Stillwater News Press

Sports Columns

January 11, 2012

Oklahoma State wrestlers preserve history with win over Iowa

STILLWATER, Okla. — Cowboy wrestling coach John Smith called it an ugly victory, but Saturday’s 17-16 win over the Iowa Hawkeyes preserved a piece of Oklahoma State wrestling history.

If Iowa had won the dual, the Hawkeyes would have snapped OSU’s NCAA-record streak of 84 straight duals without a loss. Myron Roderick was OSU’s coach when his teams went undefeated from Feb. 20, 1959 to Feb. 12, 1966. Roderick died on Dec. 28.

Oklahoma State and Iowa probably are the two most storied programs in college wrestling. The teams battle every year and their duals nearly always have extra meaning.

The Hawkeyes started their 83-dual unbeaten streak after a 19-14 loss to OSU on Jan. 5, 2008.

Almost a year ago, the Cowboys and Hawkeyes tied 15-15 at Gallagher-Iba Arena. That tie ended Iowa’s 69-dual winning streak.

Saturday’s dual ended in a 16-16 tie with Oklahoma State winning the dual on a tiebreaker. In the 2011 NCAA Championships Iowa placed third and Oklahoma State fourth.

The Pokes lead the Hawkeye series 26-18-2, and are 10-3-1 against Iowa since Dec. 1, 2000. The Cowboys snapped an 0-2-1 streak against Iowa with Saturday’s win.

“It (the rivalry) has been important from the standpoint of big matches. You’ve seen great wrestlers come in here and get beat. We’ve seen the same in Stillwater,” Smith said after the dual. “It seems like it’s a dual meet that never turns out the way you think.”

One thing the OSU team will take away from the Iowa dual will be it can win without defending NCAA 133-pound champion and top-ranked Jordan Oliver. Oliver dropped a 4-3 decision to fourth-ranked Tony Ramos in overtime.

It was Oliver’s first loss this season. Oliver was 29-0 in the 2010-11 season.

“We won without him. I think that’s important,” Smith said.

It also allowed Oklahoma State coaches to assess this team. The Cowboys, Smith said, are a long way from being NCAA tournament ready.

OSU has questions at some weights.

Stillwater’s Chris Perry dropped 10 pounds and is now wrestling at 174.

“If you’re not going to do a lot at ’84, you might as well go to ’74,” Smith said. “I want to see him doing more. We need more out of him.”

Blake Rosholt, who wrestled heavyweight in the 2010-2011 season, now is challenging transfer Cayle Byers at 197 pounds.

Competition will decide the dilemma at 197 pounds, Smith said.

“Byers is a tough kid. So is Rosholt,” he said. “Wrestle one guy in a dual meet one weekend and the other goes to a tournament. Competition always figures it out.”

Competition also will let Smith figure out the best way to win another national championship.

“I think our guys will understand real quickly ... that it wasn’t a great performance from our team. ... It doesn’t mean we could’ve beaten them worse. I just have a better team than that,” Smith said.

Day is sports editor for the Stillwater NewsPress.

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