Oklahoma Wrestlers Soar In The Rankings
December 09, 2009

Dec. 9, 2009

NORMAN, Okla. -- After finishing the first semester of competition in impressive fashion, the University of Oklahoma wrestling team is ranked in the nation's top 10.

The Sooners (4-0-1) are ranked No. 10 by InterMat after tying then-No. 3 Oklahoma State, 16-16, on Dec. 1, followed by a third place performance at the highly competitive Cliff Keen Invitational in Primm, Nev., last weekend.

OU is the third-highest Big 12 team in the rankings, behind No. 2 Iowa State and No. 4 Oklahoma State. Nebraska is 12th and Missouri is slotted 17th.

Oklahoma also owns a season-high eight wrestlers ranked in InterMat’s Top 20, including six in the top 10. Leading ranked Sooners are 141-pound Zack Bailey (10-4) and 197-pound Eric Lapotsky (13-1), both slotted No. 4 nationally.

Lapotsky, named the Big 12 Wrestler of the Month for his efforts in November, has recorded a dominating seven falls and two major decisions this season. The Mt. Carmel, Pa., native picked up his first career Big 12 win over then-No. 4 Alan Gelogaev of OSU last week.

Also in the top five is Big 12 defending champion Kyle Terry (No. 5) at 149 pounds. The senior’s two defeats this season (11-2) have come against No. 4 Lance Palmer of Ohio State.

Senior Shane Vernon (11-2) from Broken Arrow, Okla., enjoys a No. 7 ranking at 157 pounds, followed up by juniors Jeff James (13-2), ranked eighth at 174 pounds, and Nathan Fernandez (16-4), ranked ninth at heavyweight.

Boasting his first career national ranking is true freshman Jarrod Patterson (14-3). Ranked 11th, the four-time high school state champion from Cushing, Okla., was instrumental in Oklahoma’s tie versus Oklahoma State with an upset over then-No. 7 Chris Notte.

Rounding out the group of ranked Sooners is No. 18 Tyler Caldwell. The true freshman has accumulated 12 wins on the young season at 165 pounds.

The OU squad is breaking for the holiday season and will return to action on Jan. 3 when Cal Poly visits Norman at 2 p.m. inside Howard McCasland Field House.

 Ranked Sooners (Weight)  Hometown (Year)  Record
 No. 11 Jarrod Patterson (125)  Cushing, Okla. (Fr.)  14-3
 No. 4 Zack Bailey (141)  Kansas City, Mo. (RJr.)  10-4
 No. 5 Kyle Terry (149)  Midwest City, Okla. (Sr.)  11-2
 No. 7 Shane Vernon (157)  Broken Arrow, Okla. (Sr.)  11-2
 No. 18 Tyler Caldwell (165)  Wichita, Kan. (Fr.)  12-5
 No. 8 Jeff James (174)  El Reno, Okla. (RJr.)  13-2
 No. 4 Eric Lapotsky (197)  Mt. Carmel, Pa. (Sr.)  13-1
 No. 9 Nathan Fernandez (HWT)  Lawton, Okla. (RJr.)  16-4

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