OKLAHOMA CITY -- With a 6-3 decision in his semifinals bout, Oklahoma wrestling’s Andrew Howe punched his ticket to the 174-pound finals at the 2014 NCAA Championships inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Joining Howe in securing All-America honors are Cody Brewer and Kendric Maple. OU’s three All-Americans is the most since it also had three in 2011 and the fifth straight year that at least two Sooners have earned the recognition.
As a team, the Sooners sit in ninth place with 45 points. Penn State (91), Minnesota (90.5), Oklahoma State (87.5), Iowa (67) and Ohio State (52) comprise the top five.
Facing No. 6 seed Logan Storley of Minnesota, Howe added an early takedown and another in the first to jump out to a 4-2 lead. In the second period, Howe registered an escape and secured the riding time with 1:28 to take the bout, 6-3.
The win set up a Bedlam final between Howe and OSU’s No. 1 seed Chris Perry. On the season, Howe is 27-1, while Perry is 33-1, with each’s loss coming to the other. This will be the third time this season the Big 12 foes have met. Both Howe and Perry are NCAA Champions, with Howe winning at 165 pounds in 2010 and Perry looking to defend his 2013 crown at 174 pounds.
Howe said that losing to Perry on March 8 in the Big 12 Championship "lit the fire a little bit the past couple of weeks," and he plans to begin attacking on offense earlier instead of waiting until late in the match in this third meeting.
"Finishing up this series on top would be good," Howe said. "Like you said, the rubber match, and then just winning it here in the home crowd. I can definitely hear some people cheering out there. I know there are a lot of Sooner fans out in the audience. It's been nice."
No. 13 seed Cody Brewer stormed to an early lead in his 133-pound consolation match against Michigan’s Rosario Bruno, holding a 12-1 advantage after five minutes. Brewer added the riding time point with 4:03 to take the bout 13-2, securing the redshirt sophomore the status of All-American for the second straight season.
In his second match of the session, Brewer faced No. 8 seed David Thorn of Minnesota, eventually falling by decision, 14-10. On Saturday morning, Brewer will wrestle Central Michigan's No. 12 Joe Roth for seventh place.
After a disappointing overtime loss in the quarterfinals, No. 4 seed Kendric Maple bounced back with a 7-4 decision of Clarion’s Justin Arthur in the 149-pound consolation bracket. Maple struck first with an early opening-period takedown and held the lead the entire seven minutes. Maple also accumulated 1:42 riding time.
The win made the redshirt senior OU’s 25th three-time All-American and first since Teyon Ware (2003-05).
Against No. 9 seed Eric Grajales, Maple held a 4-1 lead after the second. However, Grajales added an escape and registered a takedown with just over a minute left to tie the bout. With the riding time of 1:21, Grajales topped Maple, 5-4.
Maple will close his illustrious OU career tomorrow with a seventh-place match against Penn State's James English.
In a heartbreaking match, redshirt senior and sixth-seeded Jarrod Patterson fell just short of becoming a two-time All-American as he lost by a 6-5 decision to No. 16 seed Joey Dance of Virginia Tech.
The bout was close throughout, with the wrestlers exchanging scores. With just under a minute remaining in the third period, Dance registered a takedown to take a 6-4 lead. Patterson was able to escape less than 10 seconds later but could not score again.
The Cushing, Okla., native ended his successful OU career with a 107-32 overall record, including a 20-4 mark this season. In 2011, Patterson grabbed All-America honors. He won Big 12 titles at 125 pounds in 2010 and this season.
Session five of the NCAA Championships is slated to begin at 10 a.m. CT Saturday, while the finals will start at 7 p.m. CT. Session five will air on ESPNU, with ESPN covering session six. All mats will be available online at ESPN3.com.
Oklahoma’s Session Five Matchups (with tournament seed)
133: No. 13 Cody Brewer (OU) vs. No. 12 Joe Roth (Central Michigan); for seventh place
149: No. 4 Kendric Maple (OU) vs. James English (Penn State); for seventh place
174: No. 2 Andrew Howe (OU) vs. No. 1 Chris Perry (OSU); in finals