Cowboy Wrestling Starts The Big Push

STILLWATER - It was anticlimactic for Oklahoma State wrestling fans as they got up to leave Gallagher-Iba Arena on Sunday afternoon. They were robbed of the usual exclamation point to a Cowboys home dual win when Iowa State head coach Bobby Douglas left heavyweight Richard Schopf on the bench and forfeited the match to OSU's Steve Mocco.

Seeing Mocco flatten an opponent is one of the real treats for the Cowboy wrestling fans, but they still enjoyed the 26-14 win by the second-ranked Cowboys over ninth-rated Iowa State.

Including the forfeit the Cowboys won seven of the 10 matches in the dual with Iowa State's score inflated by a tech fall from top ranked 141-pound Nate Gallick and a fall by Cylcone 184-pounder and 11th-ranked Kurt Backes.

With Daniel Frishkorn still a week away from coming back from an injury, OSU head coach John Smith bumped up 133-pound backup Ethan Kyle, who absorbed a 25-9 thrashing from the talented Gallick. At 184 pounds, the Cowboys' only unsettled spot, Smith went with Jack Jensen who wrestled agressively but was caught in a bad position that helped Backes gain the pin at 1:33 in the first period.

What made the end more frustrating was Smith felt he had sacrificed at least one Cowboy wrestler for the sake of competition and Douglas did not when it came to the heavyweight match while also sitting a healthy starter in David Bertolino at 174 pounds.

"I think the conference ought to look at when you don't show up and wrestle is that a penalty against you?" said Smith. "I thought at one weight class (174) in particular they should have wrestled the match. Neither wrestler has shown that they are All-American potential.

"There's no need to forfeit any matches for goodness sakes. We never forfeited against Cael Sanderson (current Iowa State assistant coach and unbeaten college performer) and there were some serious mismatches I was throwing out there against Cael. He (Douglas) ought to be respectful from where he came from and that is here (at Oklahoma State)."

Afterwards, Iowa State heavyweight Richard Schopf was overheard telling some of the few Cyclone fans on hand that he was ready to go, but that Douglas had told him not today.

As for the Cowboys wins on the afternoon, 125-pound Coleman Scott continued being a great lead-off for the Cowboys as he took control with a takedown and three near fall points in the first period to dominate Iowa State's Ben Hanisch in a 10-0 major decision.

In the first of two battles between ranked wrestlers Cowboy second-ranked 133-pounder Nate Morgan scrambled for a 7-4 decision over 18th-rated Jesse Sundell of Iowa State.

As previously mentioned, top-ranked Nate Gallick was a machine with 11 takedowns and one near fall and riding time accounting for his points in the 25-9 technical fall over Kyle. Gallick used a single leg, double leg, inside trip, deep double, and body throw in mixing up his attack on Kyle.

Third-ranked 149-pounder Zack Esposito was workmanlike in his 15-5 major decision over the Cyclones Aron Scott. The big period for Esposito was the second as he piled up a reversal and a pair of takedowns.

The other matchup of ranked wrestlers came at 157 pounds and 15th-ranked Kevin Ward of the Cowboys had two shots in the final 30 seconds of the match to upset second-ranked Trent Paulson of Iowa State. Ward wrestled well in keeping the match close, but Smith showed his opinion was probably like that of most observers, close doesn't count.

"About the way you felt," Smith said when asked how he liked Ward's effort. "One shot he almost got at the end, that was it. That is how I felt. Not a bad match because he stayed in pretty good position and kept it close. Thatis what you want to do. Got a good shot at the end, but you have to capitalize on those scrambles. He needs to find two or three of those during his matches. It's just a matter of doing it."

At 165 pounds, top-ranked Johny Hendricks got an early scare from the other Paulson brother from Iowa State as Travis Paulson used Hendricks aggressiveness against him in taking a 2-1 lead after the first period, but Hendricks came on to recover for a 7-3 decision that surprisingly pleased Smith.

"It was a match that I really liked," said Smith of the 165-pound match. "It looked like things didn't go very well and a lot of things went against Johny, but in the end against a good opponent he won 7-3. He kept his focus and was determined to get that one point at the end even if he choked himself out and that arm was wrapped pretty good around his throat."

Cowboy redshirt freshman Brandon Mason out of Council Bluffs, Iowa, shut out backup Grant Turner of the Cyclones 4-0. The Cowboys absorbed the pin at 184 pounds and then Jake Rosholt came out and put on a show at 197 pounds.

It could have been more dominating on the scoreboard, but it was brusing on the mat as the second-ranked Rosholt took out frustration on Iowa State freshman Joe Curran. Again, aggressive moves sometimes benefitted Iowa State and Curran, but Rosholt got the message across as he was physical in the 14-7 decision.

Afterwards, Rosholt said this past week in practice in the wrestling room had been the toughest he could remember in his four years at Oklahoma State, making those listening think the big push toward postseason may have kicked off this week in Cowboys practice sessions. Head coach John Smith had another opinion.

"He hasn't seen this week," Smith said to his wrestler's observation of practice. "He has really forgotten about the last four years. I wouldn't say it was our hardest week."

Rosholt many have to re-evaluate as it appears the big push, or really big push, has yet to begin.

Oklahoma State 26 Iowa State 14
125 lbs. Scott (OSU) maj. dec. Hanisch; 10-0
133 lbs. Morgan (OSU) dec. Sundell; 7-4
141 lbs. Gallick (ISU) tech. fall Kyle; 25-9
149 lbs. Esposito (OSU) maj. dec. Scott; 15-5
157 lbs. Trent Paulson (ISU) dec. Ward; 5-3
165 lbs. Hendricks (OSU) dec. Travis Paulson; 7-3
174 lbs. Mason (OSU) dec. Turner; 4-0
184 lbs. Backes (ISU) fall Jensen; 1:33
197 lbs. Rosholt (OSU) dec. Curran; 14-7
285 lbs. Mocco (OSU) wins by forfeit

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