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2019 Big 12 Wrestling Championship: Oklahoma State puts 7 in finals, extends lead

The Cowboys hold a 37-point edge over Iowa State.

Oklahoma State’s Nick Piccininni, top, controls Northern Colorado’s Rico Montoya in their 125-pound semifinal match at the Big 12 Championship on Saturday, March 9, 2019, at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Seven Oklahoma State wrestlers advanced to the Big 12 Championship finals as the Cowboys hold a 37-point lead over Iowa State in the team standings after Day 1 on Saturday at the BOK Center in Tulsa.

The three Cowboys who did not reach the finals are still alive in the consolation bracket and can climb all the way back to third. The six-time reigning Big 12 champion Cowboys and ISU — who has four finalists — are the only teams with all 10 wrestlers still in action. Northern Iowa and Wyoming each have seven remaining with Fresno State, in its second year in the Big 12, at six.

The Cowboys went 11-1 in the second session, including a 7-1 mark during semifinal bouts. OSU’s seven finalists this year include Nick Piccininni (29-0) at 125 pounds, Daton Fix (29-1) at 133, Kaid Brock (19-6) at 141, Kaden Gfeller (25-5) at 149, Jacobe Smith (25-3) at 174, Preston Weigel (10-0) at 197 and Derek White (27-1) at heavyweight. All seven finalists punched their tickets to the NCAA tournament. Piccininni, Smith, Weigel and White all won their semifinal bouts by major decision.

Piccininni started things off with a 15-2 win over Northern Colorado’s Rico Montoya. Smith utilized his strength with two big inside trips en route to a 18-5 win over Wyoming’s Hayden Hastings then Weigel hammered Oklahoma’s Jake Woodley 13-0. White capped the semifinals with a 11-1 win against Utah Valley’s Tate Orndorff.

Piccininni and Weigel will both be vying for their third Big 12 title, while White goes for his second. Piccininni draws North Dakota State’s Brent Fleetwood (24-3), who went to overtime to beat OU’s Christian Moody in the semifinals. Weigel will meet Willie Micklus (22-2), while White takes on Fresno State’s Aj Nevills.

Fix advanced to the finals with a 6-1 win over West Virginia’s Matt Schmitt and Brock ended Northern Colorado’s Chris Sandoval’s Cinderella run with a 8-3 victory with 4-plus minutes of riding time. Gfeller made it 4-for-4 for OSU with a 7-2 win over Fresno State’s Khristian Olivas.

Dakota Geer was taken down twice and couldn’t find finish his single-leg shot attempt in the third period in a 6-3 loss to Northern Iowa’s Drew Foster at 184. Geer meets Fresno State’s Jackson Hemauer in the consolation semifinals Sunday morning.

In the consolation bracket, Wyatt Sheets and Joe Smith both went 2-0 at 157 and 165, respectively. Sheets grabbed a 7-3 win over Northern Iowa’s Paden Moore before scoring late-period takedowns in the second and third frames for a 7-5 victory over South Dakota State’s Colten Carlson. Joe Smith shut out OU’s Jeremy Thomas, 8-0, then pulled away with a 8-2 win over Fresno State’s Isaiah Hokit.

Sheets will face No. 2 seed Jacob Wright of Fresno State, while Joe Smith has No. 1 seed Branson Ashworth of Wyoming. Joe Smith and Geer both need to win one more match to claim an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Sheets has to receive an at-large bid since the Big 12 only has one automatic bid at 157.

The second and final day of the tournament begins at noon Sunday with the consolation semifinals, third- and fifth-place matches on FloWrestling.org. The finals will be at 7 p.m. Sunday on Fox Sports Regional Networks.

Big 12 finals

125: Nick Piccininni (OSU) vs. Brent Fleetwood (North Dakota State)

133: Daton Fix (OSU) vs. Montorie Bridges (Wyoming)

141: Kaid Brock (OSU) vs. Dominick Demas (Oklahoma)

149: Kaden Gfeller (OSU) vs. Jarrett Degen (Iowa State)

157: Justin Thomas (Oklahoma) vs. Chase Straw (Iowa State)

165: Andrew Fogarty (North Dakota State) vs. Demetrirus Romero (Utah Valley)

174: Jacobe Smith (OSU) vs. Taylor Lujan (Northern Iowa)

184: Sam Colbray (Iowa State) vs. Drew Foster (Northern Iowa)

197: Preston Weigel (OSU) vs. Willie Miklus (Iowa State)

285: Derek White (OSU) vs. AJ Nevills (Fresno State)

OSU’s semifinal results

125: No. 1 Nick Piccininni (OSU) major dec. No. 4 Rico Montoya (UNCO), 15-2

133: No. 1 Daton Fix (OSU) dec. No. 4 Matt Schmitt (WVU), 6-1

141: No. 5 Kaid Brock (OSU) dec. Chris Sandoval (UNCO), 8-3

149: No. 1 Kaden Gfeller (OSU) dec. No. 5 Khristian Olivas (FS), 7-2

174: No. 1 Jacobe Smith (OSU) major dec. No. 5 Hayden Hastings (WYO), 18-5

184: No. 2 Drew Foster (UNI) dec. No. 3 Dakota Geer (OSU), 6-3

197: No. 1 Preston Weigel (OSU) major dec. No. 5 Jake Woodley (OU), 13-0

HWT: No. 1 Derek White (OSU) major dec. No. 4 Tate Orndorff (UVU), 11-1

OSU’s first round consolation

157: No. 4 Wyatt Sheets (OSU) dec. Paden Moore (UNI), 7-3

165: No. 7 Joe Smith (OSU) major dec. No. 8 Jeremy Thomas (OU), 8-0

OSU’s second round consolation

157: No. 4 Wyatt Sheets (OSU) dec. No. 8 Colten Carlson (South Dakota State), 7-5

165: No. 7 Joe Smith (OSU) dec. No. 6 Isaiah Hokit (Fresno State), 8-2

OSU’s consolation semifinals

157: No. 4 Wyatt Sheets (OSU) vs. No. 2 Jacob Wright (Fresno State)

165: No. 7 Joe Smith (OSU) vs. No. 1 Branson Ashworth (Wyoming)

184: No. 3 Dakota Geer (OSU) vs. No. 5 Jackson Hemauer (Fresno State)