Cowboys Win Fourth Big 12 Title In A Row

AMES, Iowa – Oklahoma State's wrestling team won its fourth consecutive Big 12 wrestling title at the Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa on Saturday evening. The Cowboys crowned four individual champions out of seven finalists and out distanced second-place Oklahoma by a score of 80-52.5. Nebraska, Iowa State and Missouri rounded out the team scoring. Nathan Morgan, Zack Esposito, Johny Hendricks and Steve Mocco all defended their titles after winning a year ago.

The Cowboys got a pair of nice victories in the early rounds from fifth seeds Ethan Kyle and Rusty Blackmon. Kyle put Chris McCormick on his back for three near-fall points to record a major decision, 9-0. Blackmon recorded a reversal and a two-point near fall with less than 10 seconds left in the match to defeat Justin Dyer, 6-3.

Rusty Blackmon qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the second time in his career with a 6-2 decision over Nebraska's Vince Jones in the third-place match. Ethan Kyle and Brandon Mason both lost in their third-place matches, but Mason will be in contention for one of the eight wild card spots with his No. 8 national ranking.

Coleman Scott was first up for the Cowboys in the finals against Oklahoma's Sam Hazewinkel. Hazewinkel put the pressure on Scott garnering 1:39 of riding time in the second period and getting a quick escape in the third. Scott needed a takedown and with 30 seconds left Scott grabbed a single, but he could not finish the takedown as Hazewinkel reclaimed the Big 12 title at 125.

Nathan Morgan successfully defended his Big 12 title at 133 with a 5-1 decision over Missouri's Tyler McCormick.

Zack Esposito was the next Cowboy to reach the top of the medal stand. Matt Storniolo had a flurry in the first period that saw him get a reversal and three back points to take a 6-4 lead at the end of the first period. It was all Esposito after that as he dominated the final two periods and came away with a 12-8 decision.

Johny Hendricks needed a tiebreaker to defend his title at 165. Missouri's Matt Pell was close to a takedown at the end of regulation, but it was not awarded and the match went into a tiebreaker. Hendricks escaped in six seconds and rode Pell for the entire 30 seconds to earn the victory.

Nebraska's B.J. Padden defeated Jake Rosholt for the third time this year to defend his Big 12 title. Padden rode Rosholt during the second period, and countered Rosholt at the end of regulation for a 4-0 decision.

Steve Mocco got a first period takedown and that was all he needed as he won his second Big 12 title over Jake Hager of Oklahoma, 3-1.

Up next for the Cowboys they will aim for their fourth straight national title at the NCAA Championships to be held at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Okla.

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