The Oklahoma State wrestling team capture its sixth consecutive Big 12 title behind four individual champions Sunday at Big 12 Championships at BOK Center in Tulsa.
OSU finished the tournament with 137 team points to top Big 12 newcomer Northern Iowa (40.5) for the team title. South Dakota State (94) was third, followed by Wyoming (82.5) and North Dakota State (57). It’s the 20th conference title for the Cowboys under head coach John Smith and 52nd overall.
Nick Piccininni at 125 pounds, Boo Lewallen (149), Chandler Rogers (165) and Derek White (heavyweight) all claimed individual titles. Kaid Brock (133) and Dean Heil (141) fell in their respective title bouts, while Jacobe Smith (174), Keegan Moore (184) and Preston Weigel (197) took third. All nine wrestlers earn automatic qualifying bids to the NCAA championships, which is March 15-17 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
Piccininni, a redshirt sophomore, made quick work in the finals with a fall in 1 minute, 11 seconds of the first period against West Viriginia’s Zeke Moisey.
Lewallen toppled No. 1-seeded Max Thomsen of Northern Iowa with a 9-3 decision. Lewallen, also a redshirt sophomore, put on a late charge with 20 seconds left in the second period with a takedown and nearfall. He would add a takedown and an escape in the third to win the title.
Rogers finally climbed to the top of the podium after back-to-back runner-up finishes. The OSU redshirt junior held on for a 12-9 decision over North Dakota State’s No. 4 seed Andrew Fogarty. Rogers had a quick burst to start the match with a takedown less than 30 seconds into the match and nearly picked up a fall for a 6-0 lead. He tacked on two escapes and takedowns before fending off Fogarty’s late charge for OSU’s third championship of the day.
White ended the tournament with a dominating 13-6 decision over No. 3 seed AJ Nevills of Fresno State. White relentless pace was on full display with four points in each frame to capture his first conference title.
Brock and Heil both fell to the nation’s No. 1 wrestler in the finals.
Brock never led in a 8-5 loss to No. 1 Seth Gross of South Dakota State. Gross scored on a takedown midway through the first period and led 3-2 at the end of the period after Brock scored on a reversal and Gross quickly escaped. Gross upped his lead to 4-2 with an escape early in the second period, but Brock tied the match with a takedown. Gross again escaped to lead 5-4 through two periods. After a neutral start to the third period, Gross recorded the decisive takedown with under a minute to go for a 7-4 lead. Brock managed to escape in the closing seconds, but Gross had more than a minute of riding time locked up.
Heil was looking to win his fourth Big 12 title and avenge his loss earlier this season to Bryce Meredith of Wyoming. Heil scored a takedown in the first period, but Meredith quickly got an escape and a takedown of his own for a 3-2 lead. Heil escaped to tie it at 3 heading into the third. Meredith pushed the action with a takedown and an escape in the third to claim Wyoming’s first Big 12 title in program history.
3 for 3
The Cowboys went a perfect 3 for 3 in the third-place bouts before the finals began.
Jacobe Smith was first up with a 6-4 decision against Oklahoma’s Yoanse Mejias. Moore grabbed a 13-5 major decision over South Dakota State’s Martin Mueller and Weigel edged Northern Iowa’s Jacob Holschlag 8-4.
125: No. 1 Piccininni (OSU) fall No. 3 Moisey (UWV), 1:11
133: No. 1 Gross (SDSU) dec. No. 3 Brock (OSU), 8-5
141: No. 1 Meredith (UW) dec. No. 2 Heil (OSU), 6-5
149: No. 2 Lewallen (OSU) dec. No. 1 Thomsen (UNI), 9-3
165: No. 2 Rogers (OSU) dec. No. 4 Fogarty (NDSU), 12-9
285: No. 1 White (OSU) dec. No. 3 Nevills (FSU), 13-6
174: No. 4 Smith (OSU) dec. No. 2 Mejias (OU), 6-4
184: No. 4 Moore (OSU) MD No. 2 Mueller (SDSU), 13-5
197: No. 1 Weigel (OSU) dec. No. 3 Holschlag (UNI), 8-4