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OSU Wrestling: Could Round 3 of Plott vs Keckeisen Be Different in NCAA Finals?

‘He’s better, I’m better. Yeah, the name’s the same, but we’re two different wrestlers.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

KANAS CITY, Mo. — Those involved assure this time will be different.

Oklahoma State’s Dustin Plott will wrestle Parker Keckeisen from Northern Iowa in the 184-pound final at the NCAA Wrestling Championships on Saturday night at T-Mobile Center.

The two have already competed twice this season, with Keckeisen winning both meetings. The first outcome was a 12-6 decision in a dual Jan. 26 in Stillwater when they were ranked No. 1 and 2. Then, less than two weeks ago with a different title on the line, Keckeisen beat Plott 14-5 at Big 12s in Tulsa.

“Any time you feel someone and wrestle with them a couple of times you have a better idea of what they do and how they wrestle,” Plott said. “I’m really excited to go and get to compete against him again.”

Keckeisen, proven by his perfect record and two victories over Plott, appears to be on another level from the rest of the 184-pound weight class. But there are apparently tiers at 184, with Keckeisen in the top, Plott in the second tier and the rest of the weight class well below them.

Plott and Keckeisen both earned bonus points in all four of their wins to get to the finals. Plott started the tournament with a technical fall before three-straight major decisions. He handled 2 seed Isaiah Salazar of Minnesota 11-2 in the semis while Keckeisen thumped Oregon State’s Trey Munoz, the 4 seed, 10-2 on the next mat over.

“Parker’s a great competitor — he’s one of the best in the country overall,” OSU assistant coach Coleman Scott said. “And I think, I know I am, and Dustin is looking for another opportunity, right, because he was not happy nor satisfied with what happened last time.

“It’ll be different. I know that. Dustin’s different this weekend.”

Just before Plott and Keckeisen stepped on the mats Friday night, Iowa State’s David Carr upset defending back-to-back national champion Keegan O’Toole of Missouri in the 165-pound semifinals. Like Plott and Keckeisen, those two have went back and forth a lot in their careers. O’Toole had won their previous two meetings, including less than two weeks when O’Toole beat Carr 8-2 in the Big 12 finals.

“That used to really bug me back in the day — wrestling the same guy,” Keckeisen said. “… We always get nervous because, I don’t know, you see all the time what David Carr beat Keegan O’Toole. You get familiarized opponents. And, yeah, can I get beat? Anyone can get beat on any given day.

“But Dustin Plott isn’t the same Dustin Plott that wrestled just a couple Sundays ago. I’m not the same Parker Keckeisen who wrestled a couple Sundays ago, right? We got better at our skills. Looking at it from that perspective, he’s better, I’m better. Yeah, the name’s the same, but we’re two different wrestlers.”

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