Oklahoma State trails Iowa State by three points for the Big 12 Championship lead after the opening session Saturday at BOK Center in Tulsa.
OSU has 61 points and six semifinalists, while ISU boasts eight in the semifinals. South Dakota State (42), Oklahoma (41) and Northern Iowa (38) round out the top five.
The Cowboys went 9-4 during the opening session with seven bonus-point victories: two falls, four technical falls and one major decision. OSU went 3-2 in the first round where No. 2 Anthony Montalvo and No. 5 Dakota Geer scored 12 points with falls at 184 and 197 pounds against Fresno State’s Hunter Cruz and Isaiah Perez.
But Montalvo and Geer both dropped their quarterfinal matches to Wyoming wrestlers to fall to the consolation bracket.
Montalvo allowed No. 7 Tate Samuelson to escape to start the third then was awarded a takedown at the edge in the final 10 seconds for a 3-2 loss. OSU coach John Smith challenge was unsuccessful. Tied 2-2 after two periods, Geer gave up an escape and a takedown for a 9-5 loss with riding time to No. 4 Stephen Buchanan.
In the quarterfinals, the Cowboys won six of eight matches with four wins having bonus-points attached. Top-seeded Nick Piccininni (125), Boo Lewallen (149) and Travis Wittlake (165) and No. 3 Wyatt Sheets (157) posted technical falls, and No. 4 Dusty Hone (141) scored two takedowns and four near fall points en route to an 11-3 major decision against Fresno State’s DJ Lloren.
Fifth-seed Joe Smith (174) went 2-0 in the first session with 4-3 decision against North Dakota State’s Luke Weber and a 3-2 win in sudden victory over No. 4 Kimball Bastian of Utah Valley.
In the opening round, sixth-seed Reece Witcraft (133) gave up two takedowns in the second and third off poor throw attempts and was upset 4-3 by Air Force’s Jared Van Vleet. Undersized heavyweight Austin Harris was no match for No. 5 Brian Andrews of Wyoming in an 8-2 loss.
Both Witcraft and Harris will have to win their next match to stay alive in the tournament. Witcraft will have a tough match against top-seed Taylor LaMont of Utah Valley. LaMont dropped a 6-4 decision to No. 8 Mosha Schwartz of Northern Colorado in the quarterfinals. Harris draws No. 7 Brandon Matez of North Dakota State.
Wrapped up the first session at the Big 12 Championships this afternoon at the BOK Center. Hear what @JohnSmithOKST had to say following the opening rounds.— OSU Cowboy Wrestling (@CowboyWrestling) March 7, 2020
https://t.co/NNWl8xQhRO#okstate | #GoPokes pic.twitter.com/ee3i4Vwj8s
The 125, 149, 157 and 165 brackets all went to chalk on the OSU wrestlers’ side of the bracket.
If Piccininni gets past No. 4 McGwire Midkiff of North Dakota State, he’ll face the winner of Air Force’s Cody Phippen and No. 3 Alex Mackall of Iowa State. Phippen knocked off No. 2 Jacob Schwarm of Northern Iowa, 4-2, and No. 7 Christian Moody of OU, 10-3, to advance to the semis.
Lewallen will have an important match for the team race against No. 4 Jarrett Degan of ISU. The two haven’t wrestled since Lewallen re-injured his shoulder in last season’s dual that caused him to miss the rest of the 2018-19 season.
Wittlake should take care of business against No. 4 Tanner Cook of SDSU, who he beat by 14-6 major decision earlier this season.
At 157, the bracket has gone as seeded throughout. Sheets faces No. 2 Jared Franek of North Dakota State with a potential rematch against No. 1 David Carr of ISU in the finals on the line. Carr will face No. 4 Justin Thomas of OU.
Hone and Joe Smith both draw the top seeds in their brackets with Dom Demas of OU and Bryce Steiert of UNI, respectively. Both Cowboys have loss to their opponents earlier this season with Hone having two defeats to Demas.
How to watch
Session 2: 5-8 p.m., Saturday (ESPN+)
- Semifinals (20 matches — 2 mats)
- First, second round consolations (40 matches — 2 mats; 20 matches — 4 mats)
OSU’s upcoming matches
- 125: No. 1 Nick Piccininni (OSU) vs. No. 4 McGwire Midkiff (NDSU)
- 141: No. 4 Dusty Hone (OSU) vs. No. 1 Dom Demas (OU)
- 149: No. 1 Boo Lewallen (OSU) vs. No. 4 Jarrett Degan (ISU)
- 157: No. 3 Wyatt Sheets (OSU) vs. No. 2 Jared Franek (NDSU)
- 165: No. 1 Travis Wittlake (OSU) vs. No. 4 Tanner Cook (SDSU)
- 174: No. 5 Joe Smith (OSU) vs. No. 1 Bryce Steiert (UNI)
- 133: No. 6 Reece Witcraft (OSU) vs. No. 1 Taylor LaMont (UVU)
- 184: No. 2 Anthony Montalvo (OSU) vs. Jackson Moomau (WVU)
- 197: No. 5 Dakota Geer (OSU) vs. Joel Shapiro (ISU)
- 285: Austin Harris (OSU) vs. No. 7 Brandon Metz (NDSU)
- 125: No. 1 Nick Piccininni (OSU) TF Joey Thomas (WVU), 20-3 in 7:00
- 141: No. 4 Dusty Hone (OSU) MD DJ Lloren (FS), 11-3
- 149: No. 1 Boo Lewallen (OSU) TF Cameron Hunsaker (UVU), 15-0 in 3:10
- 157: No. 3 Wyatt Sheets (OSU) TF Alex Hornfeck (WVU), 16-1 in 7:00
- 165: No. 1 Travis Wittlake (OSU) TF Austin Yant (UNI), 16-1 in 6:43
- 174: No. 5 Joe Smith (OSU) dec. No. 4 Kimball Bastian (UVU), 3-1 in SV1
- 184: No. 7 Tate Samuelson (WYO) dec. No. 2 Anthony Montalvo (OSU), 3-2
- 197: No. 4 Stephen Buchanan (WYO) dec. No. 5 Dakota Geer (OSU), 9-5
- 133: Jared VanVleet (AF) dec. No. 6 Reece Witcraft (OSU), 9-6
- 174: No. 5 Joe Smith (OSU) dec. Luke Weber (NDSU), 4-3
- 184: No. 2 Antony Montalvo (OSU) FALL Hunter Cruz (FS), 1:21
- 197: No. 5 Dakota Geer (OSU) FALL Isaiah Perez (FS), 3:19
- 285: No. 5 Brian Andrews (WYO) dec. Austin Harris (OSU), 8-2