Junior Witt Durden was one of six Sooners to earn All-American honors at the 2002 NCAA Wresting National Championships in Albany. N.Y.
March 23, 2002
ALBANY, N.Y. - The University of Oklahoma wrestling team scored its highest finish since 1986 at the National Championships by placing third in the 2002 final Saturday held at Albany, New York. The Sooners also totaled six All-Americans-Witt Durden, Nate Parker, Jared Frayer, Robbie Waller, Michael Barger and Josh Lambrecht-the most since 1982. Iowa State rallied with three individual titles to take over second place with 104 points. OU finished with 101.5 while No. 1 Minnesota (122.5) won the National Championship for the second year in a row. In the final at 184, Lambrecht was pinned by Lehigh's Rob Rohn with just 13 seconds left after leading 14-2 late in the third period.
Frayer lost in a tight defensive match with to the Lawrence as the Golden Golpher scored the game's lone takedown late in the second period. That was enough as each wrestler exchange escapes to complete the scoring.
Meanwhile, Witt Durden finished up an outstanding tournament with his second consecutive third-place finish. Durden went 5-1 in the National Championships including two victories against top-five competitors (Arizona State's David Douglas and Wisconsin's Kevin Black) in the consolations Saturday. The junior from Dublin, Georgia finished the year 34-6 overall, setting a career-high for wins in a single season.
Parker took home fifth-place honors after defeating top-ranked Mark Conley of Navy, 8-5. Parker came into the tournament unseeded for the Sooners.
"Despite what happen at the end, it was still a tremendous performance by our team," said Oklahoma Head Coach Jack Spates. "Words can't describe what happen to Josh (Lambrecht). What can you say? It's unfortunate for one because he probably wrestled the best match of anyone in the finals. I take nothing away from Jared (Frayer). He had an outstanding career as a Sooner."
The Sooners' title hopes were severly damaged when heavyweight Leonce Crump and Waller had to take medical forfeits due to injury. Waller put up a galiant effort, knocking off two top-five wrestlers in the consolation en route to a sixth place finish. Barger, starting in the wrestleback round, won five tournament matches to gain eighth place.
OU will return four of the six All-Americans for the 2002-03 season (Frayer and Barger are seniors).
2002 NCAA Championships Results
Finals 149: Jared Lawrence, Minnesota dec. No. 5/5 Jared Frayer (36-7), OU, 3-1 184: Rob Rohn, Lehigh fall No. 6/5 Josh Lambrecht (35-5), OU, 6:47
Team Totals 1. Minnesota 126.0 2. Iowa State 104 3. OU 101.5 4. Iowa 89 5. Oklahoma State 82.5
Consolation (Sixth Round) 133: No. 4/3 Witt Durden (33-6), OU dec. David Douglas, Arizona State, 8-5 141: Robert Sessley, Ohio State dec. No. 14/9 David Douglas (26-14), OU, 2-1
Third-Place Championship 133: No. 4/3 Witt Durden (34-6), OU dec. Kevin Black, Wisconsin, 13-6
Fifth-Place Championship 141: No. 14/9 Nate Parker (27-14), OU dec. Mark Conley, Navy, 8-5
Seventh-Place Championship 174: Terry Parham, Air Force dec. No. 17/18 Michael Barger (33-15), OU, 6-4
Rankings based on Amateur Wrestling News/Intermat Poll.