“It's definitely put some fire under us,” Oliver said.
Smith has been impressed with Oliver's leadership this season, including his ability to wrestle through minor injuries that have worn on him. More than anything, Oliver (25-0) has owned his position on the national wrestling landscape as a top competitor.
“That's good pressure to have,” Oliver said. “It motivates you to always make sure that you're in position, focused and ready for tough matches. Going out there and trying to dominate and win tough duals.”
That type of notoriety is nothing new for Smith or a number of other OSU wrestlers who've passed through Gallagher-Iba Arena's halls. Making the leap to legendary status as a Cowboy comes down to a simple formula.
“You either want to be the man, or you don't,” Smith said. “Once you get there, if you treat it like you're holding on, you'll wrestle like you're holding on … (Oliver) understands what it takes to stay there.”
Live radio coverage of Friday and Saturday night will be carried on 93.7 KSPI-FM, with Saturday afternoon coverage on 780 KSPI-AM. The Big 10 Network will carry the live television broadcast of the finals on Saturday night.