By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
After beating the No. 4-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes on Sunday, one would think the Oklahoma State University wrestling team would be pleased with the victory. At the press conference after the match, the No. 2 Cowboys were less than satisfied.
“If I had any disappointment, it was with our leads,” coach John Smith said. “When we got a lead, we didn’t get the critical rides and we let them up. Those type of things put a little damper on our overall performance.”
Iowa scored after most of Oklahoma State’s takedowns. Five of the Cowboys’ six bout victories were by one point. Most of those victories were clinched with third period takedowns. Chris Perry said everyone could have done better.
“Satisfying is not winning by one for most of us,” Perry said. “I keep going back to a win is a win. We are going for more than a win in a dual meet in a match against Iowa. We all have the same goals of being national champions.”
Perry, who is ranked first in the 174-pound weight class, beat Mike Evans, who is ranked fourth. The junior from Stillwater said he wasn’t pleased.
“It’s back-to-back matches that I’ve had against quality guys and just shutting down my offense again,” Perry said. “It’s going to take more to win a national title then what I’m doing right now. I got to notice it as coaches are telling me and change it.”
Junior Tyler Caldwell and senior Chris Chionuma said they were looking to get takedowns early in their matches.
“I wanted to score as many points as I could,” Caldwell said. “I wanted to take control of the match right away. If I could get a first period takedown, I felt I could have opened the match up more. ... I just got into a hand fighting match with (Iowa’s Nick Moore) and I just had to grind one out.”
“I tried to get the takedown in the first period,” Chionuma said. “It wasn’t working. I was trying to wrestle outside. I kept it close it was 0-0. Second period, I got the escape, I was trying to get the takedown. In the third period, I felt I was breaking him as I was putting pressure on him. His left foot stepped out and I hit that ankle strapped down and finished it.”
The Hawkeyes won four of the first five bouts to take a 12-3 lead. Jordan Oliver won the lone match with a 10-4 decision over Iowa’s Michael Kelly. Oklahoma State didn’t lead in the bouts it lost but kept it close enough to not allow Iowa to score bonus points. Smith said he liked the effort but said those weights need to do better.
“That’s good for a dual meet,” Smith said. “It’s really important that those guys understand that my mentality is going to have to change from this point. ‘I’m glad I helped my team. If I did lose, I didn’t give up bonus points. I helped the team but where I’m a going to go from here.’”
The Cowboys face West Virginia in a conference dual Friday at home. Smith said he’s looking forward to making improvements.
“I’m fired up because I think this tape is going to help me and this team get better,” Smith said.