The Oklahoma State wrestling team will have three No. 1 seeds as they try to win their sixth straight Big 12 team championship Sunday at BOK Center in Tulsa.
Northern Iowa, who joined the conference this season, also has three No. 1 seeds. The seeds, as voted by Big 12 coaches, will compete this weekend for 45 automatic qualifying bids to the NCAA championships, as well as the Big 12 championship team title.
Redshirt sophomore Nick Piccininni and redshirt juniors Preston Weigel and Derek White earned top seeds at their respective weights. Three other Cowboy wrestlers boast No. 2 seeds in redshirt senior Dean Heil, redshirt sophomore Boo Lewallen and redshirt junior Chandler Rogers. All 10 Cowboys were selected as top-four seeds.
Top of the class
Piccininni, who went 18-3 and 8-0 in the Big 12 will defend his conference title as a No. 1 seed at 125 pounds. He will wrestle the winner of Wyoming’s Drake Foster and Iowa State’s Sinjin Briggs in the quarterfinals.
Weigel (8-1, 5-0), a two-time defending Big 12 champion at 197, will open the tournament in the quarterfinals against the winner of Air Force’s Anthony McLaughlin and Oklahoma’s Andrew Dixon.
Heavyweight Derek White enters his first Big 12 championships with a 20-2, 9-0 record. He’ll face either Wyoming’s Sam Eagan or Air Force’s Matt Wagner in the quarterfinals to open his tournament run.
No. 2 seeds
Heil (21-4, 6-2), a three-time defending Big 12 champion, will be the No. 2 seed at 141. The two-time NCAA champion will face the winner of West Virginia’s Christian Monserrat and Oklahoma’s Mike Longo in the quarterfinals. Wyoming’s Bryce Meredith, who snapped Heil’s 55-match win streak in December with a 2-1 victory in sudden victory, will be the No. 1 seed.
Lewallen (23-5, 7-1) takes the No. 2 seed at 149 behind Northern Iowa’s top-seeded Max Thomsen. Lewallen will meet the winner of North Dakota State’s Kyle Gliva and Utah Valley’s Matthew Ontiveros in the quarterfinals.
Rogers (17-3, 7-1) will look for some redemption after back-to-back runner-up appearances at 165 at Big 12s. He opens his tournament run against the winner of Air Force’s Alex Lopouchanski and Northern Iowa’s Isaiah Patton. Wyoming’s Branson Ashworth is the No. 1 seed.
All the rest
Redshirt sophomore Kaid Brock (23-2, 7-1) is the No. 3 seed at 133, while redshirt juniors Jonce Blaylock (14-9, 4-3) at 157 and Jacobe Smith (15-4, 4-0) at 174 and redshirt freshman Keegan Moore (15-7, 5-2) at 184 are No. 4 seeds.
Brock will face the winer of North Dakota State’s Cam Sykora and Iowa State’s Markus Simmons in the quarterfinals. South Dakota State’s Seth Gross and Wyoming’s Montorie Bridges are the top two seeds at 133.
Blaylock, a Tulsa native from Berryhill, is slated to face Northern Iowa’s Logan Ryan and Utah Valley’s Raider Lefthouse for a spot in the semifinals. Smith will meet the winner of Utah Valley’s Kimball Bastian and Iowa State’s Danny Bush in the quarterfinals, and Moore will face the winner of Wyoming’s Chaz Polson and Oklahoma’s Matt Waddell to open his tournament.