Bedlam Wrestling: Cowboy Seniors Go OUt Right

A bad trend developed the past two Bedlam wrestling duals as Oklahoma had won two duals in a row. The Cowboys sent the Sooners back to Norman on Sunday the way they normally do after a Bedlam dual in Stillwater, as 27-6 losers thanks in part to a gutty performance by an injury-riddled OSU sophomore and two OSU seniors wrestling the way they'd like to be remembered in their final edition of Bedlam.

The highlight match judging from the Gallagher-Iba Arena crowd reaction came at 157 pounds. It was a dramatic turnaround as OSU sophomore Neil Erisman, who came out bandaged up with wounds over his eyes that had been bleeding, fell behind 1-0 in a close match after OU opponent Chad Terry gained a second-period escape.

Erisman, who had worn a mask in practice all week to protect the wounds over his eyes, started the third period on the bottom with the goal of gaining an escape. Just seconds into the period Erisman had stood up but as Terry tried using his legs to take Erisman back down to the mat, Erisman had his left knee twisted in an awkward way and it buckled causing the DeSoto, Kan., product to pound the mat and scream in agony.

After the doctors looked him over, Erisman continued and eventually stood up and separated Terry's hands and popped out for the escape just a second before the Sooner would have had the one-minute riding time bonus. Before the escape by Erisman, Terry had been penalized a point by the official for stalling on top. Erisman held Terry off the rest of the way for a very dramatic and heroic 2-1 decision which put Oklahoma State up 15-3.

Following Erisman's display of toughness, the kind that Cowboy wrestling fans appreciate, two seniors that were part of the back end of OSU's four consecutive national championships finished their Bedlam experience in a positive way. It was, after all, Senior Day for both Brandon Mason and Newly McSpadden.

Mason, the native of Shenandoah, Iowa, traded escapes with OU redshirt freshman Ryan Smith and then in sudden victory portion of the overtime Mason got in on Smith's legs and took the Sooner down for a takedown and a 3-1 win. The decision put the Cowboys up an overwhelming 18-3.

McSpadden also trade escapes with his Oklahoma opponent Jeff James, who came in higher rated as the eighth best at the weight. McSpadden just moved to 174 pounds a few weeks ago from 157. The move allowed McSpadden to go from weight watching to eating three meals a day and he also got down in the weight room with strength coach Gary Calcagno to push up his strength level. It all came into play for McSpadden against the bigger James.

After a scoreless sudden victory overtime period, McSpadden escaped eight seconds into the first 30-second tiebreaker period. He still had to go on top, giving James an opportunity to score and escape but he could not. McSpadden rode out the 30 seconds on top of James and clinched the 2-1 OT TB1 victory and the Cowboys led 21-3 in the dual score.

It was great to see those two seniors finish at home as winners.

"Both in overtime, starting with Newly, he was kind of chipping away at it and found a way to win," said head coach John Smith commenting on the back-to-back overtime wins by his seniors. "He's gone up two weights and he probably feels the power of those guys. He is kind of our poster boy for us fighting hard, and even though he may not be as powerful, he finds a way to win."

After OSU 184-pounder Cody Hill battled gamely against favored OU wrestler Pat Flynn to lose a 5-3 decision the dual win was clinched with two matches still to go at 21-6.

Two favored Cowboys closed out the dual with matches that were closer than expected.

Smith was hoping for bonus points at 197 pounds and heavyweight, but settled for a 7-5 win at 197 by Clayton Foster over Eric Lapotsky and then Jared Rosholt put Nathan Fernandez on one shoulder for back points in the final seconds and gained a 9-4 decision. That made the final dual score 27-6 for Oklahoma State.

The Cowboys had now won the last 13 duals held in Gallagher-Iba Arena, reversed a short recent OU trend in Bedlam and finished the 2008-09 dual season with a 15-7 record heading to the postseason.

"I knew that there was the capability of it. I knew there were tight matches and you didn't know how those matches would go, but we won those today," said Smith afterwards when asked if he was surprised at the margin. "I thought we could open it up a little more. That was an important win because this group had lost two in a row to Oklahoma. When we needed to score we scored."

The match opened with a forfeit at 125 pounds as OU head coach Jack Spates said he was not going to wrestle 8th-ranked OU 125-pounder Joey Fio for disciplinary reasons. Cowboys senior Obienson Blanc accepted the forfeit.

Oklahoma State then rattled off two straight close fought wins with 14th-ranked Chris Notte scoring a 3-2 decision over David Armstrong and then Jamal Parks won a 2-1 overtime TB 1 decision over his former Tulsa Union teammate Seth Vernon at 141 pounds. Oklahoma gained its first victory in the dual where they were heavily favored at 149 pounds as 6th-rated Kyle Perry scored a 9-2 decision over the Cowboys Luke Silver.

"The big thing was wining close matches," added John Smith. "That is an area we had struggled in. We struggled in that down in Norman. If you are in a close match then get your hand raised. We did that today."

It is especially impressive when you get your hand raised in a close match where you can barely walk off the mat afterwards. Erisman is just a sophomore and this team and future Cowboys teams with some very talented wrestlers coming in with the star studded 2009 recruiting class will benefit from having Erisman as a teammate with the grit and determination he displays. It is wrestlers with the attitude like Erisman that have allowed Oklahoma State to thoroughly dominate this series.

Bedlam Match Recap
(Weight, OSU wrestler, OU wrestler, match score, dual score)
125 - Obenson Blanc (25-7) wins by forfeit; OSU leads 6-0
133 - #14 Chris Notte (26-6) defeats David Armstrong (12-9), 3-2 dec., OSU leads 9-0
141 - #14 Jamal Parks (25-7) defeats Seth Vernon (15-8), 2-1 dec. OT-TB1, OSU leads 12-0
149 - Luke Silver (17-13) loses #6 Kyle Terry (25-1), 9-2 dec., OSU leads 12-3
157 - #10 Neil Erisman (29-8) defeats Chad Terry (17-5), 2-1 dec., OSU leads 15-3
165 - #9 Brandon Mason (25-7) defeats Ryan Smith (15-9), 3-1 dec. OT-SV, OSU leads 18-3
174 - #14 Newly McSpadden (17-6) defeats #8 Jeff James (21-4), 2-1 dec. OT-TB1, OSU leads 21-3
184 - Cody Hill (15-12) loses #19 Pat Flynn (23-5), 5-3 dec., OSU leads 21-6
197 - #8 Clayton Foster (26-3) defeats #11 Eric Lapotsky (22-6), 7-5 dec., OSU leads 24-6
285 - #3 Jared Rosholt (29-2) defeats #16 Nathan Fernandez (20-8), 9-4 dec., OSU wins 27-6

GoPokes Top Stories