Cowboy Wrestling Caps Perfect Season With Win Over No. 3 Iowa
STILLWATER, Oklahoma -
The No. 2 Oklahoma State wrestling team capped off its 46th undefeated season in program history Sunday afternoon, defeating the No. 3 Iowa Hawkeyes, 27-12, in front of a sell-out crowd of 13,811 inside Gallagher-Iba Arena on senior day.
The 2nd-ranked Cowboys (15-0 overall, 8-0 Big 12) took seven of 10 bouts en route to the first undefeated season for Oklahoma State since 2005, and coach John Smith's seventh as head coach.
The crowd marked the second-largest attendance in Gallagher-Iba Arena's wrestling history, as well as the largest attendance for any collegiate winter sports event in the state of Oklahoma this year.
"We are going to build up hype and put people in the stands," coach John Smith said. "You have to do things as a coach to create that environment. Sometimes it may not be the best scenario, but our guys are pretty tough when it comes to dealing with hype."
Nick Piccininni sent the sell-out crowd into a frenzy when the undefeated Cowboy senior collected win number 27 on the season in extraordinary fashion, pinning defending NCAA champion No. 2 Spencer Lee by cradle late in the second period. Piccininni's pin gave the Cowboys a 6-0 lead to start the highly anticipated dual. It was also the first loss by fall in Lee's career, who entered the dual with a 38-3 career record and had never lost by more than a decision.
"Obviously, for me, it was a big feat and for our team," Piccininni said. "I knew it was going to light us up, it was definitely one of the greater memories I'll have… to get a win over a Hawkeye, it's a great feeling."
Daton Fix followed up the excitement with a 2-0 decision over No. 3 Austin DeSanto. Fix put a stop to the Hawkeye's streak of 12-straight victories to hand DeSanto just his second loss of the season.
At 174 pounds, Chandler Rogers notched his 12th pin of the season and 47th of his career in his last match inside GIA. Rogers got the fall over Mitch Bowman in 5:30 to break the tie and give the Cowboys a six point lead.
Also picking up decisions over ranked opponents for the Cowboys were Kaid Brock, Jacobe Smith, Preston Weigel and Derek White. Weigel trailed entering the third period before scoring a huge reversal to upset No. 4 Jacob Warner, 5-3. Smith defeated 12th-ranked Cash Wilcke, 6-3, and White capped off the dual with a 3-1 decision over No. 8 Sam Stoll.
The dual also marked senior day for eight Cowboys, including Jonce Blaylock, Zalin Edwards, Mike Magaldo, Geo Martinez, Rogers, Jacobe Smith, Weigel and White.
"You always hate to see seniors go," Smith said. "This is a group that has been really good for the team, not just as wrestlers, but they're good people. They really rubbed off a lot on the younger guys. You hope to build a culture and you hope that culture is tough, but also being good people and good students. It's tough to see those guys go, but it's a great feeling for them to leave with a win like this."
The Cowboys return to the mat March 9-10 in Tulsa, Okla., for the Big 12 Tournament and seek its seventh consecutive conference title.