Oklahoma wrestler Kendric Maple is off to an 8-0 start this season and is currently ranked No. 1 in the 141-pound weight class. The junior is a returning All-American for the 10th-ranked Sooners after placing fourth at the NCAA Championships last season. Maple was selected as the Big 12 Conference Wrestler of the Month for November.
Maple talked with The Oklahoman about Sunday's Bedlam dual, being ranked No. 1, and former teammate Tyler Caldwell.
What are some things about Bedlam that make it different from other duals?
“It's obviously a huge rivalry and we are very aware of that. All the fans come out, everyone on both sides has high expectations, and it's just a great feeling to be out there wrestling in a rivalry like this.”
You guys are Bedlam underdogs this year, what's it going to take to pull the upset?
“We know we're underdogs. We're a young team, coming off a hard loss to Wyoming. But we have a lot of potential and I think that gives us a chance to meet the high expectations that come with being the Sooners.”
Your former OU teammate, Tyler Caldwell, is at OSU now. What will it be like to see him on the other side of Bedlam?
“It's definitely going to be weird seeing him on the other side. But he had to do what he had to do. We've been friends going back even before high school and he was actually my roommate when he was here.”
Have you kept in touch with him since the transfer?
“I do keep in contact with him a little bit and he's a really great guy that I have a lot of respect for and I hope the best for him, but he's on the other team so I still want to … well, we still want to win.”
You're currently ranked No. 1 at your weight (141), does that come with any added pressure?
“I don't really look at the rankings that way. Everyone wants to come after the top guy with nothing to lose, but I'm just going to wrestle my match regardless of the rankings.”
Jordan Oliver at OSU is currently the top-ranked wrestler at 149, have you thought about the possibility of seeing him at 141 this season?
“I've definitely thought about it. He beat me in a really close match freshman year and I've been waiting for my chance to get that rematch. He's a great wrestler and that's a match I think everyone would be excited to see. Even I'd be excited to see it. We could really give the crowd a show.”
Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State
When: 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: McCasland Field House, Norman
TV: FSOK (Cox 37)/FCS (Cox 271)
Radio: KSPI-FM 93.7