John Smith is excited about the NCAA Wrestling Championships coming to Oklahoma City. Come March, Oklahoma City should be excited about having the NCAAs.
The event is a virtual automatic sellout, so tickets aren’t the issue. But generating a local buzz shouldn’t be a problem, either, with teams like the Cowboys and Sooners have. Wrestling Insider magazine has OSU ranked fourth and OU fifth, behind Minnesota, Penn State and Iowa.
The individual rankings of Amateur Wrestling News are full of Sooners and Cowboys.
OU: Jarrod Patterson, sixth at 125; Cody Brewer, fifth at 133; Kendric Maple, first at 141; Nick Lester, 16th at 157; Andrew Howe, second at 174; Travis Rutt, fifth at 197.
OSU: Ed Klimara, 19th at 125; Jon Morrison, fourth at 133; Julian Feikert, 17th at 141; Josh Kindig, 10th at 149; Alex Dieringer, second at 157; Tyler Caldwell, second at 165; Chris Perry, first at 174; Blake Rosholt, fourth at 197; Austin Marsden, ninth at heavyweight
That’s five Sooners and five Cowboys ranked as all-American caliber. Should be a fun season.
“That’s great,” said Smith, OSU’s long-time coach. “Four guys ranked one or two in the country.”
Smith said OKC should get in the rotation of hosting the NCAAs every four years. He said the event was well-received in 2006, the last time it was held downtown. “People loved it,” Smith said. “You could eat right downtown, walk over between sessions. It was a good image on Oklahoma City.”
During OSU Media Day on Monday, here was Smith’s take on the season: “I feel like we have a stronger team, yet we’ve come out ranked fifth or sixth in some of the preseason rankings. It just tells us that there are some teams that have stepped up. One of those is Oklahoma. They’re going to be a great team this year, and we’re going to have a couple of great dual meets. On paper, it doesn’t look good for us, but we’re going to try to change that. Looking at my team, I’m excited. In the past, when I’ve had teams like this, we’ve been ranked No. 1 or 2 in the country. It looks like it’s going to be a very competitive year. It’s going to be about developing some new faces who haven’t done a lot up to this point.
“At 125 pounds, we had a true freshman (Ed Klimara) starting last year. He had a pretty good finish to the year, but didn’t look too solid during the season. He seemed to grow a little bit toward the end. He was competitive at the national tournament, going 3-2. We have some guys ranked No. 15 and above, and if you’re ranked No. 15, you’re not going to be in the picture. That’s the area that we’re going to have to improve on. At 149 pounds, Josh Kindig is coming back from taking a redshirt year. He should help us out this year. At 184 pounds, we have two redshirt freshmen trying for that spot. Kyle Crutchmer is an Oklahoma kid from Union High School, and then we have Jordan Rogers from Spokane, Wash. Both have a lot of potential, but that has to be developed in order for us to do something in the end.”