March 14, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. -- The quest for Oklahoma's seventh national trophy in 13 years begins this Thursday, March 15, as nine Sooners are set to compete at the 82nd-annual NCAA Wrestling Championships held inside the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.
"I think we are definitely ready and have a good game-plan for each individual," Mark Cody said. "I appreciate having these brackets ahead of time because in the past, you didn't know until the night before the tournament who you were going to wrestle.
"As far as the team is concerned, we are as ready as we can be. We will be rested and ready to go out and battle right out of the gate. The team is excited and a lot of the guys look at the conference tournament as somewhat of a stepping-stone to get to the NCAA tournament. Particularly based on my previous teams, this is where they are going to go out and let it fly. I feel really confident with this group going into the NCAA tournament."
Action begins at 11 a.m. CST, and will run through Saturday evening, March 17. ESPN3.com is scheduled to carry Thursday's opening rounds. ESPNU and ESPN3.com will cover Friday's action live. Additionally, Saturday evening's finals commencing at 6:30 p.m. will air nationally on ESPN.
Oklahoma will attempt to crown an individual champion for the first time since 2005; while OU's only reigning All-American Jarrod Patterson (125 pounds) seeks All-America status for the second straight year. Two Sooners are national seeds heading into this weekend, led by No. 2 Kendric Maple at 141 pounds. Patterson is seeded No. 7 among 125 pounders.
Jordan Keller (133), Nick Lester (149), Matt Lester (157), Bubby Graham (165), Kyle Detmer (174), Erich Schmidtke (184) and Keldrick Hall (197) will join their Sooner counterparts at the Championships.
Last season, Oklahoma qualified eight wrestlers for the national tournament and finished 16th overall. Also making return trips to the NCAAs are Keller, Maple, Matt Lester, Graham and Schmidtke.
|| Sooner First Round Matchups
: No. 7 Jarrod Patterson vs. Shane Gentry (MD)
: Jordan Keller vs. Steven Keith (HARV) or Geoffrey Alexander (MD)
: No. 2 Kendric Maple vs. Nathan Hoffer (AZST)
: Nick Lester vs. Donald Vinson (BING)
: Matt Lester vs. Jason Welch (NW)
: Bubby Graham vs. Conrad Polz (ILL)
Kyle Detmer vs. (12) Jimmy Sheptock (MD)
: Erich Schmidtke vs. Ben Bennett (CMICH)
Keldrick Hall vs. 2 Christopher Honeycutt (EDIN)
| Sooner Participants (Weight)
|| Hometown (Year)
| Jarrod Patterson (125)
|| Cushing, Okla. (Jr.)
| Jordan Keller (133)
|| Wichita, Kan. (Sr.)
| Kendric Maple (141)
|| Wichita, Kan. (RSo.)
| Nick Lester (149)
|| Eureka, Mo. (RSo.)
| Matt Lester (157)
|| Eureka, Mo. (RSo.)
| Bubby Graham (165)
|| Annapolis, MD (RJr.)
| Kyle Detmer (174)
|| Wichita, Kan. (RSo.)
| Erich Schmidtke (184)
|| Aberdeen, Wash. (RJr.)
| Keldrick Hall (197)
|| Dallas, Texas (RJr.)
|| SOONER WRESTLING NOTES
Kendric Maple earned an individual title for the Sooners at 141 pounds as 12th-ranked Oklahoma finished third at the 2012 Big 12 Championships inside the Hearnes Center on the campus of the University of Missouri.
OKLAHOMA POSTSEASON TRADITION
Pursuing championships is synonymous with Oklahoma wrestling. Throughout its tradition-rich history, OU has produced 65 individual national champions and 263 All-Americans.
Most impressively, Oklahoma owns seven national championships, which is fourth-most all-time in the history of the sport. The Sooners have crowned 44 All-Americans in the past 12 years, a number only four other programs can claim more than. Oklahoma teams are also fifth with the most top 10 finishes at the NCAA in the past 12 years with nine total.
Leading Oklahoma into the 2012 postseason is first year head coach Mark Cody, who produced a national champion and 14 All-Americans during his tenure as the head coach at American.
LOOKING BACK AT BIG 12s
Kendric Maple earned an individual title for the Sooners at 141 pounds as 12th-ranked Oklahoma finished third at the 2012 Big 12 Championships inside the Hearnes Center on the campus of the University of Missouri on Saturday night.
Additionally, Jarrod Patterson (125 pounds) and Matt Lester (157) claimed silver medals after falling to Missouri's Alan Waters and Drake Houdashelt, respectively.
OU finished third overall with 60.5 points after being edged out by Oklahoma State (73). Missouri claimed the title with 77 points, while Iowa State (24) placed fourth.
Seven OU wrestlers -- Jordan Keller (133), Nick Lester (149), Bubby Graham (165), Kyle Detmer (174), Erich Schmidtke (184) and Kyle Colling (184) -- finished third in their respective weight classes, which helped OU stand second heading into the finals.
2011-12 SEASON REVISITED
First year head coach Mark Cody led Oklahoma to its 16th-consecutive double-digit win season after posting a 13-5 overall record. On the year, OU downed five squads ranked in the top 25 and outscored foes 438-242. Broken down, OU averaged 24 points to its opponent's 13. For the second straight season, OU captured three conferences wins on the year and finishing the Big 12 regular season with a 3-3 record.
Additionally, Oklahoma captured its 13th-straight Brockport/Oklahoma Gold title, as well as finishing third at the highly-competitive Midlands Championships where Kendrick Maple won the 141 pound title and five others finished in the top six of their respective weight classes. Oklahoma enters the postseason with three wrestlers ranked in the top 10 and are led by second-ranked Maple who has collected bonus-points in 22 of his 26 victories. The Sooners add four more wrestlers ranked in the top 20 of their respective weight classes.
RETURNING TO THE BIG STAGE
Six Sooners - Jarrod Patterson, Jordan Keller, Kendric Maple, Matt Lester, Bubby Graham and Erich Schmidtke -- are no strangers to the NCAAs. This is Keller, Maple and Lester's second trip and Patterson and Schmidtke's third.
LAST YEAR AT THE NCAAs
Oklahoma qualified eight wrestlers for the national tournament last season held in Philadelphia, Pa., where the Sooners finished 16th after finishing fifth in 2010.
Individually, Oklahoma crowned three All-Americans - Jarrod Patterson (125), Zack Bailey (141) and Tyler Caldwell (165) - at the Championships.
Bailey (seventh) and Caldwell (second) each earned repeat All-American honors, while Patterson (seventh) claimed the accolade for the first time.
Oklahoma was 3-3 in Big 12 duals this season and averaged 17.2 points per match. OU gave up 19.3 points to conference opponents.
This season, Oklahoma topped an impressive four opponents ranked in the latest NWCA/Coaches Poll Top 25 (No. 10 Missouri, No. 15 Lehigh, No. 19 Binghamton and No. 22 Virginia Tech).
In the 13 wins this season, Oklahoma outscored foes 438-242. Broken down, OU averaged 24 points to its opponent's 13. Each of Oklahoma's losses came at the hands of top 10 teams at the time of the dual.
Thursday's match marks the last at home for seniors Jordan Keller, Erich Schmidtke, Marcus Armato and Ben Bridell. The four, who have combined for 132 career wins at Oklahoma, will be honored prior to the dual.
Keller, a 133 pounder from Wichita, Kan., finished second at the 2011 Big 12 Championships and qualified for the NCAAs in his first full season as a Sooner. Keller boasts a 38-17 career record at OU.
An Aberdeen , Wash., native, Schmidtke, is a two-time NCAA qualifier and has amassed 71 career wins and 54 losses competing at 184 pounds for the Sooners.
Armato, a native of Kansas City, Mo., ends his OU career with a record of 23-23. The 174 pounder went 1-3 in dual action this season.
| Sooner to Watch: Kendric Maple
Kendric Maple | RSo. | 141 pounds
Maple, a 2010 NCAA qualifier, earned his first Big 12 title and looks to add to OU's rich line of All-Americans.
The No. 2 ranked 141 pound redshirt sophomore from Wichita, Kan., is one of three wrestlers to earn three Big 12 accolades in the same season.
MAPLE EARNS THREE BIG 12 ACCOLADES
Redshirt-sophomore Kendric Maple was named the Big 12 Wrestler of the Month and Big 12 Wrestler of the Week twice (1/2 & 1/30) this season. Maple joins OSU's Jordan Oliver (2010) as the only Big 12 wrestlers to earn three honors in a single season.
He earned his first career conference honor after being named the Big 12 Conference Wrestler of the Month for his performance in November where he compiled a 6-0 overall record (3-0 dual) at 141 pounds. During that span, he accumulated three victories by major decision and two technical falls.
On Nov. 12, Maple won the Brockport/Oklahoma Gold title after he posted a 3-0 record and defeated Rutgers' 16th-ranked Billy Ashnault by major decision, Army's Connor Hanafee via a technical fall and American's No. 9-ranked Matthew Mariacher, 5-0. After his impressive outing at the tournament, he was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Maple was named Big 12 Wrestler of the Week on Jan. 2, after he claimed the 141 pound title at the Midlands Championships. Over the course of the tournament, Maple posted a 6-0 record and defeated the nation's top ranked wrestler in Iowa's Montell Marion, 5-3.
Most recently, Maple was named the Big 12 Wrestler of the Week for matches from Jan. 23-29, where he defeated two ranked wrestlers by way of major decisions, Virginia Tech's 19th-ranked Zach Neibert and Lehigh's No. 15-ranked Steve Dutton, to help the Sooners defeat then-No. 23 Virginia Tech (19-12) and No. 14 Lehigh (22-16).
NATIONAL DUALS RECAP
The Sooners, the third seed, went 1-1 at the Cornell regional in Ithaca N.Y. OU started the day with a dominating win over Mark Cody's former American squad, 35-12, but fell to the eventual regional champs, No. 7 Illinois, by a final of 21-18.
SOONERS TAKE THIRD AT MIDLANDS
The Oklahoma wrestling squad finished third overall and Kendric Maple claimed the 141 pound title and Most Outstanding Wrestler at the 2011 Midlands Championships, hosted by Northwestern University, Dec. 29-30.
Oklahoma finished the tournament taking home the third place trophy with 94.5 points. Iowa ran away with the title after tallying 152 points. Northwestern placed second with 105.5 points. Virginia Tech (76.5) and Edinboro (74.5) rounded out the top five.
Leading the way for Oklahoma was redshirt sophomore Kendric Maple who won the 141 pound title to remain unbeaten (12-0) on the year. The Wichita, Kan., native entered Friday's semifinal matchup having earned bonus points in each of his last seven bouts. In the semifinals Maple defeated Iowa State's Luke Goetti, 13-1. In the championship bout, Maple downed Iowa's No. 1-ranked Montell Marion, 5-3.
In addition to OU's 141 pound champion, five other Sooners - Jarod Patterson (fifth), Nick Lester (fourth), Matt Lester (fifth), Bubby Graham (sixth) and Erich Schmidtke (fifth) - claimed top six finishes among their respective weight classes.
OU returns seven NCAA qualifiers and adds another in transfer Bubby Graham. Highlighting the returning group is 2011 All-American Jarrod Patterson (125), who collected a 29-9 overall record last season.
Other returning starters that qualified for the NCAA Championships include Jordan Keller (133), Matt Lester (149 pounds), Chase Nelson (157) and Erich Schmidtke (184) and Kendric Maple, a 2009-10 NCAA qualifier that redshirted last year.
PATTERSON AT ALL-STAR CLASSIC
Oklahoma junior Jarrod Patterson competed in the 46th-annual NWCA All-Star Classic where he fell to then-No. 4 ranked Nic Bedelyon of Kent State, 7-3.
BUBBY A SOONER
OU adds another NCAA qualifier in American transfer Bubby Graham. The talented wrestler from Annapolis, Md., looks to anchor the 165 pound spot for the Sooners. Graham was a two year starter for the Eagles where he competed at 157 and 165 pounds.
SOONERS SIGN SIX IN EARLY PERIOD
Mark Cody recently signed six high school seniors to National Letters of Intent, four of which rank in the top-20 nationally in their respective weight classes.
Leading ranked recruits is Clark Glass from Brandon, Fla., ranked No. 6 nationally among 160 pounders by InterMat. Brad Johnson , a product of Homer Glenn, Ill., is a three-time All-State selection and is ranked by CollegeWrestling.net as the No. 49 overall recruit nationally. Kyle Garcia (125 pounds), Greg Wilson (195), Tim Hamilton (141) and Garrison McCauley (157) round out the class.
Oklahoma won its 13th-straight Brockport/Oklahoma Gold Classic title on Nov. 12, 2011. Five Sooners claimed individual titles and five more garnered top-five finishes. Kendric Maple earned the Most Outstanding Wrestler Award. Chase Nelson was the aggregate pin leader after posting falls in 0:11 and 1:17.
The Sooners won the team portion with 182 total points. The Sooners closest competition was Maryland, who finished with 174.5 points. Going undefeated on the day to capture individual crowns were Jarrod Patterson (125 pounds), Jordan Keller (133), Maple (141), Matt Lester (157) and Erich Schmidtke (184).