FROM OKLAHOMA STATE ATHLETICS
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Oklahoma State wrestling team’s eight All-Americans competed in the NCAA Championships medal rounds on Saturday morning at the Scottrade Center. Overall, the Cowboys accumulated two fourth-place finishers, two fifth-place finishers, two six-place finishers and a seventh-place finisher, while junior Dean Heil will wrestle for his second national title Saturday night at 7 p.m.
The Cowboys sit third in the team standings with 99 points heading into the final session of the tournament. Penn State locked up the team title midway through the fifth session, and currently holds 122 points.
“It’s been a good tournament for us,” coach John Smith said. “We knew coming in that it was going to take a lot of numbers on our part and we had eight All-Americans. Obviously, that’s hard to do, and we’re the only team here to do that. It’s important that we bring home a trophy. In the earlier rounds, we didn’t look good. But in the end, after last night and some wins today, it was a good year and we can cap it with an individual national champion.”
After Anthony Collica and Austin Schafer finished their Cowboy wrestling careers on Friday, OSU bid farewell to two more senior starters in Kyle Crutchmer and Nolan Boyd.
The only wrestler in the tournament to lose his first match and still become an All-American, Crutchmer got revenge for his first loss of the weekend in a 9-4 decision over SIU-Edwardsville’s Jake Residori in the 174-pound seventh-place match. Despite suffering a handful of injuries throughout his career, including one that ended his junior campaign, Crutchmer didn’t let it stop him from making his mark on the Cowboy wrestling program during his five-year career. Crutchmer racked up two All-America accolades and an 80-25 overall record during his time in Stillwater, and served as a vocal leader in the wrestling room.
“Losing early on and coming back to wrestle the guy that beat him in the first round in a solid seven-point victory,” Smith said. “Those are paybacks and give you a good feeling when you walk off the mat as a senior.”
“It’s been a long tournament,” Crutchmer said. “I’m not happy with it, obviously. Your goal is to win a national title, and my goal fell short in the first round. I have a lot of pride in me. I have a little brother who was watching me, and I just wanted to show him that sometimes things don’t go your way, but that doesn’t mean you give up. I just did everything I could to come back and beat the kid that beat me in the first round to end my career with a win.”
Nolan Boyd finished sixth at 184 pounds in his final appearance at the NCAA Championships to earn All-American status for the second time in his career. Boyd came up short, 15-8, to No. 7 TJ Dudley of Nebraska in the consolation semifinals before dropping a 10-6 decision to Ohio State’s No. 6 Myles Martin in the fifth-place match. Coming to Oklahoma State as a walk-on, Nolan Boyd shattered the expectations placed on him as a freshman, tying himself as the 27th-winningest wrestler in program history with 111 wins over the course of his career in Stillwater.
“I’ve said it all along, he’s an overachiever and always has been,” Smith said. “He found a way early in his career to make our team. No one really saw that and it gives you an idea of what kind of guy Nolan Boyd is. He’s been important to our team, and he’s motivated us on several occasions. He’s a great spiritual guy, and it makes a difference with a lot of guys on our team.”
Redshirt freshmen Nick Piccininni and Kaid Brock turned in fourth and fifth-place finishes, respectively. The duo combined to become the first pair of Cowboy freshmen to notch fifth-place-or-better finishes in the same year since 2001. It’s the ninth time in school history that two freshmen Pokes reached fifth or better in the national tournament.
After advancing to the 125-pound third-place match by way of medical forfeit in the consolation semifinals, Piccininni was faced with a tough test against top-seeded Thomas Gilman of Iowa in a rematch of his quarterfinal bout. Gilman would come out on top again, dropping Piccininni in a 13-6 decision. Piccininni’s fourth-place finish wraps up an impressive season that saw the redshirt freshman go 27-8 overall on the way to becoming the program’s 35th freshman to reach All-America status.
The 36th freshman in school history to become an All-American, Kaid Brock wrapped his season at 28-5 overall to go along with two falls, one technical fall and a team-leading nine major decisions on his way to finishing fifth overall at 133. Brock came up short in his consolation semifinal match to No. 5 Stevan Micic of Michigan to put him in the fifth-place match, where he landed a 5-3 decision over No. 7 Eric Montoya of Nebraska.
Now a two-time All-American, Joe Smith advanced to the third-place match with an impressive 10-0 shutout major decision over No. 7 Dylan Palacio of Cornell in the consolation semifinals. Tied, 1-1, at the end of regulation with No. 2 Michael Kemerer of Iowa, Smith was dropped for a takedown and back points in the first sudden victory period to finish fourth at 157. Smith made the most of a season that brought more than his fair share of adversity, powering through injuries to post a 16-6 overall record and his second Big 12 title in as many attempts.
Outperforming his No. 9 seed to earn his first All-America honor, redshirt sophomore Chandler Rogers finished his run at the NCAA Championships in fifth place at 165 pounds. Rogers dropped a 10-4 decision to No. 2 Logan Massa of Michigan in the consolation semifinals, but bounced back in the fifth-place match, where he picked up a 9-6 win over Missouri’s No. 6 Daniel Lewis. With the two foes having split two prior meetings earlier this season, the match lived up to expectations with the two wrestlers trading takedowns to tie the match at six with less than a minute left. Rogers would strike the final blow in the final 30-plus seconds to seal the win and put the wraps on a campaign that saw him rack up a 25-8 record with 11 falls to lead all starters, including a pair this weekend.
Preston Weigel finished sixth at 197 pounds after picking up his first All-America honor as well. In the second period of his consolation semifinal against No. 4 Jared Haught of Virginia Tech, Weigel was whistled for his third caution that would prove to be the difference in the 2-1 match. Weigel would come up short again in the fifth-place match, giving up a 9-0 major decision to No. 7 Aaron Studebaker of Nebraska. Weigel winds down a successful redshirt sophomore season in which he tallied a 22-7 record and streaked through the Big 12 Championships with a pair of top-10 wins to claim his second conference title.
With just one session remaining at the NCAA Championships, OSU 141-pounder Dean Heil will try to defend his national title tonight at 7 p.m. Fans can watch Heil live on ESPN or ESPN3.com as he takes on No. 6 George DiCamillo of Virginia.
2017 NCAA Wrestling Championships | St. Louis, Missouri | Scottrade Center | Session Five
125: No. 8 Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State) M. For. No. 10 Jack Mueller (Virginia) M. For.
133: No. 5 Stevan Micic (Michigan) dec. No. 3 Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State) 10-4
157: No. 5 Joe Smith (Oklahoma State) MD No. 7 Dylan Palacio (Cornell) 10-0
165: No. 2 Logan Massa (Michigan) dec. No. 9 Chandler Rogers (Oklahoma State) 10-4
184: No. 7 TJ Dudley (Nebraska) dec. No. 4 Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma State) 15-8
197: No. 4 Jared Haught (Virginia Tech) dec. No. 6 Preston Weigel (Oklahoma State) 2-1
125: No. 1 Thomas Gilman (Iowa) dec. No. 8 Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State) 13-6
157: No. 2 Michael Kemerer (Iowa) dec. No. 5 Joe Smith (Oklahoma State) 7-1 SV1
133: No. 3 Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 7 Eric Montoya (Nebraska) 5-3
165: No. 9 Chandler Rogers (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 6 Daniel Lewis (Missouri) 9-6
184: No. 6 Myles Martin (Ohio State) dec. No. 4 Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma State) 10-6
197: No. 7 Aaron Studebaker (Nebraska) MD No. 6 Preston Weigel (Oklahoma State) 9-0
174: No. 7 Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State) dec. Jake Residori (SIUE) 9-4
Championship Finals Schedule (Saturday Night)
141: No. 1 Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 6 George DiCamillo (Virginia)