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Big 12 Championships Hit Norman Saturday
March 04, 2010

March 4, 2010  

 2010 Big 12 Wrestling Championships
 Date  Saturday, March 6 | Session I at 11 a.m., Session II at 4 p.m.
 Location  Norman, Okla. | Howard McCasland Field House
 Admission  Select Tickets Remain
 Online  2010 Big 12 Championship Central | Live Scoring
 Webcast  Big12Sports.com
 TV

 Finals on Fox Sports Net (tape delay)

NORMAN, Okla. - The 2010 Big 12 Wrestling Championships hit Norman this Saturday, March 6, as the ninth-ranked University of Oklahoma squad welcomes the Big 12's best inside the Howard McCasland Field House.

The last time Oklahoma hosted the conference championship was in 2002 when the Sooners claimed their 23rd conference title.

"This is a great competition because for many years, the Big 12 has been the toughest conference in the country," OU head coach Jack Spates said. "We are really excited about hosting it at home in the Field House. It is going to be hot, loud and tension-packed. It should be fun."

OU is coming off its second-straight 16-win season (16-3-1, 2-2-1 Big 12) under 17th-year head coach Jack Spates and claimed two conference victories for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign. 

 Watch Head Coach Jack Spates and Sooners preview Big 12 Championships

Competing against the Sooners this weekend are No. 2 Iowa State, No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 17 Missouri and Nebraska. The Cyclones will attempt to win their fourth-straight Big 12 title. 

Iowa State and Nebraska shared the championship last season, marking the first time in league history two teams ended deadlocked. Missouri claimed third, followed by Oklahoma State and Oklahoma placing fourth and fifth, respectively.

 Probable Sooner Starters (Weight)  Hometown (Year)  Record
 No. 13 Jarrod Patterson (125)  Cushing, Okla. (Fr.)  26-9
 No. 19 Kendric Maple (133)  Wichita, Kan. (Fr.)  29-9
 No. 3 Zack Bailey (141)  Kansas City, Mo. (Jr.)  23-5
 No. 3 Kyle Terry (149)  Midwest City, Okla. (Sr.)  24-2
 No. 12 Shane Vernon  Broken Arrow, Okla. (Sr.)  18-5
 No. 15 Tyler Caldwell (165)  Wichita, Kan. (Fr.)  25-11
 No. 17 Jeff James (174)  El Reno, Okla. (Jr.)  21-8
 Erich Schmidtke (184)  Aberdeen, Wash. (RFr.)  15-15
 No. 6 Eric Lapotsky (197)  Mt. Carmel, Pa. (Sr.)  22-5
 No. 14 Nathan Fernandez (HWT)  Lawton, Okla. (Jr.)  24-10

A season-high nine Sooners are individually ranked by InterMat heading into the postseason. Leading all Sooners are third-ranked Zack Bailey and Kyle Terry at 141 and 149 pounds, respectively.

Terry, who is on a 15-match winning streak, will attempt to win his second-straight Big 12 title.

Also slotted in the top 10 is No. 6 Eric Lapotsky competing at 197 pounds. Shane Vernon is twelfth at 157 pounds, Jarrod Patterson is slotted No. 13 at 125 pounds and heavyweight Nathan Fernandez is ranked No. 14.

Tyler Caldwell is 15th at 165 pounds and 174-pound Jeff James is slotted seventeenth. Rounding out ranked Sooners is No. 19 Kendric Maple at 133 pounds, ranked for the first time in his career.

Select tickets to the one-day event are still available by calling the OU Athletics Ticket Office at (405) 325-2424 or toll-free at (800) 456-GoOU or by clicking here. Both single-session and all-session upper-level reserved seats remain.

Session one begins at 11 a.m., followed by a 4 p.m. start for session two. Finals are scheduled to commence at 7 p.m.

"I think having a big Sooner crowd is really important," Spates said. "A strong home crowd can mean a lot to our team. We need our fans to be there and be loud."

Fox Sports Net will air the finals on tape-delay, and preliminary matches are set to be streamed live via webcast on Big12Sports.com. Takedown Radio will also be in Norman to cover the event.

  SOONER NOTES

2009-10 SEASON REVISITED
The University of Oklahoma wrestling team is fresh off its second-straight 16-win season heading into this year's Big 12 Championships under 17th-year head coach Jack Spates. Additionally, it marks the 15th-straight season Oklahoma has recorded double-digit wins.

Oklahoma captured two conference wins for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign, finishing the Big 12 regular season in third place with a 2-2-1 record. The recent success has been sparked by first year assistant head coach Sammie Henson, as well as assistants Michael Lightner and Ross Thatcher.

The 2009-10 campaign included an impressive six wins over ranked opponents. Season highlights also include the Sooners winning their 11th-straight Brockport/Oklahoma Gold title, as well as third place finishes at the highly-competitive Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and Virginia Duals.

Sooner 149-pounder Kyle Terry will shoot for his second straight Big 12 title, while several other Sooners are poised to capture a conference championship of their own. Owner of 23 conference team titles and 173 individual conference champions, the Sooners hope to take advantage of wrestling in their own backyard and stand atop the podium for the first time since 2002, the last time Oklahoma hosted the Big 12 Championships.

LAST YEAR's CHAMPIONSHIPS
Oklahoma crowned two champions at last year's Big 12 Championships held in Lincoln, Neb., on March 7. Joey Fio (125) and Kyle Terry (149) each backed up their No. 1 seeds entering the conference tournament to earn titles. It marked the ninth time in 10 years the Sooners crowned multiple conference champions (dating back to 1999).

Also placing was Pat Flynn, who reeled off back-to-back pins over opponents after an opening-tournament loss to place third. The Sooners finished in fifth place with 38.5 team points, edged by Oklahoma State who finished fourth with 40 points.

BIG 12 TIDBITS
•The Sooners won the conference crown in 1999 and again in 2002, both under current head coach Jack Spates.
•OU has claimed 23 conference titles in 79 years of wrestling, which is second to Oklahoma State's 32. Two have come in the Big 12 era.
•Oklahoma has claimed 173 individual conference titles in the program's history. The crowns have come in four different conferences (Big Six, Big Seven, Big Eight and Big 12).
•Iowa State and Nebraska tied for the conference crown last year, marking the first time in league history two teams ended deadlocked. Missouri placed third, rounded out by Oklahoma State and Oklahoma and fourth and fifth, respectively.

TEAM NOTES
•Oklahoma was 2-2-1 in Big 12 duals this season and averaged 18.2 points per match. OU gave up 14.2 points to conference opponents.
•This season, Oklahoma topped an impressive six opponents ranked in InterMat's Top 20 (No. 20 Arizona State, No. 16 Cal Poly, No. 17 Missouri, No. 14 Penn State, No. 18 Virginia and No. 15 Oregon State).
•In the 16 wins this season, Oklahoma outscored foes 464-151. Broken down, OU averaged 29 points in the wins to the opponents 9.44. The average margin of defeat in Oklahoma's four losses was five points.

YOUNG PUPS
The Sooners will fire three true freshmen -- Jarrod Patterson (125 pounds), Kendric Maple (133) and Tyler Caldwell (165) -- onto the mat Saturday at the Big 12 Championships . The trio were a part of the nation's No. 2 recruiting class last season and are an impressive 81-29 overall on the season. Additionally, redshirt freshman Erich Schmidtke (15-14) starts at 184 pounds for OU.

SOONERS STREAKING
Entering Saturday's Big 12 Championships, Sooner senior Kyle Terry (24-2) is on a 34-dual winning streak dating back to last season. His two losses of the season have come in tournament action. The reigning Big 12 champion is a perfect 16-0 this season in dual action and was 18-0 last year. Over the past two seasons he is 10-0 against Big 12 competition, and is currently on a 15-match winning streak. Junior Zack Bailey is also riding a 13-match winning streak dating back to Jan. 8 at 141 pounds heading into the postseason.

FAREWELL SENIORS
Oklahoma will say goodbye to four seniors at the end of the postseason, including three - Kyle Terry, Shane Vernon and Eric Lapotsky - in the starting lineup on Saturday. Chad Terry, who was also in and out of the starting lineup this season, is also in his final year in a Sooner singlet. The four have combined for 246 victories at Oklahoma, led by Kyle Terry with 80.

TERRY GOING FOR REPEAT
Kyle Terry will compete to become just the fifth Sooner since the inception of the Big 12 (1997) to win multiple Big 12 titles in a career. Current Sooner Michael Lighter claimed four, Leonce Crump and Sam Hazewinkel both won three and John Kading earned two.

THE 20-WIN CLUB

Eight of Oklahoma's 10 starters have eclipsed the 20-win mark on the season, led by true-freshman Kendric Maple with 29. Next on the list is a pair of true-freshmen in Jarrod Patterson (26) and Tyler Caldwell (25).

Earlier this season on Dec. 1, the in-state foes battled to a 15-15 tie in Norman. Oklahoma is 2-2-1 against the Cowboys in the past five meetings, with both losses coming on the road.

 

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