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Oklahoma State wrestling: 3 Cowboys win individual titles at 2020 Big 12 Championship

Nick Piccininni (125) won his fourth, Boo Lewallen (141) took his second and Travis Wittlake (165) grabbed his first.

USA Wrestling

Three Oklahoma State wrestlers claimed individual titles as the Cowboys won their eighth straight Big 12 Championship on Sunday at BOK Center in Tulsa.

OSU scored 147.5 team points to win by 31 points over Iowa State to match the Cowboys’ eighth-straight conference tournament titles from 1921-28. Northern Iowa took third with 111.5 points, and South Dakota State and North Dakota State round out the top five with 94 and 90.5 points, respectively.

Nick Piccininni (125), Boo Lewallen (141) and Travis Wittlake (165) all claimed titles as top seeds. Piccininni became the fifth OSU wrestler and ninth overall to be a four-time Big 12 champion and the first since his former OSU teammate Anthony Collica in 2017. Piccininni joined OSU’s Alex Dieringer (2013-16), Chris Perry (2011-14), Jordan Oliver (2010-13) and Johnny Thompson (2001-04). Lewallen claimed his second title after missing last year’s tournament with a shoulder injury. It’s Wittlake’s first Big 12 crown.

Piccininni scored a takedown with 10 seconds remaining in the first period and exchanged escapes in the next two periods and fended off several attacks late from No. 3 Alex Mackall of Iowa State for a 3-1 win. The redshirt senior Cowboy defeated Mackall with a 10-2 major decision in February in Ames.

Piccininni was voted Most Outstanding Wrestler for his performance. He’s the 10th OSU wrestler to earn the honor and first since Dieringer in 2015.

Lewallen was taken down twice and trailed 4-2 in the second period against No. 2 Henry Pohlmeyer of South Dakota State, but Lewallen responded with an escape, two takedowns of his own and a hard ride for an 8-5 win. Lewallen, a redshirt junior, had a 10-0 major decision against Pohlmeyer in January in Stillwater.

In the second OSU-ISU final match at 157, the Cowboys were the underdogs with No. 3 Wyatt Sheets against top-seed David Carr of Iowa State. Carr, a redshirt freshman, had an escape and a takedown to open the second, but Sheets, a redshirt sophomore, escaped after 53 seconds to trail 3-1 after two periods. Sheets escaped five seconds into the third, but Carr scored a takedown on a slick duck-under and locked in riding time before giving up an escape and stalling point to Sheets in a 6-4 win.

Wittlake, a true freshman, scored a takedown in each period and riding time for a decisive 8-4 victory against No. 2 Andrew Fogarty of North Dakota State.

What’s next

The Cowboys claimed automatic bids for the NCAA Championships at every weight expect heavyweight. The NCAA Championships are March 19-21 at U.S Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Team standings

1. Oklahoma State – 147.5
2. Iowa State – 116.5
3. Northern Iowa – 111.5
4. South Dakota State – 94
5. North Dakota – 90.5
6. Oklahoma – 83
7. Northern Colorado – 72.5
8. Wyoming – 71.5
9. Fresno State – 57
10. West Virginia – 41
11. Utah Valley – 33
12. Air Force – 25.5

Finals

125: No. 1 Nick Piccininni (OSU) dec. No. 3 Alex Mackall (ISU), 3-1
149: No. 1 Boo Lewallen (OSU) dec. No. 2 Henry Pohlmeyer (SDSU), 8-5
157: No. 1 David Carr (ISU) dec. No. 3 Wyatt Sheets (OSU), 6-4
165: No. 1 Travis Wittlake (OSU) dec. No. 2 Andrew Fogarty (NDSU), 8-4