By Jason Elmquist
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Oklahoma State University wrestling team came up on the short end of another top 5 matchup Sunday at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
A week after falling to Bedlam rival Oklahoma by a 16-15 disadvantage, the Cowboys found themselves losing by the same score against No. 2-ranked Minnesota.
Just like the loss to the third-ranked Sooners, a late bout garnered a bonus point to give the Golden Gophers, which rallied past the Pokes by winning the final three matches.
“Somebody’s got to step up. We don’t care who it is, or what weight it is, but somebody needs to step up and we need to get a sixth win,” OSU senior Chris Perry said. “We’re wrestling the best teams in the country, we’ve got to have six wins every time. If we’re not getting bonus points, we need to get a sixth win.”
Perhaps a little disconcerting for Cowboy coach John Smith is the unique situation the OSU wrestling program has found itself in after back-to-back losses within the first three duals of the season. Smith said he believed it was the first time in his career that the Cowboys have had a losing record through the first three duals of a season.
“We’ve lost two matches now, and the difference has been a bonus point and I’ve definitely been on that other side more times than not,” Smith said. “Just trying to make sure we’re getting motivated to learn how to score. ... I know our upside is greater than it is right now. That’s not given, though. Your upside is earned and definitely have to earn it on a weekly basis.”
Oklahoma State won the first two bouts of the day with sophomore Eddie Klimara winning the only bout not to feature a ranked wrestler. Klimara bested Samuel Brancale by a 14-10 decision at 125 pounds.
Second-ranked wrestler Jon Morrison held off No. 9-ranked David Thorn for a 3-2 decision to give OSU the early 6-0 team lead before fourth-ranked Chris Dardanes got the better of OSU’s Anthony Collica with a 5-3 decision.
The two teams split the swing matches between top 5 wrestlers. Minnesota’s Nick Dardanes, the second-ranked wrestler at 149 pounds, won a 6-2 decision over No. 5 Josh Kindig.
In the following bout, No. 2 Alex Dieringer scored a sudden victory on fourth-ranked Dylan Ness.
Electing to go neutral in the third period, Dieringer was unable to score a takedown to clinch the match in regulation — after scoring a takedown in the first period. After a near-miss early in the first overtime period, the Cowboy sophomore finally got the winning takedown with 24 second left in the sudden death period.
“I almost had him a couple times in the third period, but I knew if I just kept moving forward I was going to be able to get it,” Dieringer said. “I was just really confident with my feet game.”
In an attempt to secure the dual victory, Minnesota went with Kevin Steinhaus for his first match of the season at 184 pounds against OSU redshirt freshman Jordan Rogers. The decision proved to be the smart one as Steinhaus scored a 14-5 major decision to set up the Golden Gophers for the final two bouts.
Blake Rosholt scored a first-period takedown of top-ranked wrestler Scott Schiller at 197 pounds to hold a 2-1 lead after one. Schiller rode Rosholt for the entire two minutes of the second period to hold a 1:51 advantage on riding time heading to the final period, which forced Rosholt to release Schiller at the start of the third.
Rosholt nearly scored a takedown in the first 30 seconds of the third period, which Schiller held off. Schiller was able to hold him until the final seconds, where the Minnesota wrestler flipped Rosholt and got back points with the OSU wrestler desperate for a takedown.
In the heavyweight bout, Austin Marsden, ranked No. 12, was unable to score an escape in the third period and with riding time, top-ranked heavyweight Tony Nelson earned a 2-0 decision to clinch the dual.
“In the end, it was just a little bit more experience there for them,” Smith said. “In the end, that guy at heavyweight has won a lot of matches on top. He’s got a lot of experience and did it again today.”