Cowboys Crown Five; Win Wrestling Title

ST. LOUIS ( - Oklahoma State concluded the NCAA Wrestling Championships on Saturday at the Savvis Center in St. Louis by crowning five champions and finishing with a school record 153 points. The championships is the 33rd NCAA wrestling title for the Cowboys and their first three-peat since Art Griffith led Oklahoma A&M to three straight titles from 1954-56.

Oklahoma State tied an NCAA record by crowning five individual champions. Iowa did it twice with the last time coming during the 1997 championships.

Michigan finished in second-place with 83 points. The 70-point margin also set a school record for largest winning margin and is the second highest margin of victory in NCAA history.

"This team gave the extra effort in every way," head coach John Smith said. "In every tough, tough situation, we excelled. I can name a number of situations throughout this tournament that made the difference for us putting the points that we put up, putting five guys in the finals and winning five championships.

"We had our very best performance of the season at the Big 12 and NCAA Championships. As a team and as a unit, there is no question that our best effort came at the end."

Zack Esposito was the first wrestler to take the mat for the Cowboys in the finals against Army's second-seeded Phillip Simpson. Esposito recorded the first takedown of the match to take the early lead. Esposito added a reversal early in the third period and won his first national championship with a 5-2 victory over Simpson.

"I knew he was good on top," Esposito said. "I knew when I went underneath I would have to have a spark plug to get out from under him. I am hurting right now, but it is all worth it. It is a great feeling."

Johny Hendricks renewed his rivalry with fourth-seeded Mark Perry of Iowa. Hendricks won the first two meetings in tight matches that were not decided until the final buzzer sounded. This match was similar to the first two matches. Hendricks got a takedown in the first period and rode Perry for the next three minutes after Perry chose down. Hendricks all but sealed the match with a reversal late in the third period, and beat Perry for the third time this year with a 5-2 decision.

"I knew it was going to be exactly what it felt like," Hendricks said after winning his first national title. "To actually win this one, it surpasses all of them. Each time you get up there it feels like the first time."

Chris Pendleton has had a decided edge against Missouri's Ben Askren the last two years. Pendleton has won seven of the eight meetings, and this one was no different than any of the other meetings this season. Pendleton got the first takedown and stayed after Askren throughout the match. Pendleton defended his title with a 10-5 decision over Askren.

Jake Rosholt met Northern Iowa's Sean Stender who was riding high after upsetting Lehigh's Jon Trenge in the semifinals. Stender recorded the first takedown of the match, just like the previous meeting in Cedar Falls. Rosholt quickly turned it around getting an escape and a takedown to take the lead. Stender got a takedown with 30 seconds remaining to tie the match, but Rosholt escaped with 13 seconds left and won OSU's fourth title by beating Stender 5-4.

Steve Mocco and Minnesota's Cole Konrad have been the two best heavyweights all season. Mocco won the previous two matches against Konrad in overtime. This match went into overtime just like the previous two did. Mocco tried a foot sweep early in the sudden victory period and caught Konrad with it to take him down for the title.

The five championships sets a new school record for Oklahoma State. The Cowboys had totaled four titles on six occasions with the last time coming in 1942.

Freshmen Coleman Scott and Daniel Frishkorn both placed in their first national tournament. Scott finished in eighth place at 125 after losing to Minnesota's Bobbe Lowe in the seventh-place match. Frishkorn finished in fourth place after losing to Lehigh's Cory Cooperman in the third-place match.

Consolation Semifinal
141: (7) Daniel Frishkorn (OSU) Inj. Def. (5) Andy Simmons (MSU), 3:00

Championships (seed)
149: (1) Zack Esposito (OSU) Dec. (2) Phillip Simpson (Army), 5-2
165: (3) Johny Hendricks (OSU) Dec. (4) Mark Perry (Iowa), 5-2
174: (1) Chris Pendleton (OSU) Dec. (2) Ben Askren (MU), 10-5
197: (2) Jake Rosholt (OSU) Dec. (5) Sean Stender (UNI), 5-4
285: (1) Steve Mocco (OSU) Dec. (2) Cole Konrad (UMN), 3-1 sv

Third place
141: (3) Cory Cooperman (Lehigh) MD (7) Daniel Frishkorn (OSU), 10-1

Seventh place
125: (8) Bobbe Lowe (UMN) Dec. (9) Coleman Scott (OSU), 7-3

1. Oklahoma State 153.0
2. Michigan 83.0
3. Oklahoma 77.5
4. Cornell 76.5
5. Minnesota 72.5
6. Illinois 70.5
7. Iowa 66.0
8. Lehigh 60.0
9. Indiana 58.5
10. Iowa State 57.0

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