OU will close out the regular season on Friday, and compete in the Big 12 Championship on Saturday
March 7, 2013
NORMAN, Okla. -- The University of Oklahoma wrestling team will wrap up the regular season and begin post-season competition this weekend with the 2013 Big 12 Wrestling Championship at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla. Action begins Friday with the conclusion of the regular season with duals between each of the four Big 12 wrestling programs: Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Iowa State and West Virginia.
Oklahoma's first dual begins at 11 a.m. CT against Iowa State, followed by a bout at 1 p.m. against West Virginia. A Bedlam rematch at 8 p.m. will cap off the night against the nation's second-ranked squad and championship host, Oklahoma State.
The Bedlam matchup will be televised by Fox Sports Southwest, while the OU-WVU match will be streamed on Big12Sports.com. Upon conclusion of the 7 p.m. duals, the Big 12 regular-season championship trophy will be awarded.
The Sooners travel to Stillwater with a 2-1 record in Big 12 competition on the year. OU has captured team victories in conference action against Iowa State (19-15) and West Virginia (25-14), but lost to No. 2 Oklahoma State (26-9) in Norman on Dec. 7. Currently, OU stands second in the conference behind OSU (3-0). Iowa State is third (1-2), while West Virginia follows in fourth (0-3).
The Sooners begin their quest for a conference championship on Saturday at 5 p.m. CST. Wrestlers from each Big 12 school will participate in a tournament style championship; 10 individual champions will be crowned at the end of the night, in addition to a team champion. The championship and third-place bouts will take place simultaneously on two mats starting at approximately 7 p.m. with any potential challenge matches to follow.
All Saturday matches will be streamed live on Big12Sports.com at no charge.
Oklahoma finished third at last year's conference championship and saw 141-pounder Kendric Maple claim the team's lone individual title. Entering its 17th Big 12 Championship appearance, OU has won team titles in 2002 and 1999 and has recorded 27 individual Big 12 titles in the process.
The 2013 Sooners return six wrestlers who participated in the 2012 Big 12 Championship. Maple took first in the 141-pound weight class, while 157-pounder Matt Lester finished second. Nick Lester (149), Bubby Graham (165), Kyle Detmer (174), and Keldrick Hall (197) each finished third in their respective weight classes.
2013 Big 12 Championships
OU is led by the nation's top 141-pounder, Maple, who has posted an undefeated, 24-0 record on the season. The Sooners also feature two other top-10 wrestlers in No. 5 165-pounder Graham and No. 9 133-pounder Cody Brewer. Other ranked Sooners include Nick Lester (149 lbs.) at 16th and Matt Lester (157 lbs.) at 18th.
Host Oklahoma State (17-1) suffered its first loss of the season last week, when it fell to then-No. 2 Minnesota in Minneapolis.
The Cowboys are led by 149-pounder Jordan Oliver, who enters the weekend ranked No. 1 and stands as the reigning Big 12 Wrestler of the Week after his performance at the NWCA National Duals, where he finished with a 3-0 record over three top-25 opponents.
OSU features seven other wrestlers ranked in the top 25, with no wrestler bearing a ranking under 11: No. 6 Jon Morrison (133 lbs.), No. 8 Alex Dieringer (157 lbs.), No. 2 Tyler Caldwell (165 lbs.), No. 2 Chris Perry (174 lbs.), No. 11 Chris Chionuma (184 lbs.), No. 11 Blake Rosholt (197 lbs.) and No. 2 Alan Gelogaev (285 lbs.).
Iowa State enters Gallagher-Iba Arena ranked No. 20 in the nation and own a three-match win streak, including a 39-0 shutout of Eastern Michigan. The Cyclones have posted a 9-4 overall record and 1-2 mark in Big 12 action with losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and a 30-3 road victory over West Virginia in Morgantown on Jan. 26.
Five Cyclones are ranked in the top 20 of their weight class, including No. 18 Luke Goetll (141 lbs.), No. 19 Michael Moreno (165 lbs.), No. 20 Tanner Weatherman (174 lbs.), No. 15 Boaz Beard (184 lbs.) and No. 19 Matt Gibson (285 lbs.).
West Virginia registered its second win of the season on Feb. 24 against Clarion, the first since a season-opening victory against Johns Hopkins. The Mountaineers' 2-10 record includes losses to top 25 teams Oklahoma State (No. 2), Penn State (No. 3), Pittsburgh (No. 16), Iowa State (No. 20), Maryland (No. 24) and Rutgers (N0. 25). West Virginia's only ranked wrestler is No. 13 141-pounder Nathan Pennesi.
Last Year's Championships
The Sooners travelled to the Hearnes Center in Columbia, Mo. for the 2012 Big 12 Championship, where host Missouri captured its first Big 12 team title. Oklahoma finished third with 60.5 team points, behind Missouri (77) and Oklahoma State (73). Iowa State finished in fourth with 24 team points.
Big 12 Regular Season
OU opened Big 12 action against Bedlam rival and then No. 2 Oklahoma State in December. The Sooner faithful saw freshman Kyle Garcia record his first Bedlam win and Maple pin his opponent in a 26-9 loss to the Cowboys.
Oklahoma claimed its first conference victory against Iowa State in January. Six Sooners won their individual matches to help OU to a 19-15 team win over the Cyclones. With Oklahoma holding a slim one-point lead heading into the final duel of the night, 133-pounder Brewer secured the win for the Sooners with a decisive 6-2 victory over John Meeks.
In the final home match for OU's five seniors, the Sooners clinched the victory against West Virginia. Oklahoma was led by seniors Graham and Hall, who both left the McCasland mat with wins against their Mountaineer opponents en route to a 25-14 OU victory.