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OSU Wrestling Notebook: Future of the Big 12, Dilemma at 197 and Teague Travis on Bumping to 157

‘I sure hope that we have an opportunity to bring them into the Big 12.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

After notching a pair of wins over ranked opponents within 24 hours last week, the Cowboys get another weekend with two ranked foes ahead.

Oklahoma State hosts No. 24 Arizona State at 7 p.m. Friday before traveling to Columbia to take on No. 5 Missouri at 1 p.m. Sunday. OSU coach John Smith and 157-pounder Teague Travis met with media Wednesday to preview the upcoming duals.

You can watch their full interviews here, but here are three storylines that stood out.

The Future of the Big 12

Just like the football team has the past two years, Cowboy wrestling is also competing against Arizona State even before the Pac-12 member comes to the Big 12 at the end of this academic year.

The addition of four Pac-12 schools brings only ASU to the sport of wrestling. The Sun Devils have been a rising program, though, and this move should be a huge benefit to ASU while also adding depth to the Big 12.

As for Big 12 wrestling, things look much different than the other sports. Oklahoma will stay in the conference as every other sport leaves for the SEC this year. Fellow SEC member Missouri has also competed in the Big 12 since 2021.

Wrestling has several other affiliate members: Air Force, Cal Baptist, Northern Colorado, North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming. Those affiliate members join legacy members OSU, Iowa State and West Virginia to give the conference 14 wrestling programs next year.

“Those numbers and bringing teams in, hopefully you get a voice in what we want to see with wrestling a little bit more, I think,” Smith said. “Hopefully we’re not done. I’m not sure what’s gonna happen with the rest of the Pac-12. I sure hope that we have an opportunity to bring them into the Big 12.”

Left-for-dead Pac-12 school Oregon State has a wrestling program that could be without a conference next year. The Pac-12 also has affiliate members Cal Poly, CSU Bakersfield and Little Rock that could be looking for homes if the Pac-12 doesn’t continue with the sport (or at all).

197-Pound Dilemma

The question that’s been asked for weeks now, “Will we see Luke Surber return from injury and wrestle at 197 pounds?”

“I hope so,” Smith said. “It’s up to him, really. I hope so. I think he’s in pretty good position to go, but we’ll make sure that he’s feeling good about what he’s doing.”

Surber suffered an injury during the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Dec. 1 that sidelined him until Jan. 12. He lost to No. 15 Mac Stout of Pittsburgh 5-2 in his return and also injured his knee during the match — a completely unrelated injury to the first one. Surber wrestled again Jan. 12 and beat Oregon State’s Justin Rademacher 9-6 in sudden victory but did not look himself during the match.

After Surber limped off the mat against Oregon State two weekends ago, freshman Jersey Robb competed at 197 last weekend for the Cowboys, going 1-1 and sealing the upset of No. 4 Iowa State with a 15-6 major decision over Julien Broderson.

The win was Robb’s fifth appearance for OSU, meaning, as a true freshman, he’s exhausted all of his possible matches without burning his redshirt. Smith referenced that win as Robb’s last match of the season after the ISU dual and he emphasized wanting to keep Robb’s redshirt again Wednesday.

The other option at 197 has been redshirt sophomore Kyle Haas, who is 0-3 in duals this season while filling in. However, Smith said Haas is also dealing with an injury.

“We’ve got a little issue, you know,” Smith said. “Jersey Robb’s wrestled all his matches, so either Jersey Robb comes out of redshirt or Kyle Haas, who has a little bit of an injury right now. Somebody’s gotta grow up and feel a little better. …

“As long as Luke heals up properly he’s gonna be fine. Will we see him on Friday? I hope so, but really, it’s how he feels.”

Teague Travis’ Move to 157

The Cowboys no longer have a weak spot at 157 pounds thanks to redshirt sophomore Teague Travis.

Travis bumped up from 149 to 157 pounds before the Lehigh dual and beat No. 25 Max Brignola 5-1 to take control of the starting job. He won seven in a row before losing his first match at the weight Friday to No. 14 Ryder Downey of Northern Iowa 4-1. He recovered the next night, though, beating Iowa State’s Jason Kraisser 8-3 to improve to 8-1 at the weight. That record includes a 7-6 decision over No. 5 Ed Scott of NC State.

The weight class move came after Travis spent the past two seasons at 141 pounds. He said he now walks around at about 165 pounds.

“I knew that last year cutting to [1]41 was a pretty big cut,” Travis said. “I just spent a lot of time in the weight room this summer, just kept getting bigger and bigger, just kind of feeling out, maturing more. I saw that the [1]57 spot was open and I was like, ‘Just go. Just go be the guy there and do it for the team.’ So far it’s been working out pretty good.”

Travis has his toughest challenge yet ahead, though, with two top-10 opponents slated for this weekend in fourth-ranked Jacori Teemer of Arizona State and No. 10 Brock Mauller of Missouri. Travis has only three ranked matches at 157 so far, going 2-1 in those.

On top of that, Travis will also be visiting his old stomping grounds. He said he grew up in Columbia after both his dad and uncle wrestled for the Tigers.

“Not making it bigger than what it is, but obviously can’t ignore it,” Travis said. “I did grow up there and my uncle and my dad both went there and wrestled there, so, yeah, there’s a little history with that. But just gotta attack it one match at a time and worry about wrestling Arizona State first on Friday.”

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