Foster, Oliver Will Go For Perfection

With Oklahoma State in fourth and seemingly out of the team title race there is some solace for Cowboy fans as two OSU wrestlers are still in the running for perfection. Senior Clayton Foster and sophomore Jordan Oliver, from nearby Easton, Pa., both won their semifinal matches to stay unbeaten and earn the opportunity to wrestle for individual NCAA national championships Saturday night.

It was Foster that had the more dramatic run in the semifinals on Friday night at the Wells Fargo Arena in downtown Philadelphia, Pa.

Foster was trailing Wisconsin's Trevor Brandvold and Brandvold was doing his best to stall, leading 4-3 and seeing Foster take shot after shot. The official was stubborn about rewarding the effort to score before Foster made it crystal clear with a double leg that he followed through on with 28 seconds left in the match.

The momentum of Foster's advance coupled with the fact Brandvold was backing up toward the edge of the match carried the two wrestlers off the mat with 26 seconds left. Foster had to ride out the match with Brandvold all of a sudden looking to be active again and the Idaho native was able to do that for the 4-2 decision.

Foster, 26-0 on the season, will meet Kent State's fourth seeded Dustin Kilgore in Saturday night's championship. Kilgore, 37-2 on the season, upset top seed Cam Simaz of Cornell in the other semifinal. Kilgore's only losses this season came in decisions, 6-4 to Micah Burak of Penn and 9-4 to Cayle Byers of George Mason. Kilgore scored a decisive takedown over Simaz right after he was warned for stalling as Kilgore won a wild 10-9 decision.

Oliver has to be considered a strong possibility for outstanding wrestler in this NCAA Championships. After winning his first two matches with first-period falls, Oliver has added a a pair of major decisions and Friday night scored a comfortable, if not dominant, 5-2 decision over fourth-seed Tyler Graff of Wisconsin.

Oliver, who is now 28-0, will face rival Andrew Hochstrasser of Boise State in Saturday night's title match. Hochstrasser is the second seed and he won a 6-4 decision over third seed Andrew Long of team leader Penn State in the semifinal opposite Oliver.

The two wrestlers at 133 pounds have met twice this season. Oliver scored a win in the NWCA All-Star match last November, but that was exhibition and did not count. Oliver's 5-2 decision in Stillwater over Hochstrasser did count and it is the Boise wrestler's only loss to date as he is 27-1.

The only other good news for OSU on Friday night was Jamal Parks at 149 pounds, who after losing in the quarterfinals came back and scored a 8-6 sudden victory decision over Ivan Lapouchanski of North Carolina-Greensboro. That win guarantees Parks All American status. He will be just one of three Cowboys to earn All-America honors.

The gas ran out for the other three Cowboys in the consolations as 157-pounder Neil Erisman lost a 5-2 decision to Bryce Saddoris of Navy, Chris Perry, another quarterfinal loser in the championship bracket, lost to Kevin Steinhaus of Minnesota 7-1, and at 174 pounds Mike Benefiel lost an 8-5 decision to Ben Bennett of Central Michigan.

The Cowboys have just three wrestlers left on Saturday. Parks in the consolations and Oliver and Foster wrestling for perfection.

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