Oklahoma wrestling: Team captain Kendric Maple encourages teammates to step up

On Sunday, the Sooners wrestle in Corvallis, Ore. in the National Duals Oregon State Regional — arguably the toughest bracket in the nation. The Sooners' first match is Sunday against Virginia Tech.
By Kyle Fredrickson, For The Oklahoman Published: February 16, 2013
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photo - Sooner Kendric Maple escapes from Julian Feikert in the 141pound match in Bedlam wrestling as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) in college NCAA wrestling at McCasland Field House on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, in Norman, Okla.   Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Sooner Kendric Maple escapes from Julian Feikert in the 141pound match in Bedlam wrestling as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) in college NCAA wrestling at McCasland Field House on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

Kendric Maple didn't want to do it. He simply had to.

After three-straight dual losses, the 141-pound Oklahoma wrestler told his teammates what they needed to hear — some tough love from the Sooners' team captain.

Said OU head coach Mark Cody: “Kendric's been calling his teammates out, as far as the guys who aren't doing well. It's something when your coach calls you out. It's another when your team captain does it. He tactfully let them know to step up. Sometimes, that means a little bit more to guys.”

The No. 25 Sooners' recent transgressions — dual losses to Lehigh, Virginia Tech and Missouri — aren't because of Maple's performance. He's been phenomenal this season, maintaining a perfect record (21-0).

“I think with teams, there obviously has to be leaders,” Maple said. “Ideally, I'd rather lead by example and not say anything. But there comes a time when guys aren't performing where they need to be. And I just can't stand losing. It eats at me every time we do, so that just kinds of builds up.”

The Sooners (6-7, 2-1) will need as much leadership as they can handle on Sunday, as they wrestle in Corvallis, Ore. in the National Duals Oregon State Regional — arguably the toughest bracket in the nation. To advance to the NWCA Mat Mayhem final round in Minneapolis, OU will have to go through No. 7 Virginia Tech, No. 9 Oregon State and No. 19 Michigan. The Sooners' first match is Sunday against Virginia Tech.

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