STILLWATER, Okla. - Kendric Mapled secured an individual title for the Sooners at 141 pounds as the University of Oklahoma wrestling team finished third with 58 points at the Big 12 Championships inside Oklahoma State's Gallagher-Iba Arena on Saturday night.
"I'm proud of the way the guys competed tonight," remarked Oklahoma head coach Mark Cody. "It was a lot more fun to come in here today and have the guys come out here and battle - yesterday was heart wrenching to sit through.
"Today to have them all out their wrestling was definitely a good boost for our team."
Oklahoma finished third behind champion Oklahoma State (118.5) and runner-up Iowa State (74). West Virginia rounded out the field with 28 points for fourth.
"I think that you'll see a lot of guys that placed second or third in this conference that will place ahead of the guy that won the conference at NCAA's. It's crazy how it works with all of this," continued Cody. "I think it's just going to be whoever is ready in two weeks, but we will be ready in that time."
Maple defended his Big 12 Championship crown from a year ago with a dominant performance at 141 pounds after he topped Iowa State's Luke Goettl with a 13-3 major decision to remain undefeated on the year with a 26-0 overall record.
"I'm so happy to see Kendric get his second title," explained Cody. "It's good for our team because they all workout and train in the same room, they get the same coaching but he just goes out and applies it every time. When you apply what you learn, and succeed it really shows something."
Maple blanked Goettle 8-0 in the first period, and kept the match scoreless until the Cyclone tallied an escape with 35 seconds remaining on the clock in the second. Goettl added one takedown in the third, but it wasn't enough to recover from the 11-3 deficit as Maple added an escape and two minutes of riding time to secure his second-straight Big 12 Championship at 141 pounds.
"It felt good to go out there and get that win, especially after the first match earlier today that was forfeited," explained Maple. "It was nice to be able to go out there, wrestle and get a couple of good periods in tonight for the championship bout."
"You have to find a goal for the night, and mine was to get the win," said Maple. "My objective is to go out there every time and dominate every match: whether it's by one point or by tech fall."
Three other Sooners competed in championship bouts at Gallagher-Iba Arena, with runner-up finishes by redshirt freshman Cody Brewer, redshirt junior Matt Lester and redshirt senior Bubby Graham.
Brewer made his first Big 12 Wrestling Championship appearance at 133 pounds against Oklahoma State's Jon Morrison. The Kansas City, Mo., native trailed 2-1 as he headed into the second period, but was able to tie it up 2-2 all with an escape in those two minutes to enter the third with an even attack. Morrison prevailed in the final period with an escape, late takedown and 28 seconds remaining on the clock to secure the victory. A minute and some change (1:12) of riding time added a bonus point to Morrison's total to walk off the mat with a 6-2 decision.
Oklahoma rounded out its competitors in the championship finals at 157 and 165 pounds, respectively.
At 157 pounds, Matt Lester suffered an 11-3 major decision to Oklahoma State's Alex Dieringer. The redshirt junior trailed 4-1 as he entered the third period of action on the mat, but was unable to catch ground in the final two minutes of wrestling as Dieringer totaled three takedowns and added 2:38 of riding time to secure the 11-3 victory and Big 12 title.
Graham followed at 165 pounds in one of the most anticipated matches of the night when he battled against Oklahoma State's Tyler Caldwell for the 2013 Big 12 Title. It wasn't a flashy show for either wrestler, as Caldwell secured just one point in the second period to take the victory. Neither Graham nor Caldwell added any points on the board, as the lone point would be all it took for Caldwell to claim the title with a 1-0 decision.
Three true freshmen made their Big 12 Wrestling Championship appearances on Saturday in Stillwater as they each wrestled for a third-place finish.
Kyle Garcia was the first on the mat for the Sooners in the 125-pound bout, but suffered a 7-3 defeat to WVU's Shane Young in the third-place match to finish fourth overall. Matt Reed and Brad Johnson followed in the 184- and 197-pound bouts, respectively. Reed was overcome by West Virginia's Lance Bryson with a 5-1 decision at 184 pounds, while Johnson was victorious at 197 with a 6-2 decision over West Virginia's A.J. Vizcarrando.
Additionally, senior Keldrick Hall wrestled his final Big 12 match in the Crimson and Cream with a 5-3 decision over Mountaineers' Phil Mandzik to earn the second top-three finish of his career at the wrestling tournament.
Next up for the Sooners is the 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships, March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa. With their performances tonight Brewer, Maple, Matt Lester and Graham each earned NCAA qualifier allocations.
"I'm looking forward to getting into Des Moines and scoring a lot of points," said Cody about his expectations for the NCAA Championships. "For me as a coach, I feel like that is where all of my teams have performed the best, and I don't expect any different out of these guys."
"We have a lot of firepower here, and I think that you're going to see some results here at the NCAA tournament in a few weeks."
FINAL TEAM STANDINGS
Oklahoma State - 118.5
Iowa State - 74
OKLAHOMA - 58
West Virginia - 28
133: No. 1 Jon Morrison (OSU) dec. No. 2 Cody Brewer (OU), 6-2
141: No. 1 Kendric Maple (OU) major decision No. 2 Luke Goettl (ISU), 13-3
157: No. 1 Alex Dieringer (OSU) major decision No. 2 Matt Lester (OU), 11-3
165: No. 1 Tyler Caldwell (OSU) dec. No. 2 Bubby Graham (OU), 1-0
125: No. 3 Shane Young (WVU) dec. No. 4 Kyle Garcia (OU); 7-3
149: No. 2 Nick Lester (OU) dec. No. 4 George Scheffel (WVU); 7-2
174: No. 3 Bubba Scheffel (WVU) fall No. 4 Kyle Detmer (OU); 6:05
184: No. 4 Lance Bryson (WVU) dec. No. 3 Matt Reed (OU); 5-1
197: No. 4 Brad Johnson (OU) dec. No. 3 A.J. Vizcarrando (WVU); 6-2
285: No. 3 Keldrick Hall (OU) dec. No. 4 Phil Mandzik (WVU); 5-3
125: No. 1 Eddie Klimara (OSU) dec. No. 4 Kyle Garcia (OU), 8-4
133: No. 2 Cody Brewer (OU) major dec. No. 3 John Meeks (ISU), 13-4
141: No. 1 Kendric Maple (OU) inj. def. No. 4 Nathan Pennesi (WVU)
149: No. 3 Max Mayfield (ISU) dec. No. 2 Nick Lester (OU), 4-2
157: No. 2 Matt Lester (OU) major dec. No. 3 Jason Luster (WVU), 9-1
165: No. 2 Bubby Graham (OU) dec. No. 3 Mike Moreno (ISU), 6-2
174: No. 1 Chris Perry (OSU) fall No. 4 Kyle Detmer (OU), 4:08
184: No. 2 Chris Chionuma (OSU) major dec. No. 3 Matt Reed (OU); 11-1
197: No. 1 Kyven Gadson (ISU) MD No. 4 Brad Johnson (OU), 14-4
285: No. 2 Matt Gibson (ISU) dec. No. 3 Keldrick Hall (OU); 9-5