STILLWATER — When West Virginia joined the Big 12, it had visions of conference championships and national recognition for years to come. But on Friday night in Gallagher-Iba Arena, Oklahoma State made its point crystal clear — there's a hierarchy of wrestling in the Big 12, and the Cowboys sit confidently at the top.
No. 2 OSU dominated the Mountaineers 36-3 in the first conference matchup for both programs.
“It's tough, grinding wrestling that we've got to continue to develop,” OSU coach John Smith said. “Not everything is slick and quick; with pretty takedowns … I did see a lot of that tonight.”
The Cowboys (9-0) set the tone early with a pair of unlikely victories.
At 125 pounds, OSU freshman Eddie Kilmara defeated senior Shane Young 3-2, with Kilmara gaining the one-point edge for 1:11 riding time. The freshman-over-senior storyline would seem to be the surprising moment of the night, but that was before Tyler Dorrell took the mat.
Dorrell, a 133-pound OSU junior, was filling in for injured Jon Morrison. Those were large shoes to fill. Morrison is the No. 5-ranked wrestler in his weight class, sporting a 16-3 record. Smith said Morrison was sidelined with a recurring injury and could be back by Sunday.
Dorrell entered the match against West Virginia's Colin Johnston on a five-match losing skid, and then moving from the 125- to 133-pound weight class. But he found his spark Friday.
Tied at 5 with 15 seconds remaining in the third period, Dorrell earned a two-point takedown, sending the Gallagher-Iba crowd into a frenzy. Johnston added a point for riding time, but it wasn't enough to close the gap. Dorrell won the match, 7-6.
“I didn't even know I was wrestling until like Tuesday,” Dorrell said. “I was glad to step in. I needed to show something because I didn't perform like I wanted to at 125 … It was good to actually attack and come back at the end.”
The pairings that followed went mostly as predicted. The Mountaineers (1-4) picked up a victory from No. 13 Nathan Pennesi at 141 pounds, a 6-1 win against OSU's Julian Feikert. But the Cowboys swept the remaining matches, with dominant performances from 149-pound Jordan Oliver (fall at 1:19) and heavyweight Alan Gelogaev (fall at 55 seconds).
Smith was impressed with his team's focus, but OSU faces a quick turnaround. The Cowboys take on No. 17 Pittsburgh at 4 p.m. Sunday at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“(Pittsburgh) is a lot different team,” Smith said. “This is a team that has All-Americans … This is the team they've been waiting on to have. We're going to have to make sure we respect the fact this is a team that could cause us a lot of fits.”