STILLWATER, Okla. —
Oklahoma State University wrestler Chris Perry owns that title. The Stillwater grappler claimed the 174-pound title at the NCAA Championships in March with a 2-1 overtime win over No. 2 seed Matt Brown of Penn State.
Now, the senior wants to put two time in front of those words as in two-time national champion, and bring the team championship trophy to Stillwater for the first time since 2006. The Pokes finished second in the 2013 NCAA — three points behind champion Penn State.
The Cowboys started practice Oct. 10, and will open the season at 2 p.m. Sunday in Gallagher-Iba Arena against Bucknell.
Perry finds the challenge of defending his 174-pound national title exciting.
“It took a lot of pressure off me, finally getting one. Now, I’ve got the opportunity to go win another one. It can only look better from here on out,” Perry said.
The 174-pounder also wants to uphold a family tradition.
His uncle is his coach. John Smith is considered one of the best collegiate wrestlers of all time. Smith owns six world championships and two Olympic titles. His uncle, Pat Smith, was the first wrestler to earn four NCAA individual titles. His brother, Mark Perry Jr., is a two-time national champ. His father, Mark, is a two-time All-American. Two more uncles, Lee Roy and Mark Smith are three-time All-Americans.
Perry said he enjoys the family tradition, but doesn’t feel pressure to live up to expectations.
“I love the sport. I just have fun with it and wrestle for who I am,” he said.
Perry has grown on and off the mat, the Cowboys coach said.
International competition this summer in Armenia and Poland helped prepare Perry for the upcoming collegiate season. He earned bronze medals at both events.
“When he got back, I felt he was a better wrestler because he got to see some really good wrestlers. He got to wrestle some of the best wrestlers in the world and was very competitive,” Smith said. “He won some matches and lost close by points. That builds confidence.”
The tour helped Perry assess his status against world competition. He learned he can compete against the world’s best.
“I’m right there,” Perry said. “I could put on some size. I was up 10 pounds from what I wrestled in college. ... (College wrestlers) are good but they aren’t at that level. If I can wrestle at that level, it gives me the confidence to go out every time. I’m one of the best guys in the world. It gives me the confidence to start dominating more.”
Perry compiled a 36-2 record en route to the 2013 NCAA title. The international competition increased his confidence, but the 174-pound weight class is one of the toughest in the NCAA.
The latest InterMat NCAA Division I rankings don’t have Perry rated No. 1 at his weight. That honor goes to University of Oklahoma wrestler Andrew Howe. Brown, Perry’s foe for the NCAA title, is ranked No. 3. Nebraska’s Robert Kokesh and Minnesota’s Logan Storley round out the top five.
Perry will face the top wrestlers early this season. The Pokes travel to Norman for a Dec. 1 bedlam battle with OU. They host Minnesota in a Dec. 8 dual. OSU will travel to Penn State for a dual on Feb. 16. He anticipates a rematch with Brown.
“Andrew’s a good wrestler,” Perry said. “He has been in the Olympic Trial finals, the national finals. He has won a national title. He’s good man. He’s a good opponent. I’m excited about it. It motivates me even more.”
Perry said the first semester will be tough. “I go from Howe to Storley back-to-back. I’m one of those guys that needs to prepare to a top level right out of the gate. I’m going to have my hands full.”
STILLWATER, Okla. —
- OSU Sports
- Cowboy football players, coaches to meet fans Saturday at Gallagher-Iba Arena
- Ex-OSU baseball players Hague, Oliver on new paths in All-Star season
- NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules
- ESPN College GameDay to televise from OSU opener with Seminoles
UPDATE: Oklahoma State University football team won't lose practice time
In May, the NCAA reduced the football program’s practice time from 20 hours a week to 18 hours a week because it failed to meet four-year Academic Progress Rate standards by less than a point. Oklahoma State athletic department officials discovered this summer the recent graduation of a student-athlete from the 1990s. The addition of the delayed graduation point pushed the Cowboys above the threshold for restriction, according to OSU’s Senior Associate Athletic Director for Compliance Kevin Fite.
BREAKING NEWS: Oklahoma State football won't lose practice time after all
Oklahoma State University working with the NCAA has found enough extra points to lift its four-year Academic Progress Rate for the football team to a 930, and the Cowboys will be allowed to practice the maximum of 20 hours a week this fall.
Incoming Cowboys win Fargo wrestling titles
Incoming Oklahoma State freshmen wrestlers Ryan Blees and Chandler Rogers each turned in dominating championship performances at the ASICS/Vaughan Junior Freestyle Nationals Saturday, claiming the 160 and 170 pound titles, respectfully.
Brooklyn Nets Sign Markel Brown, Cory Jefferson
The Brooklyn Nets have signed guard Markel Brown and forward Cory Jefferson to multi-year contracts, General Manager Billy King announced Wednesday.
Cowboys, Sooners men's basketball teams to play in Las Vegas
MGM Grand will play host to two premium regular season events next season featuring a total of 12 teams and 10 games at the 16,000-seat MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Second-year OC Yurcich optimistic
With the 2014 season on the brink, Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State University football offensive coordinator, is ready for his second year at the helm after coaching a powerful offensive squad a year ago.
- More OSU Sports Headlines