The Sooners will face No. 7 Virginia Tech in the first match on Sunday.
Feb. 15, 2013
NORMAN, Okla. -- The 25th-ranked Oklahoma wrestling team ventures to the West Coast this weekend when it travels to Corvallis, Ore., to participate in the highly anticipated 2013 NWCA/Cliff Keen Division I National Duals.
Corvallis, home of the Oregon State Beavers is one of four regional destinations along with Kent, Ohio (Kent State), Ithaca, N.Y. (Cornell), and Columbia, Mo. (Missouri.)
Sixteen teams will take to the mat this weekend in `Mat Mayhem', but only four will advance to the finals in Minneapolis, Minn., on Feb. 22-23. The select group will join Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Ohio State, who were each given automatic berths to the final eight.
The Sooners hopeful trek to Minnesota begins with seventh-ranked Virginia Tech on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 3 p.m. CT inside host Oregon State's Gill Coliseum.
The two are familiar foes, who faced one another only 20 days prior to Sunday's bout in Blacksburg, Va. The Sooners fell to the then-No.9 Hokies, 22-19. Four wrestlers in the Crimson and Cream walked off the mat with wins courtesy of Cody Brewer (133), Kendric Maple (141), Bubby Graham (165) and Keldrick Hall (285).
The winner of the Virginia Tech-Oklahoma match will take to the mat against the winner of the No. 9 Oregon State and No. 19 Michigan bout on Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. CT for the chance to advance to the finals. The losing teams of the first two matches will face one another in the consolation finals at the same time.
Familiarity is a common them in Corvallis this weekend, as Michigan and Oregon State faced off earlier this season in November. The Wolverines prevailed and topped the Beavers 21-16 in Gill Coliseum.
The Sooners enter Sunday's match with a 6-7 overall record and sit second in the Big 12 with a 2-1 conference slate, while Virginia Tech is first in the ACC with an undefeated 5-0 conference- and 14-2 overall-record, with its two losses to then-No. 5 Ohio State, and then-No. 18 Pittsburgh.
The Hokies travel to Corvallis with an eleven-match win streak that began on Dec. 2, 2012, with a win over Edinboro, and includes wins against four top-25 teams.
OU is led by the nation's top-ranked 141-pounder, Maple. The redshirt junior enters his dual against Virginia Tech's No. 12 Zach Neibert with an undefeated 22-0 record. The duo have yet to face each other this season, however, it was Maple who prevailed in the team's first meeting last season, after he totaled a 13-1 major decision against Neibert.
Eight of the Hokies' 10 wrestlers are ranked in the latest top-25 poll. Both Nick Brascetta and Peter Yates lead Virginia Tech, each with a No. 5 ranking ahead of their name.
Yates will face No. 4 Graham in a top-five matchup. The two wrestled one another at the Midlands Championships, where Graham walked off the mat with a 7-2 decision to capture the win. In the VT-OU dual, Graham wrestled up at 174-pounds, and bypassed Yates in the 165-pound matchup.
Brascetta took a 6-4 decision over No. 9 Nick Lester in January; the two will meet again on Sunday.
Two other top-25 matchups will be present in Oklahoma's match against Virginia Tech when No. 9 Brewer looks to defend his 12-4 major decision over No. 19 Erik Spjut, and No. 18 Matt Lester hopes to avenge a 2-0 loss against No. 7 Jesse Dong from earlier this season.
Oklahoma leads both series against Michigan and Oregon State, 9-3-1 and 14-4, respectively.
Michigan boasts rookie Taylor Massa (22-5, 165) and veterans Eric Grajales (17-4, 149) and Dan Yates (18-5, 174), which could present some interesting matchups for the Sooners, while Oregon State is anchored by All-American Michael Mangrum (31-4, 141), Scott Sakaguchi (21-4, 149), RJ Pena (28-3, 157), Taylor Meeks (27-5, 197), and Chad Hanke (29-3, 285).
| Probable Participants
|| Hometown (Year)
|| 2012-13 Record
|Kyle Garcia (125)
|| Chocktaw, Okla. (Fr.)
|| Kansas City, Mo. (RFr.)
||Wichita, Kan. (RJr.)
||St.Louis Mo. (RJe.)
Matt Lester (157) OR
Justin DeAngelis (157)
St. Louis, Mo. (RJr.)
Tulsa, Okla. (RSo.)
|Bubby Graham (165)
||Annapolis, MD (RSr.)
||Wichita, Kan. (Fr.)
|Nolan McBryde (184)
||Keller, Texas (Fr.)
||Lockport, Ill. (Fr.)
||Dallas, Texas (Sr.)