By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Two years ago, Tyler Caldwell was looking to take down Oklahoma State University wrestlers wearing the crimson and cream of Oklahoma University. After sitting out a year, Caldwell now joins the same Cowboys he used to take down.
“I’m getting rid of my OU stuff and getting bright orange,” Caldwell said.
In his sophomore season at Oklahoma, Caldwell was an NCAA runner-up in the 165-pound weight class and finished the season with a 32-6 record. He finished second at the Big 12 championships and was named to the 2011 All-Academic Big 12 team. Caldwell said he is getting used to expectations.
“The transition is going well with the different coaching style and techniques,” Caldwell said. “It’s really helped me out a lot. I’m really looking forward to getting on the mat and just compete.”
Coach John Smith said Caldwell is a good kid and is a hard worker.
“He has the right things in place to be a good wrestler,” Smith said. “It starts with great passion. He’s motivated. I’m sure as the season goes on you will get the opportunity to see on the mat what kind of kid he is made of. I look forward to having him compete with us.”
The junior 165-pound wrestler said the biggest difference for him is the tradition of the programs.
“The coaching staff is a little different than I’m used to,” Caldwell said. “The team demands a lot out of me. I see it as a big difference as well.”
Caldwell completed in the men’s freestyle 74 kilogram bracket at the 2012 Olympic Wrestling Trials in Iowa City and defeated Matt Brown in his first match. Caldwell said his goal is the same as everyone else — win a national title.
“I believe we have a team that can come out as national champions as well,” Caldwell said. “My focus is on what I need to do and that’s score as many team points as possible.”
Oklahoma State finished fifth at the 2012 NCAA Championships. Caldwell said he is excited about this year’s lineup.
“We have a lot of young guys that I’m excited to see compete,” Caldwell said. “They are stepping into the lineup for the first time. We have redshirt (freshmen) and two freshmen. It’s going to be an exciting year.”
The Cowboys open the 2012-13 season at the Lindenwood Open in St. Louis, Mo. Oklahoma State’s first home dual is Nov. 25 against Penn.