Stillwater News Press

March 6, 2011

Oklahoma State University wins Big 12 wrestling championship

By Chris Day
Stillwater NewsPress

AMES, Iowa — Oklahoma State crowned five individual wrestling champions en route to a Big 12 team title repeat Saturday.

Oklahoma State finished with 77 points. Missouri claimed second with 60, while Oklahoma came in third with 59.5. Nebraska and Iowa State were fourth and fifth,

OSU’s Jordan Oliver (133), Jamal Parks (149), Neil Erisman (157), Chris Perry (184) and Clayton Foster (197) won individual titles.

The Cowboys had one wrestler finish second and two take third place.

The third-place finishes by freshman Josh Kindig (141) and redshirt freshmen Dallas Bailey (165) established the tone for the finals, OSU wrestling coach John Smith said.

“We had five freshmen in the 10 weight classes. The two finishing third led us to the finals,” Smith said. “It was good to see us win five championships today, but we were far from perfect in the finals. What we did today was show that we had a lot in the gas tank when it counted. This is a well-conditioned team.”

Jordan Oliver also set the tone for OSU in the 133-pound bout. He picked up two takedowns and two nearfalls in the first period and cruised to a 15-3 major decision over Oklahoma’s Jordan Keller.

“I’m really looking forward to going to nationals,” Oliver said who grew up in Easton, Pa. “It will be really exciting to go back home and hopefully win first place. Winning it in front of my family and friends would be awesome.”

Oliver, Parks and Foster repeated as individual Big 12 champions.

Senior Neil Erisman picked up his first Big 12 title with a 4-2 decision over Missouri’s Nick Gregoris.

“It means a lot to be part of two Big 12-champion teams,” Erisman said. “In my first year actually wrestling, we finished 16th in the country and fourth in the Big 12. That’s not what Oklahoma State does. It’s nice to be considered as a leader for a team that turned things back around and won championships.”

One of Oklahoma State’s five freshmen won an individual championship. Stillwater’s own Chris Perry defeated Nebraska’s Josh Ihnen, 3-2 in a tiebreaker, to claim the 184-pound title.

Perry became the 16th Cowboy freshmen to win a conference title.

“Early in the season, if I was in a 3-2 match like that, I would have panicked and lost my cool,” Perry said. “One of the biggest things I’ve learned this season through some of the early adversity is to control my emotions better. It’s great to be out here and see your teammates in almost every championship match. It gets me more excited to do my part.”

In the 174-pound bout, Iowa State’s Jon Reader (34-0) remained undefeated by winning a 14-3 major decision over OSU’s Mike Benefiel.

Oklahoma had five finalists, but none won individual crowns.