NORMAN, Okla. -- The No. 9/10 Oklahoma Sooners (11-6-1, 1-4) look to claim their third conference championship in the last eight years when they travel to Ames, Iowa, to compete in the 2006 Big 12 Championships, March 4.
OU’s last title came in 2002, and their first in the Big 12 in 1999. Last season Oklahoma finished fourth while claiming three second-place medals, four third-place and one fourth-place medalist.
The Sooners are coming off of a 24-11 win over No. 16/18 Michigan State on senior night at the Howard McCasland Field House.
No. 2 Sam Hazewinkel was defeated for the first time this season by No. 3 Nick Simmons of Michigan State. Simmons won by a decisionof 4-2. Hazewinkel defeated Simmons earlier in the year at the NWCA All-Star Classic by a decision of 6-2.
Joe Comparin was back on the mat for the first time since being injured in November. The 133-pound redshirt freshman defeated Jeff Wimberley by a decision of 4-2.
Oklahoma will next compete in the 2006 NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla., March 16-18 at the Ford Center.
BIG 12 TIDBITS
* Oklahoma is the only school besides Oklahoma State to win the Big 12 Championship in the leagues 10 year history.
* The Sooners won the conference crown in 1999 and again in 2002.
* OU has claimed 21 conference titles in 76 years of wrestling.
* Oklahoma has claimed 167 individual conference titles in the school’s history. The crowns have come in four different leagues starting with the Big Six, Big Seven, Big Eight and now the Big 12.
* 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.
ROOMMATES HAVE EYE ON NO. TWO
Senior Teyon Ware and his roommate Junior Sam Hazewinkel both look to claim their second Big 12 Championships of their careers Saturday in Ames.
Hazewinkel who is the No. 2 wrestler in the 125 pound weight class looks to claim his second Big 12 Championship in his weight class. Hazewinkel claimed his first title in 2003-04. Hazewinkel placed third at last years Big 12 Championships.
Ware, who is No. 2 in the 141 pound weight division, claimed his first conference crown during his freshman season in 2002-03. Ware placed second in 2004-05 and third in 2003-04 at the Big 12’s.
RETURNING MEDALIST SEEK GOLD
Five Sooners looking to move up a notch from their performances at last year’s Big 12 Championships are Joe Comparin, Matt Storniolo, Justin Dyer, Joel Flaggert and Jake Hager.
Storniolo placed second last season with Dyer, Flaggert and Hager all finishing third. Comparin took fourth.
ROBERTS SEEKS PLACEMENT
Senior Wes Roberts, who has been plagued by injury during his career looks to place at the conference championships for the first time in his career.
Roberts competed in the 2003 and 2005 championships, but did not place. In 2002 he did not compete and in 2004 did not compete due to a season ending knee injury earleir in the season.
FIRST TIME’S A CHARM
Redshirt freshmen Will Rowe and Jarrod King will be making their first appearences in the Big 12 Championships this weekend.
Rowe finished the season with an overall record of 18-7 while King turned in a record of 16-8.