Stillwater News Press

College Sports

March 1, 2014

Cowboy wrestling to celebrate special senior class Sunday

STILLWATER, Okla. — This senior class for Oklahoma State has a chance to become one of the most decorated in Cowboy wrestling history.

With Chris Perry, Tyler Caldwell, Jon Morrison and Blake Rosholt, the senior group — which also includes Darnell Bortz, Tyler Dorrell and Tommy Diaz — could become the third graduate class with 11 All-American honors, which is the most by a senior class (1999 and 2007).

“Between the four of them, it’s incredible what these guys have done,” Cowboy coach John Smith said. “It’s been a good run for them, and obviously the next few weeks as we prepare for the NCAA championships, they’ve got a chance to equal some of our best teams ever.”

The senior class has been even more special for Smith because it includes a family member.

Perry, a four-time state champion for Stillwater High, is the nephew of the two-time Olympic gold medalist. And after three years under his uncle — the first as redshirt — Perry reached the pinnacle of college wrestling last spring by winning the national championship at 174 pounds.

“It’s been fun. It’s been a good time with him in the room,” Smith said of Perry, a two-time All-American. “I love coaching him, but more important, I love being his uncle, as well. I just love what I’ve seen him do over the past five years.”

Caldwell has had a unique journey to his senior season as a Cowboy.

The Wichita, Kan., native spent his first two years for Bedlam rival Oklahoma — where he was two-time All-American, and a runnerup at 165 pounds his sophomore season. In his first year with Oklahoma State, Caldwell finished third at NCAAs, upsetting the No. 3 seed, to become a three-time All-American.

“Caldwell’s been a guy that’s a worker, he just loves to work and he doesn’t complain,” the Cowboy coach said. “He’s one of those guys that when it comes down to it with what he’s done in his career, there wasn’t a lot of people who probably expected that. ... He’s got a really bright future in whatever he wants to do.”

With names like Perry, Caldwell and Jordan Oliver, a two-time national champion who graduated last year, Morrison has lost in the mix of the big names. But last year, the Orland Park, Ill., native defeated the five seed to finish fifth and earn his first All-American honor.

“He’s been a steady guy for us, and those steady guys do get lost at times in the big picture,” Smith said. “But they’re also the guys that make you feel real comfortable about your team, and that’s what Jon does for me. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Jon, since after his sophomore year with the kind of guy he became — both on and off the mat.

“He’s been everything we hoped he was. I believe that he’s at the toughest weight in the country, but he’s definitely one of the toughest guys and his career here has helped him build into the guy he needs to be.”

Rosholt had the pressure of being the younger brother of not one, but two former Cowboy wrestlers — both of whom were three-time All-Americans at OSU in Jake and Jared, who was the winningest heavyweight in the history of Cowboy wrestling.

The Ponca City native has had an up-and-down career for the Cowboys, with injuries plaguing him for much of it — including a portion of this year. Last year, he earned All-American status at 197 pounds with an eighth-place finish at NCAAs, and will be a key contributor if this senior class is to tie program history.

“He’s probably at times struggled with it, but hopefully he’s grown out of it. One thing you want to do is embrace your family’s success and never let it be something that’s going to set you back,” Smith said. “That’s easy to say than actually do, but this senior year of his has been nothing easy. It’s been a real struggle for him, but I think his best wrestling his still ahead of him.”

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