Pendleton Gets Revenge as Cowboys Sweep Bedlam

STILLWATER -- Chris Pendleton admits that he had been waiting and that there was some extra emotion in his match up with Oklahoma's E.K. Waldhaus. The opportunity for revenge for Pendleton was one of the side stories in the 152nd edition of Bedlam wrestling as the Cowboys closed out their dual season with an 18-13 win in front of a crowd of 8,697 inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Pendleton, the defending national champion at 174 pounds, lost his only match of the season when he let Waldhaus out-hustle him for an 11-10 decision in the first Bedlam meeting in Norman.

"There was a lot of emotion, I'm not going to lie," said Pendleton. "Anytime I've lost to anybody in college I've prided myself on coming back and getting a victory. I've never lost to somebody back to back. It was senior night and my emotions were running high, and a guy from Channel 4 news called me out Friday night for my loss in the last meeting."

Before Pendleton could satisfy his thirst for revenge against his Sooner rival, the Cowboys had to try and keep Oklahoma from forging a big lead in the lower weights as they did in that first meeting in Norman. Major decisions by 197-pounder Jake Rosholt and heavyweight Steve Mocco saved the day in the 21-16 win for the Cowboys.

Among the subplots in Sunday's dual were how the Cowboys could fare with two starters -- Clay Kehrer at 184 and Rosholt at 197 -- out of the lineup. Oklahoma State was trying to finish an unbeaten dual season, Johny Hendricks is still working his way back from an injury at 165 pounds, Pendleton and 141-pounder Ronnie Delk were celebrating Senior Day along with non-starters Clark Shouse, Brett Munson and Mike Christian, and freshmen Coleman Scott and Nathan Morgan were making their first appearance in a Bedlam dual.

It was the two freshmen pulled out of redshirt at mid-semester that opened it up for the Cowboys. Coleman Scott had worked hard for his shot Sam Hazewinkle, the Sooners' undefeated and top-ranked 125-pounder. Hazewinkel scored two first-period takedowns and rode Scott for the entire second period en route to a 6-2 decision. Scott fell to 23-7 on the season while Hazewinkel remained perfect at 32-0.

Fellow freshman Nathan Morgan at 133 pounds didn't have it as tough against Oklahoma's Joe Comparin coming off an ankle sprain. Morgan used a fireman's carry for the first takedown and led 4-2 after the first period. He went over the top of Comparin in the third period to polish off a solid 8-4 decision. Morgan is ranked 10th at the weight and has a 28-4 record, while Comparin slipped to 12-12.

The Sooners again took the team lead after the 141-pound match as No. 2-ranked Teyon Ware shook off an early takedown by O-State senior Ronnie Delk. Ware prevailed 7-3 and moved his record to 28-2. Delk, who is competing with teammate Daniel Frishkorn for the right to wrestle in the postseason, is now 13-8.

Top-ranked Zack Esposito may have been the most dominant of the Cowboy wrestlers as he took the lead early at 149 pounds over fourth-ranked Matt Storniolo of OU. Esposito used a foot sweep for a first period takedown and then reversed Storniolo twice in the second period on his way to an 11-6 decision. Esposito is now 28-1 and Storniolo dropped to 29-3.

At 157 pounds the Cowboys' Kevin Ward used an ankle pick on Charles Jones' right leg in the final period to close out the scoring and secure a 6-2 decision that put Oklahoma State up for good at 9-6 in the team score. Ward is 17-9 on the season and Jones is 12-11.

In just his fourth match back after a couple of injuries suffered earlier this season in the National Duals Championship, OSU 165-pounder Johny Hendricks wrestled a sloppy match that had head coach John Smith rolling his eyes in the corner. Hendricks worked his way around Wes Roberts in the first period for a takedown and then spun around to catch Roberts' head and ankle for a second period reverse. Smith wanted bonus points of any kind, but Hendricks seemed to be wasting opportunities looking for a big move. The fourth-ranked Hendricks is now 20-4 after the 4-0 decision, while Roberts falls to 6-2 on the season.

At 174 pounds, Pendleton's revenge started with a single leg move for a takedown on Waldhaus in the first period. After breaking free for an escape to start the second period Pendleton used another single leg move for a takedown to go ahead 5-1. After the takedown Pendleton rode Waldhaus to the end of the period. In the final period Pendleton had bonus points on his mind but a takedown sandwiched in between escapes by Waldhaus only resulted in a solid 8-3 decision. Pendleton wanted more but couldn't come up with the moves to create more points.

"I think it (opportunities) presented itself, and maybe the next match it's not there," said OSU head coach John Smith, who is now 220-25-3 in his coaching career at OSU. "I thought there was a good opportunity to pick up bonus points. The match could be totally different next time. It could be tougher. That match presented itself and it didn't look like we pushed through to get those points. You're going to have to create that, nobody is going to give that to you. It was a good match by him. The guy beat him last time, embarrassed him. There is no doubt that it was a solid victory."

"E.K. has got to be one of the strongest 174-pounders in the nation, and he can stop a lot of moves that others can't," explained Pendleton.

Oklahoma coach Jack Spates said he had been hoping that Waldhaus could duplicate his upset from the December meeting, but gave credit to Pendleton.

"Pendleton is a great wrestler," said Spates. "You have to really sacrifice in order to have a chance to beat him, and E.K. wasn't willing to sacrifice that much today. You don't just go out and beat Chris Pendleton. You have to have a superior effort."

Pendleton went out hearing a superior salute from the crowd. With one second left in the match the two wrestlers went off the mat and had to come back for a restart to finish. During that time the OSU crowd was in the midst of giving Pendleton, who has been the face of Cowboys wrestling as much as any other competitor during back-to-back national championships, a standing ovation in his final home performance.

"I could hear everybody stand up and start cheering," said the fifth-year senior. "That was great and these people have been great to me while I've been here. It's going to be hard to leave here. I've really enjoyed my time here. I had a lump in my throat but I wasn't going to break down and cry on the mat. Besides, I have a lot of goals left to achieve before this is over."

Pendleton finished the regular season as the top-ranked 174 pound wrestler in the NCAA with a 29-1 record. Waldhaus is ranked eighth and is 25-7. Rest assured to the two will meet again.

Jake Jensen replaced the injured Clay Kehrer at 184 pounds and suffered the only bonus points loss of the day as Oklahoma sophomore Justin Dyer won a 9-1 major decision to close the team score to 15-10 in favor of the Cowboys. It would get closer.

At 197 pounds Rusty Blackmon filled in for the injured and second-ranked Jake Rosholt. Oklahoma's 18th-ranked Joel Flaggert used a first period takedown for all the points he would need as he won a 3-1 decision. Now the team score was 15-13 in favor of the Cowboys, but that's where the security blanket of top-ranked heavyweight Steve Mocco comes into play.

"It allows you to hold guys like Rosholt and Clay Kehrer out," said Smith of knowing that Mocco was going to close it out. "It allows you to juggle your lineup and protect guys if you need to."

Mocco had several opportunities to pin OU heavyweight reserve Joel Tapler, but Tapler fought and scrambled and avoided being put on his back. He did not avoid a physical beating as Mocco was the aggressor all the way in a 10-3 decision. Mocco remains perfect this season at 30-0, while Tapler losses for the first time in his brief experience dropping to 3-1.

The Cowboys finish a perfect dual season at 21-0 with wins over the second-, third-, fourth-, sixth-, seventh-, eighth-, 10th-, 12th-, 14th-, 15th-, 16th-, and 19th-ranked teams in the nation. The 18-13 win over Oklahoma is the Cowboys' 14th win in a row over the Sooners. They are unbeaten in the last 22 meetings with OU and lead the overall bedlam series 119-24-9. OSU now prepares for the Big 12 Championships on March 5 in Omaha, Neb.

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