Wrestling: Cowboys Look To Upset Penn State

Oklahoma State and Cowboys wrestling head coach John Smith just keep on climbing. The Cowboys, who lost early duals in the season to Oklahoma and Minnesota and then felt the pain of losses at Iowa and at Pittsburgh in January, are all of a sudden on a roll and moving back up the rankings.

The Cowboys are now seventh after rolling through Iowa State (29-3), Missouri (28-6), Cal-State Bakersfield (37-6) and Oklahoma (29-9) last Sunday.

The challenge gets greater this weekend in Pennsylvania as they will wrestle Clarion (9-12) on Saturday and then face second-ranked Penn State (13-1) on Sunday at 1 p.m. (CT).

"Penn State is tough and they are a tough dual meet team," Smith said before departing for the weekend action. "When you look at it, it looks like maybe a seven and three or a six and four meeting with them winning seven or six according to rankings and we are winning three or four. But we're wrestling better and another tough dual meet for us is nothing new."

The Cowboys hope those four dual wins in a row buoying their record to 8-4. They have four wrestlers ranked in the top 10 at their respective weights and they have eight wrestlers that show up in the rankings overall.

Eddie Klimara at 118 pounds is ranked 19th and is on a six-match winning streak, At 133 pounds, Jon Morrison is ranked fourth and has won four in a row matching the team win streak. At 141, freshman Anthony Collica is also on a four-match win streak.

Alex Dieringer, ranked second at 157 pounds, is on a six-match streak, Tyler Caldwell is the fifth-ranked wrestler at 165 and is on a six-match streak. At 174, defending NCAA individual champion Chris Perry is ranked second and has won 15 matches in a row.

Smith said the scheduling of tough duals was part of the plan as he wanted his team to deal with adversity throughout the season and be ready for intense battles come postseason.

"We've been in them and we have kind of calloused over and knocked off some of the pity parties that we were having individually and hopefully we go in there and pull off the upset," Smith said of the Penn State dual on Sunday. "I wouldn't be surprised if we did."

It won't be easy because as he said Penn State should be favored in six matches and there is the question of bonus points.

"Now we are going to have to get bonus points and those will be critical," added the Cowboys head coach. "Also, 184 (OSU has used three different wrestlers there in recent duals) will be a key weight for us.

"There are going to be two freshmen wrestling at 141 and they have the top-ranked guy in the country, who we tried to get and came in second in getting him. We believe in Collica right now and he is tough, he's disciplined, and he has a great, great attitude right now. He hit a time in January when it was wearing on him but he got past it and he is a spirited kid.

"We've got to go in there and win six matches," emphasized Smith. "That means we have to upset some people, but we can do that."

GoPokes Top Stories