It was a mixed bag of emotions in Oklahoma State’s first home dual since early December.
Sunday’s 22-15 victory over No. 15 Iowa State had a little bit of everything – from a dramatic beginning, to a tragic ending.
The final score was nowhere indicative of the Cowboys’ Big 12 victory in Gallagher-Iba Arena due to that ending. Boo Lewallen, who was making his return at 149 pounds after suffering shoulder injury in the season opening dual, re-injured his left shoulder in the final match of the afternoon – which gave Iowa State an injury default victory though Lewallen was up 9-4 at the time of the injury.
“I thought Iowa State is a really good team, performing really well right now,” Cowboy coach John Smith said of the dual. “They tested us in a lot of ways. I like what I saw in several of the matches, especially stretching out the scores a little bit.”
While the ending left a sour note on the day, the early happenings inside GIA had the crowd rowdy getting to see the second-ranked Cowboys for the first time since a Bedlam blowout.
After a couple of close matches at 157 – a 3-2 loss for OSU’s Wyatt Sheets against Iowa State’s Chase Straw – and 165 pounds – an 8-2 decision for Andrew Shomers over Iowa State’s Logan Schmuacher – two-time All-American Joe Smith was making his first appearance in Gallagher-Iba Arena in nearly two years.
Smith, who had wrestled at 157 pounds his first two years at Oklahoma State before redshirting last season, made his last match at home – a technical fall loss to Penn State’s Jason Nolf – a distant memory by getting a first-period pin of Marcus Coleman at 174 pounds. It was the first career fall for Smith inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.
“That was exciting,” the elder Smith said with a smile. “That’s the way to do it – we all love pins. It was exciting for me to watch him get a pin, he’s been working hard and kind of finding his way right now. Good time to get the crowd going.”
The hype generated carried over to the next match at 184 pounds with Jacobe Smith facing another top-20 wrestler. OSU’s 184-pounder was the aggressor, getting all three takedowns in the match en route to a 9-3 decision.
Oklahoma State would lose the first top-10 matchup of the dual at 197 pounds – though it wasn’t an upset.
Dakota Geer, ranked No. 10 at the weight after spending the first half of the season wrestling at 184 pounds, went toe-to-toe with No. 6-ranked Willie Miklus. Each wrestler had two takedowns while Milkus picked up a nearfall and Geer had a reversal in a 9-6 decision that favored the Cyclones.
The Cowboys got back on the board at heavyweight with No. 2-ranked Derek White picking up a 7-1 decision over unranked Gannon Gremmel.
Oklahoma State got only its second bonus-point victory of the dual in the following match at 125 pounds.
Overcoming a slow start in which no points were scored in the first period, No. 4-ranked Nick Piccininni made his move in the final two frames to finish with a 14-2 major decision over unranked Alex Mackall.
“Got started a little slow, so that’s something I’ve got to work on,” Piccininni said. “But I picked it up throughout the match and figured some things out and was able to put some points together, which is something I’m happy about.”
The second top-10 matchup of the dual went in Oklahoma State’s favor at 133 pounds, though it too had some drama.
No. 3-ranked Daton Fix found himself trailing by two heading into the third period against ninth-ranked Austin Gomez of Iowa State thanks to a first-period takedown. But in a scramble in the third, Fix was awarded a point for locked hands by Gomez before Fix eventually turned it into a reversal which tied the match – but Fix had just enough riding time to earn a bonus point and get the 5-4 decision.
“It was a good match,” Oklahoma State’s coach said. “This weight class is loaded. … I think Daton needs to focus a little more on his offense, but it’s good to see him get a win without a takedown – that’s hard to do.”
In a top-15 matchup at 141 pounds, Iowa State’s Ian Parker – ranked No. 14 – fought off an early takedown by OSU’s Kaid Brock – ranked No. 13 – to earn a 6-3 decision over the Cowboy before the somber conclusion of the dual in the injury to Lewallen.
The Cowboys will continue their home stretch Friday hosting No. 17 Northern Iowa at 7 p.m.