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OSU Cowboys capture Big 12 Championship title; send 10 to Nationals



STILLWATER - A predominately hometown crowd of 5,238 wrestling fans turned out to watch their Cowboys capture the Big 12 Wrestling Championships team title at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla. The Cowboys sent seven wrestlers to the mat in the final round, earning four championships and three second place finishes and claiming a total 85 team points to win the title. Oklahoma State will send at total of 10 wrestlers to Nationals, including nine top-three placers, and one wildcard bid. 165-pound Cowboy Chris Pendleton, who lost a controversial semifinals match and then forfeited his 3rd place match due to a knee injury, was awarded one of the six wildcard bids to the NCAA Nationals. The neighboring Sooners finished second in the team standings with 68 points and qualified six wrestlers for Nationals. Michael Lightner and Leonce Crump took top honors; Matt Ridings and Jared Frayer finished in second place, and Robbie Waller and Josh Lambrecht each captured a bronze. Oklahoma will send a total of 10 wrestlers to Nationals, six as place winners, three as wildcards, and one as an alternate. Not far behind were the Iowa State Cyclones, who finished half a point behind Oklahoma tallying 67.5 team points and qualifying the second most positions for Nationals. Cael Sanderson and Joe Heskett both captured championship titles, while Cole Sanderson and Perry Parks earned second place finishes. Third place finishes went to Matt Azevedo, Zach Roberson, Billy Maldanodo, Zach Thompson (ISU) and Mark Knauer (ISU) Finishing fourth in the team standings with 50 points, Nebraska will send six Huskers to Nationals. Jason Powell and Bryan Snyder both captured championship titles, while Brad Vering and Todd Beckerman took silver. Both Tony Denke and Ati Conner qualify as third place finishers. The Missouri Tigers finished with 10.5 team points and will send three wrestlers to Nationals, two as wildcards and one as an alternate. In finals matchups, Jason Powell of Nebraska captured the 125-pound championship with a 5-1 decision over #1 seed Matt Ridings of Oklahoma. Powell scored early in the second period with a takedown and 2-point nearfall, and earned a 1-point escape at the start of the third period. Ridings only point came from an escape at the beginning of the second period. Cowboy freshman Johnny Thompson upset #1 seed Todd Beckerman of Nebraska with a 3-2 decision. A tight match until the end, Thompson scored a double-leg takedown with just 34 seconds to go in the match to take the lead. Beckerman escaped with just 3 seconds left but could not score before the end of the match. At 141 pounds, Sooner Michael Lightner scored three takedowns and a reversal to earn an 8-4 decision over Oklahoma State's Charles Walker. However, Cowboy Reggie Wright retuned the favor shutting out Sooner Jared Frayer 3-0 in the 149-pound final. A tight match through the first period, Frayer choose down at the beginning of the second period and could not escape from Wright. With the score still at 0-0 at the end of the second period, Wright had the advantage with 2 minutes of riding time. Wright started the third period down and quickly reversed Frayer riding him out through the end of the match for a 3-0 decision Returning Big 12 Champion Bryan Snyder of Nebraska met senior Cyclone Cole Sanderson in the 157-pound finals. Although Sanderson scored first on a rollthrough, Snyder quickly escaped and took the lead with a double-leg takedown in the last 40 seconds of the first period. Snyder gave up a point on cautions with 8 seconds left in the match, but still managed a 9-5 decision. The #1 and #2 seeds met in the 165-pound finals. Cyclone Joe Heskett scored a takedown and reversal against Sooner Robber Waller on his way to a 5-1 decision. The top seeds also met in the 174-pound final. Oklahoma State's Tyrone Lewis came out on fire in the first period scoring the first takedown on Cyclone Perry Parks just 7 seconds into the match. As quickly as it began, Lewis hit a lateral drop and pinned Parks 1:29 seconds into the match. Continuing the battle of top seeds, Cael Sanderson took down OSU's Daniel Cormier three times on single-leg shots and captured the 184-pound championship title with an 8-3 decision over Cormier. A rematch of last year's 197-pound Big 12 Championship match pitted Cowboy Mark Munoz against returning National Champion Brad Vering from Nebraska. Vering lead the tight match through the third period when Munoz scored a takedown with 38 seconds left in the match to take a 4-3 lead. Munoz rode out Vering adding an additional riding time point for a final of 5-3. The heavyweight final was off to a slow start with the first period ending 0-0. After trading escapes at the start of the second and third periods, the match sat at 1-1 when #1 seed Leonce Crump from Oklahoma hit a double-leg takedown on the edge of the match to take the lead at 3-1 with 40 seconds left. Oklahoma State's James Huml managed an escape with 8 seconds left, but Crump held on for the 3-2 victory. The Big 12 Championships are allowed 36 spots at the NCAA Division I Championships. The top three wrestlers from each weight class are assured spots, along with six wildcard bids selected by the Big 12 coaches. In addition, the coaches also select two wrestlers to serve as alternates in case one of the 36 wrestlers is not able to participate in the tournament. Below is a list of the 36 wrestlers who will compete in the NCAA Division I Championships March 15-17 in Iowa City, Iowa, along with the two alternate nominees. 125 Pounds 1. Jason Powell (NU) 2. Matt Ridings (OU) 3. Matt Brown (OSU) 133 Pounds 1. Johnny Thompson (OSU) 2. Todd Beckerman (NU) 3. Matt Azevedo (ISU) 141 Pounds 1. Michael Lightner (OU) 2. Charles Walker (OSU) 3. Zach Roberson (ISU) 149 Pounds 1. Reggie Wright (OSU) 2. Jared Frayer (OU) 3. Billy Maldanodo (ISU) 157 Pounds 1. Bryan Snyder (NU) 2. Cole Sanderson (ISU) 3. Shane Roller (OSU) 165 Pounds 1. Joe Heskett (ISU) 2. Robbie Waller (OU) 3. Tony Denke (NU) 174 Pounds 1. Tyrone Lewis (OSU) 2. Perry Parks (ISU) 3. Ati Conner (NU) 184 Pounds 1. Cael Sanderson (ISU) 2. Daniel Cormier (OSU) 3. Josh Lambrecht (OU) 197 Pounds 1. Mark Muņoz (OSU) 2. Brad Vering (NU) 3. Zach Thompson (ISU) 285 Pounds 1. Leonce Crump (OU) 2. James Huml (OSU) 3. Mark Knauer (ISU) Wildcards 125 - Justin Spates (MU) 133 - Witt Durden (OU) 165 - Chris Pendleton (OSU) 174 - John Kopinsky (MU) 174 - Michael Barger (OU) 197 - Waymond May (OU) Alternates 157 - Brian Burrows (OU) 285 - Scott Barker (MU)
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