Day of disappointment for Cowboy wrestling

Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics Oklahoma State wrestler Kaid Brock takes down Wyoming's Montorie Bridges on Day 2 of the NCAA Championships in Cleveland. Brock is the lone Cowboy who can improve his finish as All-American.

For the first time since 2012, Oklahoma State will be without an individual champion.

In fact, it is the first time since 2009 that OSU failed to even send one wrestler to the NCAA national championship semifinals after five Cowboys lost in the quarterfinals Friday morning.

Oklahoma State will still have four All-Americans – all of which graduated from Oklahoma high schools – a year after leaving the national tournament with eight All-Americans. Shockingly, one of those four locks for All-American honors will not be two-time national champion Dean Heil – the lone senior starter.

With the wheels coming off in the quarterfinals, the Cowboys began to plummet in the team standings. After four sessions, Oklahoma State was 12th in the team running and has no chance of creeping into the top 10. OSU has only finished outside of the top 10 one other time in program history – a 16th-place finish in 2009.

Based on seeding, four of the five Cowboys were expected to lose in the quarterfinals.

However, Stillwater native Kaid Brock – the No. 4 seed at 133 pounds – was upset by 13-5 major decision by unseeded Tariq Wilson of N.C. State. It was a massive shift from earlier in the year when Brock beat Wilson by 16-1 technical fall at the dual in Naples, Italy.

Brock is the only Cowboy with the chance of improving his finish in the consolations after a 16-7 major decision over Virginia’s Jack Mueller and a 12-7 decision over Montorie Bridges of Wyoming. He can finish as high as third at 133 pounds, and no worse than sixth.

The quarterfinals started in a bit of a shock when sixth-seeded Nick Piccininni not only lost to No. 3-seed Spencer Lee of Iowa, but the freshman Hawkeye pinned Piccininni in the second period. It was only the third time in his Cowboy career that the redshirt sophomore from East Setauket, New York, has suffered a fall.

He was unable to get things rolling again to secure All-American honors when he lost by 16-0 technical fall to Minnesota’s Ethan Lizak.

Right after Brock was bounced in the quarters, two-time national champion Dean Heil saw his quest for a third title fall one point short against No. 3 seed Yianni Diakomihalis of Cornell when Heil gave up a reversal and a takedown late in the match to lose by 6-5 decision.

It would get worse for Heil in the consolation bracket. With only having the hopes of finishing as an All-American in his final year at Stillwater, Heil’s Cowboy career actually ended with him getting pinned in the consolations – one match shy of becoming a four-time All-American.

It was four straight losses in the quarterfinals for the Cowboys when Yukon native Boo Lewallen fell by 20-2 technical fall to top-seeded Zain Retherford of Penn State at 149 pounds. He would survive a 9-4 decision in the consolation to reach the podium, but lost to Iowa’s Brandon Sorensen by 13-3 major decision to slot into the seventh-place match.

If there were any moral victories in the quarterfinals it came from No. 9 seed Derek White, wrestling as a true heavyweight for the first time in his college career.

The junior from Edmond found himself tied heading to the third period against two-time NCAA national champion and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder of Ohio State. White was unable to pull off the upset, however, losing by 6-3 decision.

However, White would lose his next match to Hofstra’s Mike Hughes by 6-1 decision to end his tournament.

There are two other Cowboys that have worked their way through the consolation bracket throughout the second day to earn All-American honors.

Stillwater High graduate Chandler Rogers, who lost his opening match of the tournament, rallied with four straight wins before losing a 9-7 decision to Lock Haven’s Chance Marsteller – who started his college career at Oklahoma State – and will wrestle for seventh at 165 pounds.

Muskogee native Jacobe Smith won a pair of matches Friday to reach All-American status in his first year – after winning two junior college national championships. His 16-2 major decision loss to Ohio State’s Bo Jordan locked him into the seventh-place match.