ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The Oklahoma State wrestling team advanced seven wrestlers into the NCAA Championship quarterfinals on Thursday night at the Scottrade Center. Cowboys Nick Piccininni, Kaid Brock, Dean Heil, Joe Smith, Chandler Rogers, Nolan Boyd and Preston Weigel will compete in the national quarterfinal round, which is set to begin at 10 a.m. on Friday morning.
After two sessions, the Cowboys hold 25.5 points to sit third in the team standings, with Penn State’s 30.5 team points leading the field. Overall, Oklahoma State went 8-2 in the second session and 17-3 on the day.
The Cowboys’ seven quarterfinalists are tied for the most of any team in the field, while OSU is the only team with 10 wrestlers still competing.
“Overall, we won 17 out of 20 and those are good numbers,” head coach John Smith said. “Is it good enough? I don’t know, but we need to come out a little bit more tomorrow and go for it. I thought we held back a little bit in some of our matches today. We focused on the win rather than bonus points. Overall, it was a good day. Seven advanced to the quarterfinals. That’s a big number and that’s a number you need. I know it’s going to be a little bit tougher for us tomorrow, but we need to get tougher.”
In a rematch of the Big 12 125-pound finals, Piccininni recorded a 5-2 decision over North Dakota State’s ninth-seeded Josh Rodriguez to advance to the quarterfinals. The redshirt freshman led throughout the match, scoring takedowns in the first and third periods to tally his ninth-straight win. Piccininni will take on top-seeded Thomas Gilman of Iowa in the quarterfinals on Friday morning.
“I just knew I had to be tough,” Piccininni said. “I knew it was going to be a tough one. A rematch, obviously it gets tougher every time you wrestle someone. I just knew I had to stay focused and go back to what I knew how to do.”
At 133 pounds, Kaid Brock advanced as well, edging Minnesota’s Mitch McKee, 3-1, for his third win over the Gopher this season. Brock recorded a takedown to open the match and carried that lead to the finish line. Brock is set to face No. 11 seed Bryan Lantry of Buffalo in the quarterfinals.
Junior Dean Heil defeated Navy’s Jared Prince, 9-5, in his round of 16 match to move on. Heil opened with a couple of takedowns to jump out to an early 4-1 lead after one period. After Prince tied the match at four late in the second, Heil was able to escape to carry a 5-4 advantage into the final frame, where he added a final takedown to secure the win. The Cowboy will face Missouri’s No. 8 seed Jaydin Eierman in tomorrow morning’s quarterfinals.
Senior Anthony Collica was upset by No. 15 seed Kenny Theobold of Rutgers in sudden victory at 149. Collica led, 3-2, after two periods, but allowed Theobold to escape with less than 30 seconds to go in the match, forcing a sudden victory period where Theobold was able to score the decisive takedown. Collica will look to bounce back on Friday as he takes on Arizona State’s Josh Maruca in consolation action.
Sophomore Joe Smith handled Penn’s May Bethea, 6-3, to earn his spot in the 157-pound quarterfinals. Smith scored a pair of takedowns in the wire-to-wire win to set up a matchup with fourth-seeded Tyler Berger of Nebraska on Friday morning.
Chandler Rogers provided the highlight of the night for the Cowboys, dropping eighth-seeded Dylan Cottrell of West Virginia in 52 seconds for his second fall of the day. Rogers jumped out to a 4-1 lead before decking Cottrell, who defeated the Cowboy in a controversial Big 12 finals match earlier this month. Rogers will match up with top-seeded Isaiah Martinez of Illinois in Friday’s quarterfinal match.
“He’s a strong dude,” Rogers said. “This whole week, coaches have been telling us, ‘If you can’t wrestle for yourself, wrestle for your teammates.’ I feel like we’ve been trying to do that. There’s a lot of stuff you can do to help yourself out, but it ends up helping out the team too if you do enough.”
Senior Nolan Boyd withstood a scare from the No. 13 seed in Chattanooga’s Bryce Carr at 184 pounds to advance. Tied at two heading into the final period, Carr chose the down position to start; however, the Cowboy senior rode out the third frame to negate Carr’s riding time and keep the score tied to send the match to overtime. After a scoreless first sudden victory, Boyd was once again able to ride out the 30-second tiebreaker before escaping himself and fighting off a late shot from Carr to clinch the win. Boyd is set to face 12th-seeded Drew Foster of Northern Illinois on Friday.
Preston Weigel grinded out a 3-2 win over 11th-seeded Shawn Scott of Northern Illinois to secure himself a spot in the quarterfinals. Weigel led, 2-1, heading to the third, where he started on top. Scott would escape, but Weigel staved off a late attack to claim his riding time point and remain alive in the 197-pound championship bracket. Weigel will face third-seeded Kolin Moore of Ohio State on Friday morning for a chance to compete in the semis.
Austin Schafer dropped only his second loss of the season in his round of 16 match, giving up an 8-0 major decision to Northwestern’s Conan Jennings. Schafer will get a chance to rebound Friday morning when he takes on Lehigh’s Doug Vallaro in consolation action.
Bouncing back from a tough, first-round loss, senior Kyle Crutchmer posted a 15-4 major decision over Purdue’s Jacob Morrissey in the first round of consolation. The Cowboy senior was impressive in the win, scoring six takedowns to overwhelm and eventually eliminate Morrissey. Crutchmer will take on North Carolina’s eighth-seeded Ethan Ramos on Friday morning.
With Session III starting at 10 a.m., Session IV will begin at 7 p.m. Fans can tune into tomorrow’s third session live on ESPNU or ESPN3.com and fourth session on ESPN or ESPN3.com
2017 NCAA Wrestling Championships | St. Louis, Missouri | Scottrade Center | Session Two
Championship Round Two
125: No. 8 Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 9 Joshua Rodriguez (NDSU) 5-2
133: No. 3 Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 14 Mitch McKee (Minnesota) 3-1
141: No. 1 Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 16 Jared Prince (Navy) 9-5
149: No. 15 Kenny Theobold (Rutgers) dec. No. 2 Anthony Collica (Oklahoma State) 5-3, SV1
157: No. 5 Joe Smith (Oklahoma State) dec. May Bethea (Penn) 6-3
165: No. 9 Chandler Rogers (Oklahoma State) fall No. 8 Dylan Cottrell (West Virginia) 0:52
184: No. 4 Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 13 Bryce Carr (Chattanooga) 3-2, TB1
197: No. 6 Preston Weigel (Oklahoma State) dec. No. 11 Shawn Scott (Northern Illinois) 3-2
285: Conan Jennings (Northwestern) MD No. 6 Austin Schafer (Oklahoma State) 8-0
Consolation Round One
174: No. 7 Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State) MD Jacob Morrissey (Purdue) 15-4
Championship Quarterfinal Round Schedule (Friday Morning)
125: No. 8 Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 1 Thomas Gilman (Iowa)
133: No. 3 Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 11 Bryan Lantry (Buffalo)
141: No. 1 Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 8 Jaydin Eierman (Missouri)
157: No. 5 Joe Smith (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 4 Tyler Berger (Nebraska)
165: No. 9 Chandler Rogers (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 1 Isaiah Martinez (Illinois)
184: No. 4 Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 12 Drew Foster (Northern Iowa)
197: No. 6 Preston Weigel (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 3 Kollin Moore (Ohio State)
Consolation Round Two Schedule (Friday Morning)
149: No. 2 Anthony Collica (Oklahoma State) vs. Joshua Maruca (Arizona State)
174: No. 7 Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 8 Ethan Ramos (North Carolina)
285: No. 6 Austin Schafer (Oklahoma State) vs. Doug Vollaro (Lehigh)