NORMAN, Okla. -- The Oklahoma wrestling team (11-6-1, 1-4 Big 12) begins its search for a NCAA title in the 2006 NCAA Wrestling Championships on Thursday, March 16. The Sooners qualified eight wrestlers for the three day competition.
Seniors Teyon Ware, Wes Roberts and Jake Hager, juniors Sam Hazewinkel, Matt Storniolo, Justin Dyer and Joel Flaggert and Redshirt Freshman Will Rowe all earned spots after their performances at the Big 12 Championships.
The, NCAA Championships return to Oklahoma City for the first time in 13 years as the Ford Center serves as the host site.
ESPN and ESPNU will be broadcasting the championships. ESPN will broadcast the finals on March 18 (7:30 p.m.) and ESPNU will broadcast the semifinals on March 17 (7 p.m.) and quarterfinals on March 17 (11a.m.). Cox Ch. 7 (Oklahoma City) and Cox Ch. 3 (Tulsa) will be carrying the semifinals. Dave Armstrong, Tim Johnson and Jeff Blatnik will provide the on-air talent for ESPN and ESPNU.
In their last outing, the Sooners finished as the runner-up at the Big 12 Championships in Ames, Iowa, on March 4. OU finished with a team score 52.50 with Oklahoma State taking the title with a team score of 80.
Oklahoma qualified eight wrestlers for the finals and Sam Hazewinkel was the lone champion. Teyon Ware, Matt Storniolo and Jake Hager, each took second place honors.
Will Rowe, Wes Roberts and Joel Flaggert all took third place while Justin Dyer earned one of the eight wild cards.
Last season the Sooners finished third at the NCAA Championships while crowning one national champion in Teyon Ware at 141-pounds. Ware, Sam Hazewinkel, Matt Storniolo and Joel Flaggert all earned All-America honors.
Date: Thursday-Saturday, March 16-18, 2006
What: 2006 NCAA Championship
Location: Oklahoma City
Venue: Ford Center
TV: ESPN and ESPNU
TV Talent: Dave Armstrong, Tim Johnson and Jeff Blatnik
* The Sooners have produced 251 All-Americans since Marvin Leach was the first OU wreslter to garner All-American status in 1928.
* Oklahoma has produced 67 multiple All-Americn winners. Three of whom are still associated with the program. Assisitant coach Robbie Waller was a two-time All-American from 2002-03. Current Sooner Teyon Ware is a three-time All-American from 2003-05 and Sam Hazewinkel is a two-time All-American from 2004-05
* OU will be returning four All-Americans to the championships this week. Teyon Ware, Matt Storniolo, Joel Flaggert and Sam Hazewinkel all garnered the honor last year.
* The Oklahoma Sooners have produced 65 NCAA Champions since 1929. Lawrence Mantooth was the first Sooner to be crowned as a NCAA Champion and the first two-time champion.
* The Sooners have also produced seven NCAA team titles.
* The Sooners faced 13 nationally-ranked opponents this year. And went 3-6-1 against those foes.
* The Big 12 conference once again provided tough competition in the conference portion of the dual season. Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa State, Nebraska and Oklahoma State were all ranked in the top 15 of the final polls at the end of the season.
BIG 12 LEFTOVERS
* Oklahoma finished as the Big 12 Runner-Up to Oklahoma State who had a team score of 80 to the Sooners 52.50.
* OU placed four wrestlers in the finals and crowned one champion.
* The Sooners qualified eight wrestlers for the NCAA Championships one more than last seasons seven.
* Of the eight qualifiers Justin Dyer was the only Sooner not to place as he drew on of the eight wild cards .
BACK ON TOP
Junior Sam Hazewinkel reclaimed his 125-pound Big 12 title March 4 in Ames, Iowa.
Hazewinkel, No. 2 at 125-pounds, defeated Coleman Scott of Oklahoma State by a decision of 2-1 in the finals.
The Pensacola, Fla., native won his first Big 12 title as a freshman and lost to Coleman last season in the finals. Hazewinkel will also try to shed his third place finish the past two seasons at the NCAA’s. Hazewinkel is 26-1 on the year.
SENIOR MAKES FIRST TRIP TO NCAA’s
Senior Wes Roberts will be making his first trip to the NCAA Championships this week in Oklahoma City.
The Senior from Westmoore, Okla., has been plagued by knee injuries during his Sooner career. He competed in the 2003 and 2005 Big 12 Championsahips but did not place, and has not competed in the NCAA Championships.
Roberts defeated Brandon Mason of Oklahoma State by a decision of 5-4, to earn third place at the Big 12 Championships. Roberts is 10-6 on the year.
WARE SEEKS THIRD TITLE
Senior Teyon Ware will be seeking his third 141-pound NCAA title and second in as many years this week at the NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City.
The Senior from Edmond, Okla., won his first title in 2003 after coming out of his redshirt half way through the year. He followed that up with his second title in 2005 in St. Louis by defeating Big 12 rival Nate Gallick of Iowa State in the finals.
Ware finished as the runner-up to Gallick at the 2006 Big 12 Championships, March 4 in Ames, Iowa. He won his only Big 12 title his freshman year.
SENIOR MAKING ONE LAST TRIP
Senior Jake Hager will be making his last appearence in a Sooner uniform this weekend in Oklahoma City.
The native of Perry, Okla., has compiled a 64-30 record in an OU uniform since coming over from the football team late in 2003.
Hager finished thrid at the Big 12 Championships for the second year in a row and has only qualified for the NCAA’s once with that trip coming last season. He did did not place.
WILD CARD WEEKEND
Justin Dyer who did not place at the Big 12 Championships March 4, drew one of the eight wild cards to earn a trip to the championships this weekend.
The Junior from Olathe, Kan., qualified for the NCAA Championships the past two seasons but did not place either time. Dyer finished third and fifth at the Big 12 Championships in 2005 and 2004 respectively.
JUNIORS EYE TITLE
Juniors Joel Flaggert and Matt Storniolo both of whom captured All-American honors last season after finishing fourth and seventh respectively try and do one better this weekend in Oklahoma City.
Flaggert captured the thrid place medal at the Big 12 Championships while Storniolo finished second to earn both a spot at Nationals. This will be the second trip to the NCAA’s for Flaggert and the third for Storniolo. Storniolo qualified for the 2004 championships while competing for the Penn State Nittany Lions.
FRESHMAN MAKING DEBUT
Redshirt Freshman Will Rowe captured the third place medal at the Big 12 Championships March 4, earning hin his first trip to the NCAA Championships.
The 157-pound Arlington, Texas native replaced Shane Vernon as the starter latre in the year and finished with an overall record of 20-8.