OSU's Hendricks captures 2nd title

John Helsley Published: March 19, 2006

Johny Hendricks led an orange flooded section at the Ford Center in the O-S-U chant, forming every letter in a twisting of body and arms.

Then Hendricks seized an Oklahoma State flag and draped it over his shoulders, taking on the role of some Cowboy Superman, which all season and in the end, he was.

Capturing his team's four month journey in a matter of moments, Hendricks rallied to win a second individual national title Saturday night, the signature moment of OSU's 34th overall NCAA wrestling title and fourth in a row.

"I was having fun, even when I was down, Hendricks said. "I looked at the score and said, 'This is the match to win. You're down by three, this is all or nothing.

"And that's exactly how I saw it. I thought, If I win this, I deserved it.'

Hendricks did win, climbing back from a 7-4 third-period deficit to beat Michigan's Ryan Churella 9-8 on an edge-of-the-mat takedown with four seconds left in the 165-pound final.

And he and the Cowboys deserved it, after turning doubts about their title defense into a no doubt title assault that was wrapped up Friday and completed in a runaway.

OSU finished with 122.5 points, well ahead of runner-up Minnesota's 84 and third-place Oklahoma's 80.5, which lost its only final when Teyon Ware fell to Iowa State's Nate Gallick.

Cowboys 197-pounder Jake Rosholt joined Hendricks atop the champion's stand. The only setback to a crowning Saturday night was heavyweight Steve Mocco's loss to Minnesota's Cole Konrad.

"We had to go through it the tough way to win this championship," said OSU coach John Smith. "Thursday, you have to put yourself in that shape. Then Friday morning, we hit 'em hard.

"We made a statement that we're going after this title with what we did with bonus points, and what we did as a team allowed us to create some momentum that I think carried all the way over to tonight."

Hendricks led 4-2 after the first period, but gave up an escape, then got caught for a four-point move when Churella countered a takedown attempt and stuck Hendricks in a cradle for back points in the final seconds of the second period to fall behind 7-4.

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