A disappointing session Friday morning most likely squashed any chance of Oklahoma posting a top-five finish at the NCAA Wrestling Championships, but the Sooners are in position for their best finish under coach Mark Cody.
Bolstered by three entries earning All-America honors Friday night, OU is in ninth place heading into Saturday’s two sessions at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Andrew Howe, the No. 2 seed at 174 pounds, will meet Oklahoma State’s Chris Perry in the finals Saturday night. Howe, who three years ago won a national title at Wisconsin, defeated Minnesota’s Logan Storley 6-3 in the semifinals.
Three Sooners earned All-American honors — Kendric Maple (149 pounds), 133-pounder Cody Brewer and Howe.
Brewer, the No. 13 seed who pinned OSU’s Jonathon Morrison in the second round, lost in the quarterfinals Friday morning but rebounded with a 13-2 win over Michigan’s Rosario Bruno.
Ross Larson, a redshirt freshman from Ankeny, Iowa, was unseeded but went 2-2 at nationals, including a win Friday morning over No. 14 seed Jonathan Gingrich of Penn State.
Maple, who won the 141-pound national title last year, lost 2-1 in a tiebreaker in the quarterfinals to Northwestern’s Jason Tsirtsis. Maple, though, became OU’s 25th three-time All-American with a 7-4 win over Clarion’s Justin Arthur but failed to protect a 4-1 third-period lead and lost his second match Friday night 5-4 to Michigan’s Eric Grajales.
Jarrod Patterson, the No. 6 seed at 125 pounds, lost 6-0 in the quarterfinals Friday morning, falling one win shy of All-America honors Friday night with a 6-5 loss to No. 16 seed Joey Dance of Virginia Tech.
Four OU entries didn’t make it to evening session. In addition to Larson, unseeded 141-pounder Nick Lester lost to Michigan’s Stephen Dutton III Friday morning; Justin DeAngelis lost to Zach Brunson of Illinois; and Travis Rutt, the No. 7 seed at 197 pounds, forfeited his Friday match after suffering a concussion Thursday night.
The Sooners should improve on their 12th and 13th place finishes their first two years under Cody. “We need to try to score some more points with the three guys we have left because we’re trying to improve every year. We’re trying to keep climbing as we build the program.” — Cody said.
In addition to Howe facing Bedlam rival Chris Perry in the 174-pound title match Saturday night, Maple will wrestle Penn State’s James English for seventh. Brewer faces Central Michigan’s Joe Roth for seventh.
BY MIKE BALDWIN