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Oklahoma State’s Nick Piccininni upsets Lehigh’s Darian Cruz at 2017 NWCA All-Star Classic

The 2017 NCAA All-American was named an Outstanding Wrestler for defeating the defending 125-pound national champion.

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma State’s Nick Piccininni defeated defending national champion Darian Cruz of Lehigh, 8-5, on Sunday at the 52nd NWCA All-Star Classic at Jadwin Gymnasium at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey.

Piccininni, a 2017 NCAA All-American, was also named the male Outstanding Wrestler for the dual. The NWCA All-Star Classic is an exhibition dual that matches up two of the best wrestlers from around the nation.

The redshirt sophomore escaped in the first period after Cruz grabbed a takedown. In the second period, Piccininni stopped a cradle attempt by Cruz and scored a two-point reversal and four back points to turn the match in his favor. In the final frame, Cruz recorded a reversal after starting the period on bottom; however, Piccininni escaped for the final margin.

Big 12 action

The Big 12 Conference went 3-2 during the NWCA All-Star Classic. Along with Piccinini, South Dakota State’s Seth Gross (133) and Northern Iowa’s Max Thomsen (149) also won while Wyoming’s Bryce Meredith (141) and Northern Iowa’s Drew Foster (184) came up on the losing end. It’s the first season for Northern Iowa as a Big 12 affiliate member after competing in the Mid-American Conference for the past five seasons.

Another NCAA champ falls

Cruz was not the only 2017 NCAA champion to lose Sunday. In the final match of the night there was a reversal of the 174-pound NCAA final. Arizona State’s Zahid Valencia scored a takedown with 20 seconds left to secure a win over Penn State’s Mark Hall.

Up next

The Cowboys open up the 2017-18 season Saturday when they visit Albany, New York, to compete in the Journeymen Duals and Journeymen Collegiate Classic, beginning with a dual against North Carolina.

NWCA All-Star Classic results

125: Nick Piccininni, So. (Oklahoma State) dec. Darian Cruz, Sr. (Lehigh), 8-5
133: Seth Gross, Jr. (South Dakota State) dec. Stevan Micic, So. (Michigan), 7-1
141: Kevin Jack, Sr. (NC State) dec. Bryce Meredith, Sr. (Wyoming), 8-7
149: Max Thomsen, So. (Northern Iowa) dec. Matt Kolodzik, So. (Princeton), 4-3
157: B.J. Clagon, Sr. (Rider) dec. Alec Pantaleo, Jr. (Michigan), 10-4
165: Chad Walsh, Sr. (Rider) dec. Jonathan Schleifer, Sr. (Princeton), 4-3
174: Zahid Valencia, So. (Arizona State) dec. Mark Hall, So. (Penn State), 3-2
184: Pete Renda, Sr. (NC State) dec. Drew Foster, Jr. (Northern Iowa), 4-2
197: Michael Macchiavello, Sr. (NC State) dec. Frank Mattiace, Sr. (Penn), 3-2
285: Nick Nevills, So. (Penn State) dec. Tanner Hall, Jr. (Arizona State), 2-0