TULSA, Okla. – The second-ranked Oklahoma State wrestling team made quick work of the first session of the Big 12 Championships Saturday at the BOK Center, with all 10 wrestlers notching bonus-point wins to advance into the event semifinals. The championship semis are set for Saturday evening at 6 p.m.
The Cowboys combined for five pins, three technical falls and two major decisions to record 76.5 team points and lead second-place South Dakota State by 33 points heading into the second session. OSU was the only program to advance all 10 wrestlers to the semifinals and no other school advanced more than six.
“This is what you hope for in these types of tournaments where you go in as a heavy favorite,” head coach John Smith said. “You expect to wrestle like that, so it was good to see the major decisions, the tech falls and the pins. It’s something we haven’t done all season, so it’s good to see it happening now.”
“In the postseason you want to wrestle better than you have all year, and in the first round we did that. You know that as you advance in the championship bracket it gets tougher, so we need to recognize that.”
Cowboys Kaid Brock, Dean Heil, Anthony Collica, Chandler Rogers and Austin Schafer all recorded pins to advance into the semifinals.
Brock recorded a first-period fall over Air Force’s Dylan Hyder in 2:13 at 133 pounds for his second pin of the season. With the win, Brock moved to 24-1 on the season and advanced into the semifinals where he will face Iowa State’s Earl Hall.
Heil decked North Dakota State’s Taylor Nein in 3:45 for his first pin of the season, extending his team-leading win streak to 34. Heil will match up with Northern Colorado’s Timmy Box Saturday night in the 141-pound semifinals.
Opening his quest for a fourth-straight Big 12 title, Collica dropped Mitch Friedman of North Dakota State in the opening minute of the second period at 149. The Cowboy senior will take on Wyoming’s Cole Mendenhall for a spot in Sunday’s final round.
At 165, Chandler Rogers did what he does best in pinning Northern Colorado’s Keilan Torres for the second time this season, with Saturday’s fall coming in 1:13. The fall marked Rogers’ eighth of the season, and will set up a semifinal matchup with South Dakota State’s Luke Zilverberg on Saturday night.
Heavyweight Austin Schafer added an exclamation point to his return from a month-long absence from the lineup, as he pinned Air Force’s Kerry Powers in just over a minute and a half to move to 19-1 on the season. The win was Schafer’s 13th bonus-point victory of the season. The top-seeded senior will face North Dakota State’s Ben Tynan in the semifinals.
Nick Piccininni, Joe Smith and Preston Weigel had no problem racking up points on Saturday, with each recording technical falls to advance.
At 125 pounds, Piccininni started the day off for the Cowboys with an 18-2 tech fall, clinching the win early in the third period. The Cowboy redshirt freshman clinched his 20th win of the season to set up a semifinal bout with Wyoming’s Drew Templeman.
Smith tallied his second technical fall of the season with a 16-0 win over Raider Lofthouse of Utah Valley. Smith matches up with Wyoming’s Archie Colgan in the semis on Saturday evening.
Weigel shut out Utah Valley’s Tanner Orndorff, 15-0, to pick up his fourth tech of the season. Weigel will face No. 2 seed Nate Rotert in the semifinals.
Senior Kyle Crutchmer handled Air Force’s Michael Billingsley with a 19-7 major decision to move to 16-5 on the year. With his fourth major of the season, Crutchmer will face off with Iowa State’s Lelund Weatherspoon in the semis on Saturday night.
Nolan Boyd tallied a 12-1 major at 184 pounds over Oklahoma’s Andrew Dixon to advance as well. Boyd will face Carson Powell of Iowa State Saturday evening for a spot in the finals.
2017 Big 12 Wrestling Championships | BOK Center | Tulsa, Okla.
125: Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State) TF Ben Gillette (South Dakota State), 18-2 5:09
133: Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State) fall Dylan Hyder (Air Force), 2:13
141: Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) fall Taylor Nein (North Dakota State), 3:45
149: Anthony Collica (Oklahoma State) fall Mitch Friedman (North Dakota State), 3:42
157: Joe Smith (Oklahoma State) TF Raider Lofthouse (Utah Valley), 16-0 3:00
165: Chandler Rogers (Oklahoma State) fall Keilan Torres (Northern Colorado), 1:13
174: Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State) MD Michael Billingsley (Air Force), 19-7
184: Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma State) MD Andrew Dixon (Oklahoma), 12-1
197: Preston Weigel (Oklahoma State) TF Tanner Orndorff (Utah Valley), 15-0 4:56
285: Austin Schafer (Oklahoma State) fall Kerry Powers (Air Force), 1:38
Semifinal Schedule (6 p.m. Saturday)
125: Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State) vs. Drew Templeman (Wyoming)
133: Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State) vs. Earl Hall (Iowa State)
141: Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) vs. Timmy Box (Northern Colorado)
149: Anthony Collica (Oklahoma State) vs. Cole Mendenhall (Wyoming)
157: Joe Smith (Oklahoma State) vs. Archie Colgan (Wyoming)
165: Chandler Rogers (Oklahoma State) vs. Luke Zilverberg (South Dakota State)
174: Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State) vs. Lelund Weatherspoon (Iowa State)
184: Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma State) vs. Carson Powell (Iowa State)
197: Preston Weigel (Oklahoma State) vs. Nate Rotert (South Dakota State)
285: Austin Schafer (Oklahoma State) vs. Ben Tynan (North Dakota State)
Team Standings After Session One
1. Oklahoma State – 76.5
2. South Dakota State – 43.5
3. North Dakota State – 39.5
3. Oklahoma – 39.5
5. Iowa State – 27.5
6. Wyoming – 27
7. Northern Colorado – 16
8. West Virginia – 15
9. Utah Valley – 8
10. Air Force – 4