March 5, 2003

NORMAN, Okla. -

Experienced Sooners Head Into Big 12 Championships

The 13th-ranked Oklahoma wrestling team will travel to Columbia, Mo., for the 2003 Big 12 Wrestling Championships this weekend. The Sooners, who won last year's team title by 14 points, will return one conference champion and one runner-up. Senior Josh Lambrecht won last year's Big 12 title and went on an impressive run at the NCAA Championships to take runner-up honors. Oklahoma's runner-up at 133 pounds, senior Witt Durden, will enter the conference tournament with an 18-4 record. OU will also bring top-ranked Teyon Ware at 141 pounds, who defeated defending NCAA champion Aaron Holker of Iowa State twice this season. The tournament will consist of four other teams, No. 18 Iowa State, No. 17 Missouri, No. 19 Nebraska and No. 1 Oklahoma State.

National Duals

The Sooner wrestling team (9-4) made an amazing run at the 2003 Cliff Keen/NWCA National Duals held in Columbus, Ohio. Oklahoma, who entered the duals unseeded, defeated second-ranked Iowa (18-18) by criteria as well as sixth seeded West Virginia (20-18) and Iowa State (19-15) before losing a close battle to in-state rival Oklahoma State (27-6) in the finals.

Sooners Barely Miss Record

The Oklahoma wrestling team beat Missouri Valley by a score of 50-3 posting the second highest point total in school history. The Sooners recorded six falls, one technical fall, one decision and a forfeit. The record stands at 52 set in 1922 against Kansas. Oklahoma's 47-point margin of victory ranks third on the all-time list.

Sooners Pin Competition

Oklahoma seniors Robbie Waller (174 pounds), Josh Lambrecht (184 pounds) and freshman Teyon Ware (141 pounds) are all in the top ten of the NCAA pin category. Lambrecht comes in at second with nine pins, while Waller ranks seventh with five, just five shy of the top spot. Ware rates eighth with eight falls.

Ware Gains National Attention

Oklahoma freshman Teyon Ware earned his second Big 12 Wrestler of the Week honors by defeating defending NCAA champion Aaron Holker of Iowa State for the second time this season. Ware, an Edmond, Okla., native, was ranked 16th nationally at 141-pounds entering the National Duals. Despite leaving his redshirt season at the beginning of January, he currently holds a 25-4 overall record and a 5-0 Big 12 mark. Ware displayed his talent earlier this season with an outstanding upset of top-ranked Holker in a 3-1 decision at the National Duals. Among Ware's feats of that weekend was a double overtime win over then second-ranked Zack Esposito of Oklahoma State, 5-5. Also falling to the true freshman this season were West Virginia's 12th-ranked Shane Cunanan, 7-4, and Iowa's Luke Moffitt by fall at 6:48.

The Streak Continues

Oklahoma freshman Teyon Ware has an impressive 13-match win streak entering the Big 12 Championships. Ware has outscored opponents in this streak 87-31. Ware's streak includes two wins over previously top-ranked Aaron Holker (Iowa State) and two over then second-ranked Zack Esposito (Oklahoma State). Ware has also totaled two falls, a technical fall and a major decision during his current stretch of wins.

Durden Reaches 100 Wins And Earns Conference Honor

Oklahoma's Witt Durden scored his 100th career win against Missouri and in the process earned Big 12 Wrestler of the Week honors. The senior from Dublin, Ga., scored the victory with a 23-8 technical fall over Missouri's Chris McCormick. Durden also recorded a 19-6 major decision against Oregon State's Tim Norman. Last year Durden took third place at the NCAA Championships. He follows freshman Teyon Ware as the second Sooner to receive the honor this year

Waller Nears Milestone

Senior Robbie Waller, who garnered All-American honors last year, is just three wins shy of the 100 mark for his career. Waller's career record stands at 97-29. Waller finished sixth at the NCAA tournament last year. Waller is currently tied for second this year on the team with freshman Teyon Ware in the wins category with a 25-6 record and holds the Oklahoma Open title. When Waller surpasses this mark he will join teaammate Witt Durden and Sooner greats Michael Lightner and Jared Frayer in the 100 win club.

Seniors Attend NWCA All-Star Classic

Oklahoma seniors Bo Maynes and Witt Durden competed in the NWCA All-Star Classic on Feb. 3 at the University of Delaware's Bob Carpenter Center. This was Maynes' first trip to this prestigious event and Durden's second. Maynes defeated Chris Rodriguez of North Carolina, 8-0. Maynes held 2:38 in riding time at the end of the first period. Durden lost in sudden victory to Josh Moore of Penn State, 5-4. Last year, Durden fell to bedlam rival Johnny Thompson, 4-2.

Sooners Named To Academic All-Big 12 Team

The Oklahoma wrestling team had three wrestlers selected to the first-team Academic All-Big 12 team, while two were named to the second-team. Seniors Witt Durden and Robbie Waller and sophomore Wes Roberts earned first-team honors, by maintaining a 3.2 GPA and competing in at least 60 percent of the matches. Senior Brad Knecht and sophomore Danny Rubenstein were second-team members, who compiled a 3.0 GPA or better. Oklahoma tied in-state rival Oklahoma State for the most first team members with three.

OU's All-Time Winningest Coaches

Head coach Jack Spates is among the all-time leaders in career wins and winning percentage by OU coaches. The 1999 and 2002 Big 12 Coach of the Year, Spates ranks third in both career wins and winning percentage.

Career Wins
1.Stan Abel (1973-93)279-123-8
2.Tommy Evans (1960-61, 1963-72)140-40-2
3.Jack Spates (1993-Present)127-48-5
4.Port Robertson (1947-59, 1962)88-27-7
5.Paul V. Keen (1928-39)51-34-3

Career Winning Percentage 1.Tommy Evans (1960-61, 1963-72).775 2.Port Robertson (1947-59, 1962).750 3.Jack Spates (1993-Present).719 4.Stan Abel (1973-93).690 5.James Tolbert (1924).600

Sooner Head Coach Jack Spates

Jack Spates came to the University of Oklahoma from Cornell, where he recorded the school's highest winning percentage after compiling an impressive 74-14-1 record over five seasons. Oklahoma won the 2002 Big 12 Wrestling Championship, its first since 1999 and second under Spates. In 2001, the Sooners crowned its second national individual champion in as many seasons. OU tallied an 18-5-1 dual record and climbed as high as fifth in the polls in 2001. Spates has produced 31 All-Americans while at OU, including four-time All-American and NCAA Champion John Kading at 190 pounds (1996), undefeated NCAA Champion Byron Tucker at 174 pounds (2000) and four-time All-American, four-time Big 12 Champion and undefeated national champion Michael Lightner (2001).