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|Oklahoma State, Missouri set for semifinal showdown at National Duals|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - Oklahoma State is the storied program with a record-setting 34 NCAA team titles.
Missouri is the up-and-coming program that has crowned a grand total of one individual NCAA champion in its entire history.
And that's a big part of the reason why Sunday's semifinal matchup at the National Duals will be so intriguing.
Tradition-rich Oklahoma State will enter its 11 a.m. dual meet with fellow Big 12 member Missouri as the underdog. Oklahoma State, winner of the past four NCAA tournament titles, is ranked fourth. Missouri is No. 1.
"We're going to need to turn it up a few more notches tomorrow," Missouri coach Brian Smith said Saturday. "Oklahoma State has a great program and we're excited about the challenge of facing them. It's going to be a great dual. We're going to have to show up and wrestle tough at all 10 weights."
Oklahoma State used a strong early start in Saturday's quarterfinals, notching a 22-13 win over No. 5 Iowa before 7,565 fans at the UNI-Dome. Missouri rolled past No. 8 Northwestern 33-8 in the quarterfinals.
"They're solid and they have a great deal of balance from 125 to heavyweight," OSU coach John Smith said of Missouri. "They're as good a dual meet team as you will face. We need to rely heavily on tradition. We're going to have to really fight hard if we're going to win."
Sixth-ranked Iowa State and No. 2 Minnesota also reached the semifinals. The Cyclones knocked off No. 3 Hofstra 24-9 in the quarterfinals while Minnesota downed Central Michigan 31-7 in the quarters. Minnesota is the defending National Duals champion.
OSU earned a pivotal early win at 125 pounds when Tyler Shinn rallied for a 5-4 win over Iowa's Charlie Falck. All-Americans Coleman Scott (133) and Nathan Morgan (141) followed with wins before John Smith made a bold move and pulled freshman Dakotah Simpson out of his redshirt at 149.
The move paid huge dividends as Simpson caught Iowa's Alex Grunder on his back for a fall just 77 seconds into the match. That gave the Cowboys a commanding 15-0 lead and Iowa never recovered.
"It is about finding a way to win," John Smith said. "It came at the right time for a freshman since we had momentum after winning the first three weights. I am real pleased with effort from our guys down low, but I was disgusted with some of our upper weights."
Grunder was the aggressor early against Simpson and nearly secured a takedown. But Simpson rolled through and caught Grunder on his back and eventually pinned him just 1:17 into his varsity debut.
Two-time NCAA champion and top-ranked Johny Hendricks of OSU added a dominant 9-1 win over past NCAA runner-up and third-ranked Mark Perry at 165. That extended the Cowboys' lead to 19-3. Hendricks and Perry will meet again when Iowa wrestles at Oklahoma State on Friday.
"Perry's a good wrestler and I'm sure we'll have another good match next week," Hendricks said. "I need to be at my best every time we wrestle."
Hendricks said Perry is wrestling more of a defensive style against him now.
"He only has a double leg with his right leg lead, and everybody knows that," Hendricks said. "And he has a single leg with a right leg lead. Whenever he is going out there leading with his left leg he's baiting me to shoot a high crotch just so he can do what (Michigan's Ryan) Churella did to me last year. He almost got it today, but I forced it out where he couldn't get it. I don't know what he's going to do next."
Missouri won 8 of 10 bouts against Northwestern with unbeaten brothers Ben (174) and Max Askren (197) again leading the way. NCAA champion Ben Askren is 25-0 this season and has won 70 straight matches. Top-ranked Max Askren (197) beat No. 2 Mike Tamillow of Northwestern 9-4. Max racked up 3:34 of riding time in the win.
In Minnesota's win over Central Michigan, top-ranked Cole Konrad extended his winning streak to 56 consecutive matches with a dominant 18-3 technical fall over No. 5 Bubba Gritter at heavyweight.
In Iowa State's win over Hofstra, No. 20 Nick Fanthorpe of ISU upset No. 5 Dave Tomasette of Hofstra 13-9 at 125. Cyclone senior Kurt Backes pinned Chris Weidman in just 36 seconds in a battle of All-Americans at 197.
Also at the National Duals, defending champions Nebraska-Omaha (Division II), Wartburg (Division III), Dana (NAIA) and Labette (Junior College) each reached the semifinals Saturday afternoon.