Joe Smith defeated Chandler Rogers in a best-of-three wrestle-off Monday night in the Cowboys’ practice room at Gallagher-Iba Arena to win the 165-pound postseason spot for Oklahoma State.
Smith scored a first-period takedown en route to a 3-2 win in the first match then a hour later posted three takedowns for a 7-4 victory to claim the spot, reports Roger Moore of TheMat.com.
Rogers (17-2), a redshirt senior, was injured at the Southern Scuffle in January and missed a month of action before returning against Air Force on Feb. 8. Meanwhile, Smith (14-4) didn’t wrestle until the Reno Tournament of Champions in December.
The two Stillwater products have both earned All-American status twice in their careers. Rogers took eighth and fifth at 165 pounds the last two season, while Smith, who redshirted last season, was fourth in 2017 and seventh in 2016 at 157 pounds.
The Big 12 announced pre-tournament brackets and seeds Monday that had Rogers slated as the No. 3 seed with a first-round bye. It’s unknown how much the 165 bracket will change with Smith, who hasn’t wrestled at the weight this season but is ranked in the top 8 at 174.
Rogers earned a bid to wrestle at the Big 12 Championship at 165, but Smith did not so by having Smith compete at the weight the conference’s automatic qualifying bids drop to five. Smith must finish in fifth place or better to receive one of the conference’s automatic qualifying spots for the NCAA national tournament in Pittsburgh. He could also receive an at-large bid for NCAAs.
The two-day Big 12 Championship tournament starts at 11 a.m. Saturday at the BOK Center in Tulsa. The first three sessions will be streamed on FloWrestling before Sunday’s championship finals are telecasted at 7 p.m. Sunday by Fox Sports Regional Networks.
Big 12 Championship Schedule
Session 1: 11 a.m., Saturday
Session 2: 5 p.m., Saturday
Session 3: Noon, Sunday
Session 4: 7 p.m., Sunday