OSU Wrestlers Begin Preparations

STILLWATER (http://www.okstate.com) – The two-time defending national champions began practice last week. The coaching staff understands that if they want to successfully defend their title that it begins now.

The Cowboys could have as many as five new faces in the lineup when they wrestle Boise State and the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga in the season opener at Gallagher-Iba Arena on Nov. 14.

?"Early on our focus is skill,?" head coach John Smith said. "?We very seldom wrestle hard if at all. This is a time of skill and technique. As a coach and a staff we have to understand that what we teach now is what we are going to win with, or what we don?t teach now is what we are going to lose with.?"

The importance of these early practices cannot be underestimated with so many newcomers getting a shot to compete. The only true freshman that may get an opportunity this season is Coleman Scott, but coach Smith is not sure who he will call until all three 125-pounders go head-to-head. Derek Stevens and Derrick Fleenor have both been in the program and will have a lot to say about who starts at this weight.

Daniel Frishkorn and Ethan Kyle will each get an opportunity to compete for the starting nod at the 133-pound weight class.

Ronnie Delk is returning as the starter at 141 pounds, but he will be pushed by redshirt freshman Ryan Davis and is not guaranteed that he will be the starter when the Pokes take the mat in six weeks.

Steve Mocco is an addition to the program and will be the starter at heavyweight. Mocco will have two years to compete as a Cowboy after reaching the NCAA finals his first two years at Iowa, winning a national championship in 2003.

?The reason Mocco is successful is because he trains,? coach Smith said.

"I have never seen a man his size work as hard as he does. He is the hardest working athlete his size in the world.?"

Many freshmen have impressed the coaching staff during the early stages of practices with their training habits. Vinita, Okla., native Newly McSpadden and Taylor Hosick, a native of Billings, Mont., did not receive some of the publicity that some of the other freshmen received, but they have been every bit as impressive.

Coach Smith added that this recruiting class may be one of the most exciting classes that he has had since he has been there. Only time will tell where this class stacks up to some of his previous classes, but the future looks bright with many talented freshmen waiting in the wings.

Oklahoma State is fortunate that it has many wrestlers who are still apart of the program after winning two national championships. Tyrone Lewis and Johnny Thompson have began training in their quest for world and Olympic titles. OSU also have Chris Pendleton, Jake Rosholt and Mocco who have all won before and know what it takes to stay on top.

The Cowboy wrestling program continues to rise, even after winning back-to-back national championships. With the beliefs and the philosophies of the coaching staff trickling down to the wrestlers, it could be several years before the Pokes are knocked off their perch on top of the wrestling world.

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