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Pokes Will Finish 2016 No. 1 In All Wrestling Polls

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By: Lee Cothran

Oklahoma State will retain their position on top of all major wrestling polls to close out 2016. InterMat, FloWrestling, and NCAA.com all have named the Cowboys No. 1 in their most recent polls despite a close call with Cornell last Friday. The Pokes have outscored their opponents in duals 175-28, and the “B” team won the Reno Tournament of Champions.

OSU has developed a solid lineup of lightweight wrestlers with Kaid Brock (133), Dean Heil (141), Anthony Collica (149), and Joe Smith (157) all winning their matches this year comfortably. Nick Piccininni (125) and Chandler Rogers (165) are both very talented wrestlers that have made costly mistakes in recent matches. Brian Crutchmer (174) and Nolan Boyd (184) can both be All-Americans come tournament time, with Austin Schafer (285) having potential to surprise in his weight class as well.

We will learn a lot more about Preston Weigel (197) on January 27 when the Pokes travel to Columbia, Missouri where Weigel will wrestler defending national champion and Rio Olympic gold medalist J’den Cox. Weigel is a dominate wrestler when he is put in the top position, but getting a takedown has proven difficult for the talented sophomore.

Rounding out the top 5 in these polls are No. 2 Penn State, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Iowa and No. 5 Missouri. For most of the season, the gap between No. 1 Oklahoma State and everybody else has been pretty wide. Most of these polls are based off of how many points the teams would score in a tournament if every wrestler wrestled to their rank.

Prior to this weekend, Oklahoma State had eight out of ten wrestlers ranked in the top eight, which would be All-American status. With Chandler Rogers loss to Cornell’s Brandon Womack, Rogers dropped to No. 9 from No. 6. Coupled with some impressive movement from Penn State wrestlers, and Ohio State wrestlers seemingly getting more dominate every week, the gap between those teams and OSU has closed a bit.

However, if the NCAA tournament started tomorrow and every wrestler won a decision match to their rank, the Cowboys would be bringing home the program’s 35th team national championship.

OSU will compete in the Southern Scuffle on January 1-2.

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