Little Rock takes out #16 Oregon State, moves to 2-0 in Pac-12 competition

by Little Rock Athletics

Little Rock heavyweight Josiah Hill (Photo by Benjamin Krain, Little Rock Athletics)

HILLSBORO, Ore. – The Trojans are heating up. Little Rock wrestling took out #16 Oregon State for back-to-back ranked team wins, bringing them to 2-0 in Pac-12 competition for the first time in program history. Yet another first.

Following their historic victory over formerly ranked #24 Arizona State last weekend, Little Rock hit the road and didn't let the travel deter them - nor the fact that the Trojans had never scored more than nine team points in a dual against Oregon State before tonight.

Instead, they went right into the first bout with a vengeance as Jeremiah Reno pinned #15 Brandon Kaylor in the second period to give Little Rock the 6-0 lead out the gates. According to head coach Neil Erisman, it was exactly what the team needed and what Reno himself needed for his own confidence.

Cool as usual, Nasir Bailey followed with a major decision over a fellow ranked opponent, and in just two bouts the Trojans had already collected more team points against the Beavers than they ever had before.

Oregon State took the next three matches, but they were all by decision and the Beavers still trailed by just one team point. Cael Keck and Kyle Dutton, both redshirt freshmen, were right in the fight against top-20 individuals, dropping their matches by three points or less.

Like last weekend, it was Joseph Bianchi that gave the Trojans a spark to reignite. He shut out his opponent with a 10-0 major decision to give Little Rock the bonus points they needed. Especially since Oregon State tied it up 14-14 in the next bout, then took a three-point team lead in the one after, despite Triston Wills holding the number four guy in the country to a three-point decision.

Stepping up to the mat, Stephen Little took out another ranked opponent to bring the dual to a 17-17 tie as well as place the final score in the hands of the heavyweights.

And heavyweight Josiah Hill did not disappoint. Not only did he defeat a ranked opponent of his own for the second Trojan upest of the evening, his takedown in the last minute of the match handed Little Rock the overall team victory as the Trojans continue to pave their own destiny.

What exactly did head Coach Erisman say to the team before they hit the mat tonight? "I just reminded them that we've only won a maximum of two matches in a dual against these guys before. You've got to earn the respect and earn the right to beat this team."

"We knew we were in a tough situation at some positions," he added, "but I feel good about our performance and the way they responded. We're showing that we can win duals in many different ways. It's awesome to see the guys fighting together and find a way."

Coach Erisman took a brief moment to soak everything in and reminiscence about the differences between where they were just five years ago and today. "It's an incredible feeling to be here. In our first year, we were just worried about guys not getting hurt so we could fill a squad."

Now, as the Trojans have been building their base over the past few years, they're finally breaking through. "God is good all the time, even when we're getting our heads kicked in. Getting over the hump of finally beating a ranked team gives our guys the confidence that we're right here. Staying mentally tough and disciplined to do what we're doing every day does pay off. The best part is that there's still a lot of room for improvement."

The Trojans now look ahead to their dual at Stanford this Sunday at 3 p.m. PST to close their road swing on the West Coast. Tune in on the Pac-12 Network to cheer on Little Rock from home and get ready for yet another dual between two ranked teams.

#25 Little Rock 20, #16 Oregon State 17

125: Jeremiah Reno F #15 Brandon Kaylor (Oregon State), 4:26

133: #13 Nasir Bailey MD #28 Gabe Whisenhunt (Oregon State), 13-4

141: #18 Cleveland Belton (Oregon State) DEC Cael Keck, 7-5

149: #18 Nash Singleton (Oregon State) DEC Kyle Dutton, 11-8

157: Isaiah Crosby (Oregon State) DEC Matty Bianchi, 9-7

165: Joseph Bianchi MD Kekana Fouret (Oregon State), 10-0

174: #13 Matthew Olguin (Oregon State) TF Brendon Abdon, 21-14 (6:31)

184: #4 Trey Munoz (Oregon State) DEC Triston Wills, 11-8

197: #11 Stephen Little DEC #28 Justin Rademacher (Oregon State), 10-3

285: Josiah Hill DEC #17 Boone McDermott (Oregon State), 4-1