Oklahoma State wrestling capped its undefeated dual season with the 13th-straight win over Oklahoma in the Bedlam series, but it wasn’t exactly what John Smith was expecting to see.
The Cowboys overcame injury, and inconsistencies, to earn the 24-16 victory – the first single-digit win for OSU over the Sooners since February 2012.
“When I watched this team today, I’m going, ‘We’re better than that, and we can get better,’” said the Cowboy coach after the Cowboys improved to 40-3-1 in Bedlam duals since the turn of the century. “I don’t believe we had a poor dual meet, but I see so much more right now out of this team, and hopefully we can prepare them to do that for the Big 12 (championships).”
Oklahoma State opened up the dual with back-to-back wins from freshman Trevor Mastrogiovanni and sophomore Daton Fix.
Mastrogiovanni overcame a slow start at 125 pounds, landing takedown with 20 seconds remaining to earn his 6-4 decision.
Fix, on the other hand, picked right up from where he left off a week earlier during the Cowboy Challenge Tournament in his first action of the season. The Sand Springs native won his fourth-straight match by fall – doubling the total pins he picked up as a redshirt freshman in 2018-19.
“I think that he’s been able to develop some skills that were beyond what he was doing,” Smith said. “I’m ready to see him compete against some of the top guys. I think he’s going to need that. I think the Big 12 is going to help him, help him a lot.”
But then things started getting shaky for the Cowboys.
Dusty Hone, who has been in at 141 pounds following Kaid Brock’s “likely” season-ending injury, was not ready to go from a knee injury suffered last weekend.
And according to Smith, he was debating wrestling Fix or Reece Witcraft – who is working to cut back down to 125 pounds for a ranking match against Mastrogiovanni – to face OU’s top wrestler Dom Demas. However, he elected the morning of the match to go with true freshman Jakason Burks, who has been wrestling at 125 pounds and was giving up 20 pounds on Demas.
Burks fought off the reigning Big 12 champion for much of the match, including a scoreless second period. But Demas finally took advantage of this weight advantage and tossed Burks to his back for a pin in the third period.
“Thought he did a good job,” Smith said. “At one point in that third period, it was 6-3, he just got his head caught underneath, he needed to wrestle out of it. …
“That my be a first in my career that I’ve had to pull a small guy like that up a couple of weights to a fill a weight. But that’s a little bit where we’re at.”
No. 4-ranked Boo Lewallen got OSU back on the board with a 6-2 decision in against No. 18 Mitch Moore at 149 pounds.
But the Sooners would be back in the win column in the next match at 157 pounds.
A week ago, John Smith said they are just trying to get No. 19-ranked Wyatt Sheets to the end of the season before letting him loose.
Sheets had a wrap around his left knee – running thigh to ankle – and his rematch wasn’t as competitive as the first meeting. Two weeks prior, the match went to overtime with Oklahoma’s Justin Thomas – ranked No. 11 – getting the win, but Thomas stretched it out to a 13-5 major decision over Sheets on Sunday.
The back-and-forth continued at 165 pounds with No. 3-ranked Travis Wittlake wracking up a 26-11 technical fall against OU’s Troy Mantanona.
The Cowboys then suffered an upset at 174 pounds with another wounded wrestler.
No. 13-ranked Dustin Plott, a true freshman from Tuttle, had his left shoulder in a large wrap after having dislocated it in the middle of a match in the finals of the Cowboy Challenge – popping it back into place on his own before finishing out that match. At one point in his match with unranked Anthony Mantanona, Plott was taken to the mat against that shoulder and had to call for an injury timeout.
The two wrestlers battled back-and-forth, but Plott ultimately lost by 7-4 decision – with Mantanona getting the riding time bonus – for his second-straight loss of the season.
Senior Dakota Geer, ranked No. 13 at 184 pounds, picked up the Pokes’ third bonus-point victory at 184 pounds with an 11-0 major decision over Darrien Roberts after celebrating Senior Night prior to the dual.
“Obviously Bedlam always means more – coach always preaches that,” Geer said. “But, it means a lot more whenever you get to do it on Senior Night. Just a special, special match.”
In the final match of ranked opponents, true freshman AJ Ferrari – No. 12 at 197 pounds for OSU – rebounded from his first loss of the year by improving on his earlier meeting with No. 15-ranked Jake Woodley. Ferrari improved to 2-0 against the Bedlam opponent with a 4-1 match thanks to a takedown with 90 seconds left – and keeping Woodley locked down for the remainder of the match to lock up a riding time point.
The Cowboys closed the night on a sour note with Austin Harris losing by 3-1 decision to OU’s Josh Heindselman – who took advantage of a poor shot by Harris for the lone takedown of the match.
Oklahoma State will now have nearly two weeks to rest and rehab before its next competition, which will be the Big 12 Conference Wrestling Championships in Tulsa. The league tournament will be March 6-7 at the BOK Center. Every match leading up to the finals will be available on ESPN+, with the championship matches being televised on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. March 7.