NORMAN — It’s been an up and down season for the Oklahoma State wrestling program, but the Cowboys have gotten hot at the right time.
OSU won its 48th conference championship, and fourth in the past five years, on Saturday at McCasland Field House with six champions and 98.5 team points. Oklahoma was second with 63.5 points.
The Cowboys essentially locked up the team title after the opening round, winning nine of 10 semifinal matches.
“I thought that first round kind of set the pace for us,” said OSU coach John Smith. “This team winning the Big 12 is good. We lost five dual-meet matches this year and some of those were real heartbreakers, but for the most part we stiffened up after that and got better each week. I think our best wrestling is still ahead of us.”
OSU secured eight automatic bids to the NCAA tournament, and could have all 10 starters advance after the at-large bids are announced on Wednesday.
Picking up individual conference titles for OSU were Jon Morrison (133 pounds), Anthony Collica (141 pounds), Alex Dieringer (157 pounds), Tyler Caldwell (165 pounds), Chris Perry (174 pounds), and Austin Marsden (285 pounds).
Fourth-ranked Morrison used three takedowns to defeat OU’s No. 12 Cody Brewer, 8-1, and claim the title at 133 pounds.
“I’m feeling the sharpest I’ve felt all year,” said Morrison, who is now 6-0 in his career against Brewer. “Everything is clicking and I need to just continue going out and doing what I’ve capable of. I’m excited for the opportunity to go compete for a national title.”
Eddie Klimara (125 pounds) and Josh Kindig (149 pounds) both earned NCAA tournament bids with second-place finishes.
“I think this was definitely the most complete team effort we’ve had all year and that’s what you want to see in the postseason,” Morrison said. “We’ve got to continue to improve and be even better in two weeks, but I think we can do that.”
Nolan Boyd (184 punds) and Blake Rosholt (197 pounds) are strong candidates to receive at-large bids, which will be announced on Wednesday. Boyd finished second and Rosholt third on Saturday.
The NCAA Wrestling Championships will be held March 20-22 at Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“I think Nolan Boyd is pretty much in and I think Blake Rosholt, with his last match, gave himself a great opportunity to get in,” Smith said. “I’d be a little bit shocked if we didn’t get all 10 in, but you never know how that’s going to go. Hopefully they’ll look at the competition we’ve wrestled this season and reward us for that.”