By Brett Barger
NORMAN. Okla. — This year’s Big 12 Wrestling Championships was about a sophomore and junior from Oklahoma State.
Junior Clayton Foster has had his share of adversity at the Big 12 Championships, having finished fourth last year and fifth in 2008. This year, the 184-pounder’s win over Max Askren of Missouri sealed his first individual Big 12 Championship, and clinched the team title for Oklahoma State Saturday night.
OSU scored 70.5 points with Iowa State second at 69. Oklahoma was third with 64, followed by Missouri with 33 and Nebraska with 32.
Foster’s 10-6 win over Askren was his first win in five tries against Askren. Oklahoma State’s 1.5-point margin of victory is the second-closest finish in Big 12 history.
“It’s definitely good to be on top in the Big 12. They become really special when you haven’t won one in a while,” OSU coach John Smith said after winning his 11th conference championship but first since 2006. “Clayton sealing the deal at 184 against a tough competitor is a special win for him.”
Redshirt freshman Jordan Oliver, who defeated Nick Fanthorpe of Iowa State 6-2 in the 133-pound final, was named Co-Outstanding Wrestler, along with 125-pounder Jarrod Patterson of Oklahoma. It is the first time in 13 years that the Outstanding Wrestler award was shared. In the end, Oliver takes the trophy back to Stillwater after winning a coin flip.
“I had no clue I was going to get that,” Oliver said. “I was pretty sure it was going to be Clayton or even Patterson. It was awesome. It’s an exciting feeling that I got voted outstanding wrestler in the Big 12 conference with all of these great wrestlers. I guess it’s something I’m going to have to keep pushing for for the next three years.
“It’s an awesome feeling, coming out this year after not competing last year. I was anxious to get on the mat and finally being able to compete, I wanted to take advantage of it.”
Jamal Parks also won his first Big 12 Championship after defeating Zack Bailey of Oklahoma, 3-2, in the 141-pound final. Parks avenges a 3-2 Bedlam loss to Bailey February 21 in Stillwater.
“I knew I didn’t wrestle my best match last time,” said Parks, who finished third at last year’s Big 12 meet. “Even though it wasn’t my best tournament, I’m glad that I showed perseverance and pursued every match.
“I had to keep my position low, and keep on the attack, and not let up. That’s what I did in the last Bedlam is let up, and he capitalized on that. That was a good job on his part, but I’m not going to let it happen again.”
The biggest upset of the night came in the heavyweight finale. Jared Rosholt’s bid to become the sixth Cowboy heavyweight in school history to win multiple conference championships ended in a 3-1 loss in the seventh period to David Zabriskie of Iowa State.
Rosholt, Mike Benefiel and Neil Erisman each lost in the finals. Smith said he believes Rosholt will bounce back as he begins his quest for that elusive NCAA title on March 18.
“It shouldn’t be a set back for him. It should be a motivator as he goes into this week,” Smith said. “I don’t feel that it should really be something that grabs ahold of him and really gets him excited about next week and the training and being able to understand a little bit that he can control his destiny from this point forward.”
Big 12 Championship
1. Oklahoma State 70.5; 2. Iowa State 69; 3. Oklahoma 64; 4. Missouri 33; 5. Nebraska 32
(Seeds in parentheses)
Pigtail: (4) David Klingsheim (NU) def. (5) Eric Wilson, 4-2
Semifinals: (1) Andrew Long (ISU) pinned Klingsheim, 4:36; (2) Jarrod Patterson (OU) def. (3) Chris Notte (OSU), 2-1
Consolation Semifinal: Notte def. Wilson, 16-2
Third-Place Match: Notte def. Klingsheim, 6-4
Championship Match: Patterson def. Long, 5-3
Pigtail: (5) Nathan McCormick (MU) def. C.J. Napier (NU), 3-1
Semifinals: (1) Jordan Oliver (OSU) def. McCormick, 10-2; (2) Nick Fanthorpe (ISU) def. (3) Kendric Maple (OU), 3-0
Consolation Semifinal: Maple def. Napier, 4-2
Third-Place Match: Maple def. McCormick, 14-3
Championship Match: Oliver def. Fanthorpe, 6-2
Pigtail: (5) Dalton Jensen (ISU) def. (4) Mike Koehlein (NU), 11-2
Semifinals: (1) Zach Bailey (OU) def. Jensen, 11-6; (2) Jamal Parks (OSU) def. (3) Todd Schavrien (MU), 7-6
Consolation Semifinal: Schavrien maj. dec. Koehlein, 13-6
Third-Place Match: Schavrien def. Jensen, 8-7
Championship Match: Parks def. Bailey, 3-2
Pigtail: (4) Nicholas Hucke (MU) pinned (5) Dustin Payne (MU), 4:27
Semifinals: (1) Kyle Terry (OU) maj. dec. (4) Hucke, 13-4; (2) Mitch Mueller (ISU) def. (3) Luke Silver (OSU), 10-3
Consolation Semifinal: Silver pinned Payne, 1:00
Third-Place Match: Hucke def. Silver, 9-6
Championship Match: Terry def. Mueller, 4-2
Pigtail: (5) Tyler Koehn (NU) def. (4) Patrick Wright (MU), 11-2
Semifinals: (1) Shane Vernon (OU) def. Koehn, 4-1; (3) Neil Erisman (OSU) def. (2) Andrew Sorenson (ISU) 8-2
Consolation Semifinal: Sorenson maj. dec. Wright, 15-4
Third-Place Match: Sorenson def. Koehn, 2-1
Championship Match: Vernon def. Erisman, 6-5
Pigtail: (4) Tyler Caldwell (OU) def. (5) James Nakashima (MU), 5-0
Semifinals: (1) Jon Reader (ISU) def. Caldwell, 6-2; (2) Nicholas Marable (MU) def. Alex Meade (OSU), 2-1
Consolation Semifinal: Mead def. Nakashima, 11-4
Third-Place Match: Caldwell def. Meade, 4-0
Championship Match: Marable def. Reader, 6-5
Pigtail: (4) Duke Burk (ISU) def. (5) Dorian Henderson (MU), 7-4
Semifinals: (1) Stephen Dwyer (NU) def. Burk, 2-1; (2) Mike Benefiel (OSU) def. (3) Jeff James (OU), 6-2
Consolation Semifinal: James def. Henderson, 8-6
Third-Place Match: Burk def. James, 3-1
Championship Match: Dwyer def. Benefiel, 9-5
Pigtail: (4) Josh Ihnen (NU) def. (5) Erich Schmidtke (OU), 8-3
Semifinals: (1) Max Askren (MU) def. Ihnen, 2-1; (4) Clayton Foster (OSU) def. Jerome Ward (ISU), 6-5
Consolation Semifinal: Schmidtke def. Ward, 4-3
Third-Place Match: Ihnen def. Schmidtke, 4-0
Championship March: Foster def. Askren, 10-6
Pigtail: (4) Brent Haynes (MU) def. (5) Alan Gelogaev (OSU), 6-5
Semifinals: (1) Jake Varner (ISU) maj. dec. Haynes, 14-3; (2) Craig Brester (NU) def. (3) Eric Lapotsky (OU), 6-1
Consolation Semifinal: Lapotsky def. Gelogaev, 4-1
Third-Place Match: Lapotsky def. Haynes, 5-1
Championship Match: Varner def. Brester, 5-2
Pigtail: (4) Tucker Lane (NU) def. (5) Nathan Fernandez (OU), 3-1
Semifinals: (1) Jared Rosholt (OSU) def. Lane, 5-3; (2) David Zabriskie (ISU) def. (3) Mark Ellis (MU), 2-1
Consolation Semifinal: Fernandez def. Ellis, 5-4
Third-Place Match: Lane def. Fernandez, 3-1
Championship Match: Zabriskie def. Rosholt, 3-1