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OSU Wrestling: With Two Viable Options, What to Expect at 149 Pounds

‘… we’ll continue to keep an eye on both of them.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

It wasn’t until after an upset the match before that John Smith chose who he was sending out there at 149 pounds for Oklahoma State against Oregon State on Sunday.

The Cowboys trailed early after losing two of the first three matches, including an upset at 141 pounds when seventh-ranked Tagen Jamison lost to No. 23 Cleveland Belton 4-3 to give the Beavers a 9-5 lead. Smith said after the dual, which the Cowboys won 27-9, that the early upset was what prompted him to choose experience over youth at 149 pounds.

Sammy Alvarez, a senior transfer from Rutgers, got the nod over redshirt freshman Jordan Williams for his first match in Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The decision paid off for Smith, though, as Alvarez beat No. 15 Nash Singleton 4-1 in sudden victory to start a run of seven straight wins to finish the dual for the Cowboys.

“I just really felt like we needed a little older guy with some experience,” Smith said. “And he got us the win.”

Alvarez has taken advantage of his chance in the lineup the last three duals. Williams, who had previously started all but OSU’s season opener, was sidelined for the Cowboys’ East Coast road trip last weekend with a hamstring issue.

In his OSU dual debut, Alvarez beat No. 26 Finn Solomon of Pitt 12-4 for a major decision. Two days later, he nearly upset ninth-ranked Ty Watters of West Virginia but narrowly lost 4-2. Alvarez is 2-1 in OSU’s starting lineup, with every matchup coming against a ranked opponent.

Alvarez transferred to OSU last January during the season. Before transferring, he was ranked as high as eighth at 141 pounds for Rutgers. Alvarez wasn’t eligible to compete for OSU this season until the spring semester, which started this month. He was allowed to wrestle unattached in open tournaments, though, going 13-3, with his first 10 matches coming at 141 pounds.

“Upperclassman — gives us some experience at the weight a little bit when he’s in there,” Smith said last week before the Oregon State dual. “I’m not saying that Jordan’s not gonna continue to compete, but we have options, right? An option that we didn’t realize we had.”

Williams is 9-4 this season and debuted at No. 18 in the first individual coaches rankings that were released Monday. He was a three-time state champion at Collinsville High School before finishing his preps career at Owasso, where he finished second after jumping up a class. Williams won his first seven matches of the season to earn the starting spot at 149 for OSU’s dual against Lehigh on Dec. 8 and had control of the weight until being sidelined. He went 2-2 in duals, as three of those were against top-25 opponents.

With the meat of OSU’s schedule here and the postseason just over a month away, Smith said who starts at 149 will continue to be a week-to-week decision based on situation.

“With those two, I think so,” Smith said. “I like the process of what Jordan Williams has been doing, but we’ll continue to keep an eye on both of them.”

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