Sooners Joey Fio and Kyle Terry win Big 12 titles Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.
March 7, 2009
LINCOLN, Neb. - The University of Oklahoma wrestling program added two more conference champions to its storied history, as 125-pound Joey Fio and 149-pound Kyle Terry were crowned champs at the 2009 Big 12 Championships in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday evening inside the NU Coliseum filled with over 3,000 fans.
The two Sooner titles mark the eighth time in the 13 year history of the Big 12 OU has crowned multiple champions. Oklahoma now owns 173 conference titles, 21 in the Big 12 era. The titles mark the 27th overall under head coach Jack Spates.
"We couldn't be prouder of those two," Spates said. "For both of them to come out and dominate their matches is something special. Fio was dominated last year by (Tyler) Clark in their first meeting, but to come out here tonight and get a victory was great. As for Kyle Terry, he showed again why he is one of the best wrestlers in the country."
Overall, the Sooner squad finished fifth with 38.5 total team points. For the first time in the history of the conference there was a tie for first place, as Iowa State and Nebraska each finished with 70 points. Missouri placed third with 55 points and Oklahoma State fourth with 40 points.
"Overall, it was a disappointing effort on our part," Spates said. "It was a day of inches, and we had plenty of opportunties but we didn't take advantage of them."
Top-seeded Fio's opponent for the 125 pound final was No. 8 Tyler Clark (three seed) from Iowa State. Prior to the match, Fio held a 2-1 lead in the all-time series against the Cyclone, including 1-0 this season.
Fio, ranked No. 7 nationally, struck first with a takedown late in the first period to lead 2-0, before a Clark escape made it 2-1 to end the first period. Fio chose the down position to begin the second stanza and scored an escape to lead 3-1. To begin the third, Clark scored his second escape of the match to inch within one, 3-2, but the Sooner scored a takedown in the final seconds to lead 5-2. A late escape by the Cyclone was not enough, as Fio took the championship, 5-3.
"It was tough facing him again," Fio said. "He is a great wrestler and I tried to combat what I knew he would try to do, along with being aggressive offensively. It feels great to be a Big 12 champion."
Another Cyclone stood in the way of a Big 12 title for No. 6 Kyle Terry, as the top seed from Midwest City, Okla., was pitted against No. 19 Mitch Mueller (two seed) of Iowa State. In the previous meeting between the two this season, Terry blanked Mueller, 6-0, on Jan. 23.
After a scoreless first, Terry scored the match's first point with an escape in the second period to lead, 1-0. A takedown for Terry with 43 seconds remaining in the second stanza put him on top by a 3-0 score. Mueller chose the neutral position to start the third but was unable to capitalize, as Terry scored OU's second Big 12 Championship title on the evening by blanking Mueller once again, 3-0.
The win marked Terry's 26th-straight this season, capping off an impressive 28-1 tally heading into the NCAA's.
"I had confidence going into the match because I beat him (Mueller) earlier this season," Terry said. "I was still a little nervous because of it being the conference finals, but I went out there and just wrestled. It feels great to win and I am looking forward to the NCAA's."
Also qualifying for the NCAA Championships Saturday were Pat Flynn, Ryan Smith, Eric Lapotsky and Nathan Fernandez. Flynn reeled off two straight pins this afternoon in the consolations to take third place at 184 pounds. Smith, Lapotsky and Fernandez all advanced to the NCAA's under the new selection criteria put into place this season.
The NCAA's, held for the second straight year at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo., commence March 19.
|| CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL RESULTS
125: No. 7 Joey Fio (OU) dec. No. 8 Tyler Clark (ISU), 5-3
133: Nick Fanthorpe (ISU) dec. Chris Notte (OSU), 5-1
141: Marcus Hoehn (MU) dec. Nick Gallick (ISU), 2-1 SV
149: No. 6 Kyle Terry (OU) dec. No. 19 Mitch Mueller (ISU), 3-0
157: Jordan Burroughs (NU) dec. Michael Chandler (MU), 6-4
165: Nick Marable (MU) dec. Stephen Dwyer (NU), 3-1 SV
174: Brandon Browne (NU) dec. Raymond Jordan (MU), 3-1
184: Vince Jones (NU) dec. Jerome Ward (ISU), 3-0
197: Craig Brester (NU) dec. Jake Varner (ISU), 4-3
285: David Zabriskie (ISU) dec. Mark Ellis (MU), 3-1
OUTSTANDING WRESTLER: Craig Brester (Nebraska)