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Oklahoma State locks up 3rd at NCAA Wrestling Championships

Preston Weigel, Nick Piccininni and Dakota Geer win their placement matches.

NCAA Wrestling: Wrestling Championships Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma State won all three of its placement bouts during Saturday’s early session to clinch third place as a team at the NCAA Championships at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

Preston Weigel finished his collegiate career in third place at 197 pounds, redshirt junior 125-pounder Nick Piccininni took fifth and redshirt sophomore 184-pounder claimed seventh.

Penn State has already locked up its fourth straight NCAA team title and eighth in the last nine years with 123.5 points and five finalists. Ohio State will be the runner-up for the third consecutive year, while Oklahoma State will be third after tying for 13th last season. Iowa will take the final trophy in fourth place.

Weigel rebounded from his first loss of the season in the semifinals Friday night with two straight wins Saturday to take third. Weigel pinned Iowa State’s Will Milkus in 2:10 in a Big 12 title rematch then posted a dominant 7-1 decision over Princeton’s Pat Brucki to wrap up his senior season 16-1. Weigel, a two-time All-American, finished sixth at 197 in 2017.

Piccininni struggled to generate any offense in a 5-1 loss to Cornell’s Vitali Arujau in the consolation semifinals. The Cowboy rebounded with a fall at 5:29 against Princeton’s Pat Glory for fifth after trailing the entire match.

Glory scored a first-period takedown and was able to hold off a shot attempt by Piccininni near the end of the frame. Oklahoma State coach John Smith lost his final challenge of the tournament on the call. Piccininni escaped in the second period, but was taken down with 7 seconds left in the period to trail 4-2. Piccininni went top and was able to turn Glory for his second win over the Tiger during the tournament.

Piccininni, a two-time All-American, went 34-2 this season. He took fourth in 2017.

Tied 2-2 after the second period, Geer gave up a reversal to Virginia Tech’s Zack Zavatsky just 12 seconds into the third frame. Geer escaped 36 seconds later and grabbed a takedown with 37 seconds remaining for a 5-4 win to claim seventh place. Seeded No. 26, Geer is the lowest seeded wrestler to earn All-American honors this year.

Finals

Heavyweight Derek White will start off the finals against Penn State’s Anthony Cassar at 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPN. Daton Fix will be the third match against Rutgers’ Nick Suriano.

If Fix and White both fall short of an NCAA title, it’ll be the first time since 2009-10 that the Cowboys will go consecutive years without an individual champion.

Team standings

  1. Penn State — 123.5
  2. Ohio State — 95.5
  3. Oklahoma State — 82
  4. Iowa — 72
  5. Michigan — 62.5
  6. Missouri — 62
  7. Cornell — 55.5

Session V results

3rd-place bout

197: No. 3 Preston Weigel (OSU) dec. No. 4 Pat Brucki (Princeton), 7-1

5th-place bout

125: No. 2 Nick Piccininni (OSU) fall No. 7 Pat Glory (Princeton), 5:29

7th-place bout

184: No. 26 Dakota Geer (OSU) dec. No. 3 Zack Zavatsky (Virginia Tech), 5-4

Consolation semifinals

125: No. 8 Vitali Arujau (Cornell) dec. No. 2 Nick Piccininni (OSU), 5-1

197: No. 3 Preston Weigel (OSU) fall No. 6 Will Miklus (Iowa State), 2:10