By Andrew Glover
NORMAN, Okla. —
Sunday at McCasland Fieldhouse on the University of Oklahoma’s campus, the No. 2 Oklahoma State Cowboys and the No. 10 Sooners were locked in a tight wrestling dual. The Pokes trailed 9-7 when they put redshirt freshman Alex Dieringer on the mat for his first Bedlam experience.
“It was hectic,” Dieringer said.
The redshirt freshman was able to put the crowd and emotions in the back of his mind and pulled out an 8-5 decision that put Oklahoma State on top for good in a 26-9 victory.
“I started moving more in the first period,” Dieringer said. “I start slow sometimes. Once the second and third period comes around, I turn it on a lot. ... It’s good to know I can keep my composure and come back.”
The victory helped Oklahoma State win the last seven bouts of the dual. Coach John Smith said Dieringer did a good job of fighting back after he gave up the early lead.
“You get taken down and ridden out, it doesn’t get much worse than that,” Smith said. “In a big match as a young guy you worry and it’s easy to say ‘uh-oh.’ He seemed to turn it around and get it going. He saw the game he needed to play changed really quickly. That was to get takedowns and pay attention to not getting reversed. I think he is better on bottom. He’s a guy like (Matt) Lester that you are going to have to be great on bottom. It gives him a chance to learn how hard college wrestling is on bottom.”
Dieringer trailed twice in the first two periods before grabbing a 4-3 lead. Matt Lester came back in the third to tie the score. The redshirt freshman recorded two takedowns to seal the match.
The victory gave Dieringer, ranked 14th in the 157-pound weight class his second straight upset. Jester was ranked ninth and on Saturday, Dieringer defeated Wyoming’s Andy McCulley, who was ranked 12th. The redshirt freshman didn’t see it that way.
“It wasn’t an upset, I don’t think, to be honest,” Dieringer said. “I think I am the guy to beat this year. So, I’m just taking it one match at a time.”
After Sunday’s match, Dieringer improved to 9-0 and credits his success to the teammates he works out with.
“I got so many different looks,” Dieringer said. “I got (Tyler) Caldwell, I got JO (Jordan Oliver). (Caldwell) is heavy on the head and he is always attacking. JO is really fast.”
During the past summer, Dieringer competed in the Junior World Championships in Pattaya, Thailand. He won his first match with a pin in 24 seconds but lost in the second round.
“It didn’t turn out, how I wanted it,” Dieringer said. “It was a good experience for wrestling older guys and world class athletes.”
This Sunday, Dieringer will get to compete on a bigger stage as the Cowboys take on Chattanooga and Cornell at Madison Square Garden.