STILLWATER — Two undefeated teams with 13 combined wrestlers ranked in the top-ten and 57 combined national championships came together at Gallagher-Iba Arena, and the dual was just as good as advertised.
No. 2 Oklahoma State hosted No. 4 Iowa on Sunday, and though the Cowboys fell behind early, they eventually clawed their way back in to win an electrifying 18-12 dual over their rival.
“It's fun,” OSU's Chris Perry said. “It's the biggest rivalry in college wrestling, the whole week you're amped up.”
Iowa jumped out to a 9-0 lead after grabbing three victories, fueled by wins from top-ranked Matt McDonough and second-ranked Tony Ramos, but the Cowboys finally got a foothold when No. 1 Jordan Oliver dominated at 149 pounds with a 10-4 victory, trimming the deficit to 9-3.
The Hawkeyes' Derek St. John then grabbed an 8-4 victory over Alex Dieringer, but the Pokes answered quickly with a 3-2 win by Tyler Caldwell. That narrowed the gap to 12-6, priming the Cowboys for the comeback that would ensue.
At that point, OSU's Chris Chionuma came to the mat knowing he had to get a victory.
No. 15 Chionuma faced No. 10 Ethen Lofthouse in the pivotal match. After a scoreless first period and a Chionuma escape in the second, he scored a takedown with just a minute remaining in the third to win 3-2, sending Gallagher-Iba Arena into a frenzy.
“I've never wrestled in front of a crowd like this where so many people are watching you,” Chionuma said. “I came from an NAIA school where we had 200 people in the stands, but to have the stadium packed and everybody watching you, I was really excited. I was nervous, but it was awesome to have. You have to be in that moment to even figure out what's going on.”
Junior Blake Rosholt powered his way to a 3-2 victory to take Oklahoma State's first lead of the day at 15-12, and it was all left to heavyweight Alan Gelogaev, who earned three takedowns in his match to solidify an 18-12 victory for the Cowboys.
Though they got the victory, the team expressed dissatisfaction with their overall performance.
“A win is a win,” Perry said. “But we're looking for more than winning a dual meet. Our goal is to win a championship, and we're going to have to wrestle better than that.”
“We set our goals extremely high for ourselves. You plan in your mind what you're going to do, and things don't go to play. You've got to adjust. But for all of us, we feel like we're better than what we showed.”