Wrestling's Road to NCAA Podium Begins Thursday

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
MARCH 16, 2010

March 16, 2010

 NCAA Championships
 Dates  Thursday, March 20 through Saturday, March 22
 Location  Omaha, Neb. | Qwest Center
 TV  *Friday and Saturday afternoon on ESPNU, ESPN 360
 *Saturday evening finals (6:30 p.m.) on ESPN
 Online  Live Stats
 Brackets  2010 Official NCAA Brackets
 Sooner Info

 Sooner Roster | OU Coaches | 2009-10 Schedule/Results

NORMAN, Okla. --The quest for Oklahoma’s seventh national trophy in 11 years begins this Thursday, March 20, as 10 Sooners are set to compete at the 80th-annual NCAA wrestling championships held inside the Qwest Center in Omaha, Neb.

Action begins at 11 a.m. CST, and will run through Saturday evening, March 22. ESPNU and ESPN360 are scheduled to carry Friday and Saturday afternoon’s action live. Additionally, Saturday evening’s finals commencing at 6:30 p.m. will air nationally on ESPN.

Oklahoma, who qualified all 10 starters for the first time under the new NCAA selection format instituted last season, will attempt to earn its first All-American since 2007, as well as crown an individual champion for the first time since 2005.

 2010 NCAA Official Brackets

Five Sooners are national seeds entering this weekend, led by No. 3 Kyle Terry at 149 pounds, who is currently on a 17-match winning streak. Zack Bailey is No. 5 at 141 pounds, 197-pound Eric Lapotsky is sixth, followed by No. 9 Jarrod Patterson and No. 10 Shane Vernon at 125 and 157 pounds, respectively.

Kendric Maple (133 pounds), Tyler Caldwell (165), Jeff James (174), Erich Schmidtke (184) and Nathan Fernandez (285) will also join the field for the Sooners.

Last season, Oklahoma qualified eight for the national tournament and finished in 31st place. Two current Sooners – Terry and Lapotsky – fell one win short of becoming OU’s newest All-Americans. Also making return trips to the NCAAs are Bailey, James and Fernandez. 

 Oklahoma's NCAA Qualifiers (Weight)  Hometown (Year)  Record
 No. 9 Jarrod Patterson (125)  Cushing, Okla. (Fr.)  28-9
 Kendric Maple (133)  Wichita, Kan. (Fr.)  31-10
 No. 5 Zack Bailey (141)  Kansas City, Mo. (Jr.)  24-6
 No. 3 Kyle Terry (149)  Midwest City, Okla. (Sr.)  26-2
 No. 10 Shane Vernon  Broken Arrow, Okla. (Sr.)  20-5
 Tyler Caldwell (165)  Wichita, Kan. (Fr.)  27-12
 Jeff James (174)  El Reno, Okla. (Jr.)  22-10
 Erich Schmidtke (184)  Aberdeen, Wash. (RFr.)  16-17
 No. 6 Eric Lapotsky (197)  Mt. Carmel, Pa. (Sr.)  24-6
 Nathan Fernandez (HWT)  Lawton, Okla. (Jr.)  25-12
  Sooner First Round Matchups

No. 9 Jarrod Patterson vs. Brad Pataky (Penn State)
133: Kendric Maple vs. No. 5 Borislav Novachkov (Cal Poly)
141: No. 5 Zack Bailey vs. Kenneth Hashimoto (Northern Colorado)
149: No. 3 Kyle Terry vs. Cesar Grajales (Penn)
157: No. 10 Shane Vernon vs. Daryl Cocozzo (Rutgers)
165: Tyler Caldwell vs. No. 12 Paul Young (Indiana)
174: Jeff James vs. Jarion Beets (UNI)
184: Erich Schmidtke vs. No. 11 Dave Erwin (Penn State)
197: No. 6 Eric Lapotsky vs. Matt Powless (Indiana)
HWT: Nathan Fernandez vs. No. 10 Dominic Russo (Rutgers)



Pursuing championships is synonymous with Oklahoma wrestling. Throughout its tradition-rich history, OU has produced 65 individual national champions and 256 All-Americans.

Most impressively, Oklahoma owns seven national championships, which is fifth-most all-time in the history of the sport. The Sooners have crowned 37 All-Americans in the past 11 years, a number only three other programs can claim more than. Oklahoma teams are also tied for third for most top 10 finishes at the NCAA in the past 11 years with eight total.

Leading Oklahoma into the 2010 postseason is Jack Spates, who is third among active head coaches for most All-Americans produced in his coaching tenure (54).

Three Oklahoma wrestlers won individual titles at the Big 12 Championships in Norman on March 6, a first for the Sooners since 2002. Those individual wins came at 125 pounds with Jarrod Patterson, at 149 with Kyle Terry and at 157 with Shane Vernon.

The conference title was the second-straight for Terry and the first for Patterson and Vernon.

Oklahoma finished third in the team race with 64 points in front of a second-session crowd of 2,610 inside the Howard McCasland Field House. Oklahoma State claimed the title with 70.5 points, eclipsing Iowa State’s 69 points. Missouri (33) and Nebraska (32) placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

Additionally, Patterson was voted a “Co-Outstanding Wrestler” by league coaches. The true-freshman shared the honor with Oklahoma State’s Jordan Oliver.

Zack Bailey was second at 141, while Kendric Maple (133), Tyler Caldwell (165) and Eric Lapotsky (197) all finished third in their respective classes.

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. 

Oklahoma qualified eight wrestlers for the national tournament last season held in St. Louis, Mo.

Three of those Sooners – Joey Fio (125), Kyle Terry (149) and Eric Lapotsky (197) – all fell one win short of becoming Oklahoma’s newest All-Americans.The Sooners finished in 31st place.

•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 marked the first time since the 2002-03 season the Sooners notched two conference wins.
•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.

Five Sooners -- Zack Bailey, Kyle Terry, Jeff James, Eric Lapotsky and Nathan Fernandez -- are no strangers to the NCAAs. The five upper-classmen will attempt to use their experience to make a run in Omaha this weekend.


Sooner senior Kyle Terry (26-2) will end his career at OU as a winner of his last 34 dual matches dating back to last season. His two losses of the season have come in tournament action to No. 1 seed Lance Palmer of Ohio State. The back-to-back Big 12 champion was 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 in the regular season, and is currently on a 17-match winning streak.

To end the season, Oklahoma ended with eight wrestlers with at least 20 wins recorded this season and boasted one wrestler with 30 wins entering the NCAAs. Jarrod Patterson (28), Tyler Caldwell (27), Kyle Terry (26), Nathan Fernandez (25), Zack Bailey (24), Eric Lapotsky (24), Jeff James (22) and Shane Vernon (20) all reached 20 wins. Additionally, true-freshman Kendric Maple (31) surpassed the 30-win mark in his first year in a Sooner singlet.

Oklahoma is coming off of its second-straight 16-win season. Additionally, it marks the 15th-straight season under current head coach Jack Spates the Sooners have recorded 10-plus wins and the eighth time the squad has recorded 15-plus wins in his tenure.

Oklahoma will say goodbye to four seniors at the end of the postseason, including three – Kyle Terry, Shane Vernon and Eric Lapotsky – who are competing in the NCAA field this week. Chad Terry, who was also in and out of the starting lineup this season and a 2009 NCAA qualifier, is also in his final year in a Sooner singlet. The four have combined for 252 victories at Oklahoma, led by Kyle Terry with 82. 

This season, Oklahoma head coach Jack Spates surpassed the 300-win mark in his career. Now in his 20th season of coaching (17th at Oklahoma), Spates owns a 304-109-13 overall record. He is 230-95-12 at Oklahoma and was 74-109-1 at Cornell. His overall win total is best among current Big 12 coaches.



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