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|Oklahoma State Cowboys capture 4th consecutive Big 12 Title; qualify eight for NCAA Championships|
By Meredith Wilson USA Wrestling
AMES, IOWA - The Okalahoma State Cowboys claimed their fourth consecutive Big 12 Championship title Saturday in front of a crowd of 2,628 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.
The Cowboys claimed four Big 12 titles and qualified 9 wrestlers for the NCAA Division I National Wrestling Championships. The Oklahoma Sooners came in the second in the team race with 52.5 points capturing just one title, but qualifying 8 wrestlers; followed by Nebraska with 52 points, 1 title, and 9 qualifiers. Not far behind was host Iowa State with 47.5 points. The Cyclones captured three titles and qualified 5 athletes; behind the Cyclones were the Missouri Tigers, which captured one championship title and qualified 7 athletes for Nationals.
The top three place winners in each weight are automatically qualified for the NCAA tournament on Oklahoma City March 16-18, 2006. An additional eight wrestlers from the Big 12 also advanced based on wildcard draws. Missouri will take seven to the championships with the addition of Austin DeVoe at 125, Michael Chandler at 157, and Jeff Foust at 197 as Wildcards. Marc Harwood (165) and Vince Jones (184) will also make the trip for the Huskers. The three remaining wildcards went to Jesse Sundell (ISU) at 133, Brandon Mason (OSU) at 174, and Justin Dyer (OU) at 184.
At 125 pounds 2nd ranked and top seeded Sooner Sam Hazewinkle met up with 5th ranked Coleman Scott of Oklahoma State. Two evenly matched wrestlers, the first period of the match went by without any score. Scott scored the first point of the match on an escape with just 20 seconds left in the second period. But Hazewinkle had less trouble escaping in the third period, retaining the riding time he had amassed, which ended up being the deciding factor in the match. Hazewinkle took the conference championship with a 2-1 win over Scott. Paul Donahoe finished in third place for the Huskers with a 10-7 win over Austin DeVoe of Missouri.
Nathan Morgan of Oklahoma State, ranked 2nd nationally going in to the tournament, easily handled Missouri's Tyler McCormick capturing the title with a 5-1 win at 133 lbs. Morgan defeated Nebraska's Patrick Aleksanyan 8-3 in semifinals competition; Aleksanyan rebounded with a 10-9 win over Iowa State's Jesse Sundell to finish in third.
One of the most anticipated match ups of the tournament was no disappointment for fans. The top two ranked wrestlers, Cyclone Nate Gallick and Sooner Teyon Ware treated fans to a tough battle at 141 lbs. Ware scored the first point on an escape :21 seconds into the second period, with Gallick reciprocating the escape :22 seconds into the third period. Gallick had the help of a hometown crowd cheering him on through two overtime periods and two tie breakers. Gallick escaped with 9 seconds left in the top half of the second tie breaker period then got a takedown at the edge of the mat with just 1 second left. Ware escaped in the second half of the second tie breaker, but Gallick held off attacks to capture the title and with a 5-3 win.
Sixth-ranked Matt Storniolo of Oklahoma gave the Cowboys Zack Esposito a run for this money. Third ranked Esposito take an early lead in the match 4-1, but after an arm bar that clearly caught Esposito by surprise Storniolo, quickly took a 6-4 lead. The match remained close until the end of the last period, when Esposito turned up the heat with a turn and nearfall to capture the 149 lbs. title with a 12-8 win.
Top-ranked Cyclone Travis Paulson had his hands full with 14-ranked Cowboy Kevin Ward. The match remained scoreless until the third period when Paulson scored a single escape. Coupled with nearly two minutes of riding time, Paulson claimed the title with a 2-0 win over Ward.
Returning Big 12 and National Champion Johny Hendricks battled 6th ranked Matt Pell of Missouri to a 2-1 victory in the first tie breaker. Hendricks scored an escape in the first six seconds of the tie breaker, then rode Pell out the second half of the period to claim his second consecutive Big 12 title and becoming the Cowboy's third champion of the night.
Undefeated and top-ranked Ben Askren of Missouri dominated 4th ranked Husker Jacob Klein to secure his first Big 12 Championship title with a decisive 17-6 major decision.
The Cyclones found their third championship title of the night with returning Big 12 champion Kurt Backes. Backes captured his second consecutive Big 12 title with a 4-2 victory over Missouri's Raymond Jordan.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers found their lone Big 12 title in returning Big 12 Champion BJ Padden with a 4-0 win over Cowboy Jake Rosholt. In a weight that featured the 3rd, 4th and 5th nationally ranked wrestlers, the top three seeds finished in seed order with Joel Flagert of Oklahoma claiming third place.
Returning Big 12 and NCAA champion Steve Mocco wrapped up the tally of Cowboy titles with a 4-1 victory over 7th ranked Jake Hager of Oklahoma. With the win, Mocco captures his second consecutive Big 12 championships and looks towards capturing another NCAA Championship in Okalahoma City next.
125 - Sam Hazewinkle (OU) dec. Coleman Scott (OSU), 2-1
133 - Nathan Morgan (OSU) dec. Tyler McCormick (Miss) , 5-1
141 - Nate Gallick (ISU) dec. Teyon Ware (OU), 5-3 2TB
149 - Zack Esposito (OSU) dec. Matt Storniolo (OU), 12-8
157 - Trent Paulson (ISU) dec. Kevin Ward (OSU), 2-0
165 - Johny Hendricks (OSU) dec. Matt Pell (Miss) 2-1 TB1
174 - Ben Askren (Miss) maj dec. Jacob Klein (NU), 17-6
184 - Kurt Backes (ISU) dec. Raymond Jordan (Miss), 4-2
197 - BJ Padden (NU) dec. Jake Rosholt (OSU), 4-0
285 - Steve Mocco (OSU) dec. Jake Hager (OU), 4-1