dean Heil both won their matches against ranked wrestlers. Brock struggles from the bottom position continue to show through, so do not be surprised to see him skip being on bottom on Sunday against an experienced wrestler like Earl Hall.

Heil won against a talented freshman from Mizzou by holding off a late attack to win 8-6, stretching his season record to 18-0 and being undefeated since losing to Joey Ward of North Carolina in February of last year.

This is where the stretch got rough for the Cowboys.

No. 2 Anthony Collica took on No. 4 Lavion Mayes in the 149 match. These two have met several times over their careers, and have alternated wins in each match.

After Collica’s win at the Southern Scuffle, it was Mayes’ turn to win and he did not disappoint, picking up the 9-7 decision in an exciting match. If history holds, Collica will pick up the almost certain rematch in March.

No. 5 Joe Smith took on No. 6 Joey Lavalle, and while I hate to be critical of any Cowboy, something is off with Joe. He did not take a single shot, did not look inspired to be on the mat, and looked as if he left a lot in the tank at the end of the match, losing 6-1. OSU needs Joe to be better than he was yesterday, or than he has been all season, frankly, if the team is going to take home title No. 35.

No. 4 Chandler Rogers was unable to hold off No. 5 Daniel Lewis in the final seconds of the match, giving up a takedown that gave Lewis the 11-10 decision in another incredible match. As noted in the preview, Lewis was looking for revenge after being pinned by Rogers in the Southern Scuffle. This is another match that is likely to happen in March, and should be exciting again.

No. 7 Kyle Crutchmer laid an absolute egg against his unranked opponent. Like Joe Smith, it looked like Crutchmer didn’t want to be on the mat on Friday night. The loss will likely drop Crutchmer out of the top eight in the rankings, which could cause the Cowboys to lose their No. 1 overall team ranking.

With a 12-11 deficit in the dual, this is where the Cowboys needed senior leader Nolan Boyd to step up, and step up he did by putting on an absolute clinic of Mizzou’s Matt Lemanowicz.

Lemanowicz did not want to wrestle so Boyd was unable to get any kind of momentum to put a finishing move on the Mizzou wrestler for the pin fall, but Boyd was able to pull together his third straight tech fall in the third period by cutting Lemanowicz after each of his five takedowns.

I will never understand how wrestlers like Lemanowicz who just put their belly on the mat and take a beating like that are able to face their coaches or parents after a match. If you’re going to lose, at least lose by giving your best effort.

Preston Weigel had a big opportunity to gain back his previous No. 4 ranking and make up for his loss last weekend against No. 1 J’Den Cox, however, the Olympic Bronze Medalist proved too much for the Cowboy, especially after being able to escape Weigel’s grip, on his way to a 12-3 major decision.

With the dual tied at 16, Austin Schafer took the opportunity to get the win for the Pokes seriously and defeated his unranked opponent with a 9-1 major decision.

“Regardless of the score, you go into every match wanting to win, wanting to find a way to win no matter what and rack up points on them,” Schafer said. “It was a little different tonight, because you had to be more conservative and had to keep the team score in mind.”


Oklahoma State will be back in action on Sunday afternoon at 2pm in Ames, Iowa. You can listen to the dual on the Cowboy Sports Network.

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