By Roger Moore, For TheMat.com
NORMAN, Okla. – Oklahoma State ran away with another conference championship on Saturday, the 47th in program history and twelfth in the seventeen-year history of the Big 12.In a season of many twists and turns add Saturday night's 174-pound title bout to the list.
A top seed at the NCAA Championships, March 20-22, was on the line when national champions Andrew Howe of Oklahoma and Chris Perry of Oklahoma State squared off in the 174-pound final. Perry, whose only loss in 25 matches this season came to Howe last December, was trying to become just the fifth four-time Big 12 champion.The Big 12 moved the 174-pound bout to the end of the docket, wrestling 184, 197, and 285 prior to the highlighted bout – that turned into "Bedlam."
After a two-minute rideout in the second period by Perry, the two went to the final two minutes scoreless. That is when things got a little hectic.A freestyle start saw Howe cut Perry, then immediately attack for a takedown. A video review took the takedown away. Another freestyle start saw Howe cut the Cowboy and aggressively attack for a takedown and a 2-1 advantage. A third optional start and the Sooner quickly attacked for another two-pointer that Perry turned into a wild scramble… followed by another video review.
By the time the dust settled, it was 2-2 with one minute to wrestle, Perry holding 1:45 of riding time. One final flurry saw the former national champion from Wisconsin unable to finish and Perry, fighting for his life, winning 3-2 at the buzzer.
"I got a little emotional during the match, now knowing what the score was and all the stuff that was going on," Perry said. "At some point calls have to be made, whatever they are and not everybody is going to be happy. Hopefully, the next time the match doesn't turn out like that."(Howe) is the guy to beat. I felt like I could ride him after doing a ton of video work. But, still, I feel like March is my time. This is a big win, but we all know that the next tournament is the big one."
Cowboy head coach John Smith, the uncle of Chris Perry, was still buzzing after the bout."It was wild," Smith said. "There was very little in that match that didn't have some kind of action.
The Cowboys, who scored a tournament-record 118 ½ points a year ago and 99 ½ this season, qualified eight wrestlers for Oklahoma City with Blake Rosholt, a senior 197-pounder, awaiting the NCAA at-large selections on Wednesday. The four-team league was given twenty-four allocations: Oklahoma advanced seven, Iowa State five and West Virginia four.
Of the 10 finals bouts, five featured OSU and OU head-to-head matchups.OSU senior Jon Morrison (24-1) moved his all-time record to 6-0 against OU's Cody Brewer, beating the Sooner sophomore, 8-1, in the 133-pound final. It was Morrison's second straight league trophy.
At 149 pounds, 2013 national champion Kendric Maple (23-4) won his third Big 12 title for Oklahoma, beating OSU's Josh Kindig, 6-3, in the finals. The Sooner senior countered a shot midway through the final period of a 3-2 match.
"My coaches have done a great job of keeping me focused for this time of year," Maple said. "Losing a couple during the season … it is never okay to lose … but I know that it comes down to what you do in March. Again, my coaches have really kept me focused on the (NCAA) tournament."The top-ranked 157-pounder in the country, OSU's Alex Dieringer (27-1), won a tough 8-3 match in the 157-pound finals over OU's Justin DeAngelis.
Three-time All-American Tyler Caldwell (24-3) took advantage of a Mike Moreno attempted lateral drop in the opening three minutes and cruised to a 12-1 victory over the ISU All-American. Cowboy rookie Anthony Collica (28-7) beat Iowa State's Gabe Moreno, 3-2 in the 141-pound finals. The heavyweight final saw OSU sophomore Austin Marsden beat West Virginia's AJ Vizcarrando, 5-2.In a battle for the conference's only allocated spot at 184 pounds, Iowa State's Leland Weatherspoon (24-9) turned a late bear-hug into a takedown to beat Oklahoma State's Nolan Boyd.
The nation's top-ranked 197-pounder Kyven Gadson (25-2) went the distance in beating Oklahoma's Travis Rutt; the difference was four seconds of riding time after two tiebreakers."Probably the first time in my life I've gone the distance like that," Gadson said. "I knew it was going to be a tough match going in and it feels good to get that win going into the national tournament.
West Virginia qualified four, including 174-pounder Bubba Schieffel, who forfeited twice. Corey Stainbrook and Mike Morales beat a pair of Cyclones for third, Stainbrook (24-14) beating Earl Hall at 125 pounds with Morales (19-7) knocking off Luke Goettl at 149 pounds.Colin Johnston entered the tournament 27-6 and as the top seed at 141 pounds, but dropped his first bout and a few hours later lost by technical fall, after three minutes, to Oklahoma's Nick Lester.
Gabe Moreno, a redshirt-freshman, entered Saturday on a 10-match losing streak. It was quickly forgotten, however, as a slick second period flurry led to five points and eventually a 9-4 win over Johnston in the semifinals.
"I have had a lot of support around me the last few months," said Moreno, who will take a 16-19 record into the NCAA Championships. "Once you get to this point, sometimes you just have to let it fly. I was in a position (in the second period), I went for it and it worked out."
Oklahoma State 98.5, Oklahoma 63.5, Iowa State 45.5, West Virginia 26
125: No. 1 Jarrod Patterson (OU) dec. No. 2 Eddie Klimara (OSU), 4-3
133: No. 1 Jon Morrison (OSU) dec. No. 2 Cody Brewer (OU), 8-1
141: No. 2 Anthony Collica (OSU) dec. No. 4 Gabe Moreno (ISU), 4-2
149: No. 1 Kendric Maple (OU) dec. No. 2 Josh Kindig (OSU), 6-3
157: No. 1 Alex Dieringer (OSU) dec. No. 2 Justin DeAngelis (OU), 8-3
165: No. 1 Tyler Caldwell (OSU) MD No. 2 Michael Moreno (ISU), 12-1
174: No. 2 Chris Perry (OSU) dec. No. 1 Andrew Howe (OU), 3-2
184: No. 3 Lelund Weatherspoon (ISU) dec. No. 1 Nolan Boyd (OSU), 4-3
197: No. 1 Kyven Gadson (ISU) dec. No. 2 Travis Rutt (OU), 3-3 TB2 (on criteria)
285: No. 1 Austin Marsden (OSU) dec. No. 2 A.J. Vizcarrondo (WVU), 5-2