By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
After defeating the No. 4 Iowa Hawkeyes, the No. 2 Oklahoma State Cowboys wrestling team is making improvements and preparing for West Virginia and Pittsburgh.
“They are moving on,” coach John Smith said. “It’s time to get back to work and prepare for two matches this week. Obviously we’re working on the areas we talked about that we had deficiencies — finishing off matches on top and breaking people down.”
Oklahoma State beat Iowa 18-12 but Smith saw plenty of things his team could improve. Jordan Oliver said they are focused on fixing the things Smith pointed out.
“Things he pointed out was late takedowns and returning people to the mat,” Oliver said. “Also, some of us didn’t compete at the end of matches. We let guys in on the end of legs and didn’t wrestle a full seven minutes. We have a lot of things to improve but it’s a long way until March.”
Chris Perry, top-ranked in the 174-pound weight class, won his match on Sunday but wasn’t satisfied with his performance, adding he’s fired up about preparing for West Virginia and Pittsburgh.
“I sat down Sunday night by myself and generalized about it,” Perry said. “I got to get back to the basics. I’m not making big mistakes, it’s little things that you learn as a little kid, like staying in your stance the whole time. I’m focusing on the little things right now. They aren’t costing me matches but from dominating.”
Chris Chionuma upset Ethen Lofthouse, who was ranked 10th in the 184-pound weight class. The win earned Chionuma Wrestler of the Week on TheMat.com and moved him up from 15th to 10th. Chionuma said though he was happy with the victory he had things he could improve.
“I have to work on my top game,” Chionuma said. “I feel like I should have been scoring more in the match. It feels good that after I get through that match I can beat opponents like that. I do need to get two or three more takedowns and get riding times points.”
The Cowboys (8-0) dual West Virginia at 7 p.m. Friday at Gallagher-Iba Arena. The Mountaineers enter the dual with a 1-3 record and haven’t placed better than 10th in tournaments. The only ranked Mountaineer is in the 141-pound weight class with Nathan Pennesi at 14th. Perry said though West Virginia isn’t highly ranked there is no difference in preparation.
“We don’t underestimate anyone because you never know what could happen,” Perry said. “We train for the worst situations whether we are down 5-0 and have to make a comeback. ... We train for every matches and every person the same. We are ready for every match.”
Pittsburgh faces Oklahoma State at 1 p.m. Sunday. The Panthers (6-3) enter the dual ranked 17th. Several of Pittsburgh’s wrestler our ranked setting up ranked matchups including at heavyweight, with OSU’s Alan Gelogaev, ranked third vs. Pitt’s Zac Thomusseit, ranked sixth. Chionuma faces Max Thomusseit, who is ranked 13th. Smith said both teams are quality opponents.
“West Virginia is a conference match that will critical in the conference duals,” Smith said. “Every point will matter. We need to make sure we don’t take it lightly and get as many points as we can. Pittsburgh is a good team. Probably going in they have several guys favored.”
Smith said he’s looking forward to having both games at home.
“It’s a big advantage,” Smith said. “After this weekend, we are on the road for several weeks. A month of traveling in February will be testy but nothing that puts us at a disadvantage.”