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BIG 12 PREVIEW: Oklahoma State looks to claim ninth-straight conference title

by Joe Wedra, Special to

Feature photo courtesy of Oklahoma State Athletics.

The 2021 Big 12 Wrestling Championship is set to take place March 6-7 as six individual conference champions from the 2020 tournament will return to the mat to defend their titles this weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma State Cowboys will look to win their ninth-straight Big 12 title.

The action at 125 pounds is highlighted by a pair of wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of the latest NCAA Coaches Panel rankings. Brody Teske of Northern Iowa and Taylor LaMont of Utah Valley are the first and second seeds respectively. Trevor Mastrogiovanni, Oklahoma State’s young standout, is also set to be in the mix as the third seed. Teske, a four-time Iowa state champion, leads a talented field that includes West Virginia’s Killian Cardinale, South Dakota State’s Danny Vega and Air Force’s Cody Phippen, who are all ranked in the latest coaches poll.

At 133 pounds, Daton Fix enters the tournament looking to win his second conference title for Oklahoma State. The Cowboy will be challenged by West Virginia’s Ryan Sullivan, South Dakota State’s Zach Price and Air Force’s Jared Van Vleet, the second through fourth seeds. In total, all 12 schools have a wrestler ranked in the coaches panel rankings. 

Iowa State’s Ian Parker leads the way at 141 pounds, seeded just above Oklahoma‘s Dom Demas. When the teams met in January, Parker notched a late takedown and edged out Demas, 4-3. Clay Carlson of South Dakota State is the third seed, while DJ Lloren of Fresno State is the fourth seed. Lloren is Fresno State’s highest-ranked wrestler in the tournament.

At 149 pounds, Oklahoma State’s Boo Lewallen sits atop the seeds and looks to win his third Big 12 title of his career. Lewallen was ranked as the No. 5 seed at last year’s eventually-cancelled NCAA tournament. Andrew Alirez, who is ranked No. 20 in the latest coaches panel rankings, will be the second seed in the tournament. Oklahoma’s Mitch Moore will be the third seed, while fourth-seeded Triston Lara will look to make a run in the tournament. Lara pinned Iowa State’s Jarrett Degen in February. Degen is the fifth seed and is ranked ninth in the coaches rankings.

Iowa State’s David Carr is the top seed as the favorite at 157 pounds in the Big 12. Carr has been dominant again this season, posting a perfect 12-0 record and checking in at third in the coaches panel rankings. Oklahoma’s Justin Thomas will be the weight’s second seed, while Jared Franek of North Dakota State is seeded third. Thomas finished his regular season with a major decision win over Oklahoma State’s Wyatt Sheets, who enters the tournament seeded sixth for the Cowboys. 

Travis Wittlake of Oklahoma State is the number one seed at 165 pounds, the third Cowboy who earned a top seed. Wittlake, a redshirt sophomore, was ranked third in the coaches poll. West Virginia’s Peyton Hall enters as the second seed, while Cole Moody of Wyoming is the third seed and Luke Weber of North Dakota State rounds out the top four.

Utah Valley’s Demetrius Romero and Wyoming’s Hayden Hastings are the first and second seeds respectively at 174 pounds. At the UVU Round Robin in January, Romero knocked off Hastings, 5-3. Both are ranked in the top ten of the latest coaches poll. Oklahoma State’s Dustin Plott, 15th in the poll, and Lance Runyon of Northern Iowa, ranked 20th, are the third and fourth seeds.

At 184 pounds, Northern Iowa’s Parker Keckeisen is the top seed in a weight class loaded with talent. The redshirt freshman knocked off Oklahoma State’s Dakota Geer (No. 3 seed) earlier this year in a 4-2 match that went to overtime. Keckeisen is ranked just above Wyoming’s Tate Samuelson, who also defeated Geer. All three wrestlers are within the top 11 of the coaches rankings. Northern Colorado’s Alan Clothier is seeded fourth, while Iowa State’s Sam Colbray will be the fifth seed.

197 pounds brings one of the more intriguing conference brackets across the country. The weight is led by South Dakota State’s Tanner Sloan, who is a perfect 13-0 on the season with an 11-0 dual meet record. Sloan is followed by Wyoming’s Stephen Buchanan, who knocked off third-seeded Noah Adams of West Virginia not once but twice this season. The fourth seed is Oklahoma State’s AJ Ferrari, while Jake Woodley of Oklahoma is seeded fifth. All five wrestlers are in the top 15 of the latest coaches poll.

Iowa State’s Gannon Gremmel leads the way at heavyweight to highlight yet another weight loaded with talent. Gremmel is 11-1 this season, with his only loss coming to Cohlton Schultz of Arizona State. Northern Iowa’s Carter Isley is the second seed, while returning champion Brian Andrews of Wyoming is seeded third. 

Event: 2021 Big 12 Wrestling Championship
Location: BOK Center (Tulsa, Oklahoma)
Date: March 6-7
Big 12 Conference: 45 automatic qualifiers
125 (5), 133 (5), 141 (4), 149 (5), 157 (3), 165 (5), 174 (4), 184 (4), 197 (5), 285 (5)

Trackwrestling Top-30 Tournament Ranked Teams
6. Oklahoma State
13. Iowa State
T-20. Utah Valley
T-23. Oklahoma
T-23. Wyoming
26. Northern Iowa
T-28. South Dakota State
T-30. Northern Colorado
T-30. West Virginia


125 Pounds

  1. Brody Teske, Northern Iowa
  2. Taylor LaMont, Utah Valley
  3. Trevor Mastrogiovanni, Oklahoma State
  4. Killian Cardinale, West Virginia
  5. Danny Vega, South Dakota State
  6. Cody Phippen, Air Force
  7. Kysen Terukina, Iowa State
  8. Mason Naifeh, Oklahoma

133 Pounds

  1. Daton Fix, Oklahoma State
  2. Ryan Sullivan, West Virginia
  3. Zach Price, South Dakota State
  4. Jared Van Vleet, Air Force
  5. Mosha Schwartz, Northern Colorado
  6. Job Greenwood, Wyoming
  7. Zach Redding, Iowa State
  8. Ty Smith, Utah Valley

141 Pounds

  1. Ian Parker, Iowa State
  2. Dom Demas, Oklahoma
  3. Clay Carlson, South Dakota State
  4. DJ Lloren, Fresno State
  5. Lenny Petersen, Air Force
  6. Chris Sandoval, Northern Colorado
  7. Dylan Droegemueller, North Dakota State
  8. Chase Zollman, Wyoming

149 Pounds

  1. Boo Lewallen, Oklahoma State
  2. Andrew Alirez, Northern Colorado
  3. Mitch Moore, Oklahoma
  4. Triston Lara, Northern Iowa
  5. Jarrett Degen, Iowa State
  6. Dylan Martinez, Air Force
  7. Cameron Hunsaker, Utah Valley
  8. Jaden Van Maanen, North Dakota State

157 Pounds

  1. David Carr, Iowa State
  2. Justin Thomas, Oklahoma
  3. Jared Franek, North Dakota State
  4. Cade DeVos, South Dakota State
  5. Jacob Wright, Wyoming
  6. Wyatt Sheets, Oklahoma State
  7. Danny Snediker, Utah Valley
  8. Parker Simington, Air Force

165 Pounds

  1. Travis Wittlake, Oklahoma State
  2. Peyton Hall, West Virginia
  3. Cole Moody, Wyoming
  4. Luke Weber, North Dakota State
  5. Isaac Judge, Iowa State
  6. Jordan Robison, Northern Colorado
  7. Austin Yant, Northern Iowa
  8. Colten Carlson, South Dakota State

174 Pounds

  1. Demetrius Romero, Utah Valley
  2. Hayden Hastings, Wyoming
  3. Dustin Plott, Oklahoma State
  4. Lance Runyon, Northern Iowa
  5. Cody Surratt, Air Force
  6. Jackson Hemauer, Northern Colorado
  7. Cade King, South Dakota State
  8. Anthony Mantanona, Oklahoma

184 Pounds

  1. Parker Keckeisen, Northern Iowa
  2. Tate Samuelson, Wyoming
  3. Dakota Geer, Oklahoma State
  4. Alan Clothier, Northern Colorado
  5. Sam Colbray, Iowa State
  6. Anthony Carman, West Virginia
  7. Darrien Roberts, Oklahoma
  8. Hunter Cruz, Fresno State

197 Pounds

  1. Tanner Sloan, South Dakota State
  2. Stephen Buchanan, Wyoming
  3. Noah Adams, West Virginia
  4. AJ Ferrari, Oklahoma State
  5. Jake Woodley, Oklahoma
  6. Marcus Coleman, Iowa State
  7. Owen Pentz, North Dakota State
  8. Kayne Hutchinson, Air Force

285 Pounds

  1. Gannon Gremmel, Iowa State
  2. Carter Isley, Northern Iowa
  3. Brian Andrews, Wyoming
  4. Josh Heindselman, Oklahoma
  5. Austin Harris, Oklahoma State
  6. Wyatt Hendrickson, Air Force
  7. Brandon Metz, North Dakota State
  8. Blake Wolters, South Dakota State

2020 NWCA Division I First-Team All-Americans Returning
Dom Demas (Oklahoma), Ian Parker (Iowa State), Jarrett Degan (Iowa State), Boo Lewallen (Oklahoma State), David Carr (Iowa State), Travis Wittlake (Oklahoma State)

2020 Big 12 Champions Returning
141: Ian Parker, Iowa State
149: Boo Lewallen, Oklahoma State
157: David Carr, Iowa State
165: Travis Wittlake, Oklahoma State
197: Noah Adams, West Virginia
285: Brian Andrews, Wyoming

2020 Big 12 Championship Results
1: Oklahoma State
2: Iowa State
3: Northern Iowa
4: South Dakota State
5: North Dakota State
6: Oklahoma
7: Wyoming
8: Northern Colorado
9: Fresno State
10: West Virginia
11: Utah Valley
12: Air Force

Schedule of Events

Saturday, March 6
Session 1: Preliminary & Quarterfinal Matches [Big 12 Now on ESPN+] – 11 a.m. CT
Session 2: Semifinal & Consolation Quarterfinal Matches [Big 12 Now on ESPN+]  – 5 p.m. CT

Sunday, March 7
Session 3: Consolation Semifinals, Third & Fifth Place Matches  [Big 12 Now on ESPN+] – 10 a.m. CT
Session 4: Championship Matches [ESPN2] – 5 p.m.  CT

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