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Cowboys Bring Full Squad to St. Louis for NCAA Championships

STILLWATER – The second-ranked Oklahoma State wrestling team will make the trip to St. Louis, Mo., this week to compete for its 35th national title at the NCAA Championships. Action at the event is set to open on Thursday, March 16 at the Scottrade Center and run through Saturday, March 18.

OSU, joined by North Carolina State, is one of only two teams to bring all 10 starters to the national tournament, and the only team with all 10 seeded. The Cowboys are led by No. 1 seed at 141 pounds Dean Heil and second-seeded 149-pounder Anthony Collica.

Watch the Cowboys
Every match of the NCAA Championships will be broadcast on ESPN3. Fans can watch the morning sessions live on ESPNU, while the each primetime session will be broadcast on ESPN.

Live Stats and Play-By-Play
Fans can follow the action online through live results and play-by-play on www.trackwrestling.com. Simply go to the site and the link to live results and play-by-play will be prominently displayed..

Listen Live
Fans can listen to both duals live on 93.7 KSPI-FM or okstate.com with Roger Moore on the call.

Event Schedule
Thursday, March 16
11 a.m. – Session I
6 p.m. – Session II

Friday, March 17
10 a.m. – Session III
7 p.m. – Session IV

Saturday, March 18
10 a.m. – Session V
7 p.m. – Session VI

In the Polls
The Cowboys enter this weekend’s tournament ranked No. 2 in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll and the Intermat Tournament Rankings.

Individually, Oklahoma State has all 10 starters ranked in each of the four major national polls. Returning NCAA Champion 141-pounder Dean Heil remains slotted at No. 1 in all four major polls. Aside from Heil, six other Cowboys received top-eight rankings from Intermat, including Kaid Brock (133, No. 3), Anthony Collica (149, No. 2), Joe Smith (157, No. 5), Nolan Boyd (184, No. 5), Preston Weigel (197, No. 7) and Austin Schafer (HWT, No. 6). At 125 pounds, Nick Piccininni is ranked No. 9 while senior Kyle Crutchmer is slotted ninth at 174. Chandler Rogers (165) is ranked No. 10.

John Smith at the NCAA Tournament
John Smith has led the Cowboys to five NCAA titles, and has coached 31 NCAA individual champions and 117 All-Americans since taking over the program in 1991-92.

His 31 NCAA champions and his 117 All-Americans lead all active coaches.

Cowboys at the NCAA Tournament
The Oklahoma State wrestling program boasts 34 NCAA titles all-time, making it the winningest program in all of college sports.

Cowboy wrestlers have combined to win 141 NCAA individual titles and 450 All-America honors through the years, far surpassing the second-place totals held by Iowa (80 champions and 318 All-Americans).
about the cowboys

Oklahoma State has proven itself one of the deepest lineups in the country thus far into the 2016-17 campaign. This much was to be expected heading into the season, as head coach John Smith returned 2016 NCAA Champion at 141 pounds Dean Heil, along with All-Americans Nolan Boyd, Anthony Collica and Joe Smith from an NCAA runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships in Madison Square Garden last spring. The Cowboys also return valuable experience in 2015 All-American Kyle Crutchmer, who has also been a major contributor in the Cowboy lineup as a senior after returning from an injury that cut short his junior season.

While the Cowboy roster certainly boasts its fair share of proven talent, the emergence of “young guns” Kaid Brock, Chandler Rogers, Preston Weigel and Nick Piccininni has been a welcome development for Smith and his staff. Meanwhile, senior heavyweight Austin Schafer  has come on well in his final run as a Cowboy, knocking off five ranked opponents on his way to his current 21-1 mark this season.

Depth has been a major storyline for the Cowboys this season as the team broke tournament records for team points scored and margin of victory at both the Southern Scuffle and the Big 12 Championships. The wins followed up a team win at the Reno Tournament of Champions, despite no Cowboy starters making the trip.

The Cowboys posted a historic regular season campaign, going undefeated at 14-0 for the first time since 2005 and the 46th time in school history. During the regular season, OSU turned in eight wins of 30 points or greater. The team is coming off its 51st conference title, as eight Cowboys brought home first-place hardware at the Big 12 Championships earlier this month.

Along with Smith, who is in his 26th season at the helm of the Oklahoma State wrestling program, the Cowboys are led by associate head coaches Eric Guerrero and Zack Esposito, along with volunteer assistant coach Chris Perry.

Last Time Out
With its 51st conference championship locked up on Saturday, eight members of the Oklahoma State wrestling team earned Big 12 titles Sunday afternoon to tie a program record. As a team, the Cowboys accumulated 176.5 points to set a Big 12 record, while the 83-point margin of victory is also a new conference record.

Individual title winners included Nick Piccininni, Dean Heil, Anthony Collica, Joe Smith, Kyle Crutchmer, Nolan Boyd, Preston Weigel and Austin Schafer. Collica became the eighth wrestler in school history to win four conference titles, while Heil and Boyd claimed their third and Smith, Crutchmer and Weigel each won their second.

All 10 OSU starters advanced to Sunday’s final round, setting up a dual-like event where the Cowboys were matched up with many of the Big 12’s best at every weight. If the event had used dual scoring, the Pokes would have come out on top, 30-6.

Big 12 Championships Final Round Results
125: Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State) dec. Josh Rodriguez (North Dakota State), 7-5
133: Seth Gross (South Dakota State) dec. Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State), 9-7
141: Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) dec. Bryce Meredith (Wyoming), 10-7
149: Anthony Collica (Oklahoma State) dec. Davion Jeffries (Oklahoma), 7-4
157: Joe Smith (Oklahoma State) MD Clay Ream (North Dakota State), 8-0
165: Dylan Cottrell (West Virginia) dec. Chandler Rogers (Oklahoma State), 5-4
174: Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State) dec. Matt Reed (Oklahoma), 8-4
184: Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma State) MD Dylan Gabel (Northern Colorado), 15-4
197: Preston Weigel (Oklahoma State) inj. def. Jacob Smith (West Virginia), 2:24
285: Austin Schafer (Oklahoma State) MD Dustin Dennison (Utah Valley), 9-0

1-2-3 Punch
While the Cowboys’ lineup is littered with elite talent from top to bottom, one would have a hard time finding a more devastating stretch for opponents in any lineup than the one-two-three punch packed by Kaid Brock (133), Dean Heil (141) and Anthony Collica (149).

This season, the Cowboy trio has combined for a 72-4 record with a 41-3 mark in duals and a 27-4 mark against ranked opponents. While Brock is in his first full collegiate season, Collica and Heil are highly decorated, combining for an NCAA championship (Heil), seven Big 12 titles and three All-America honors. All three are ranked in the top three of their weight class by Intermat as well.

We’re Going Streaking
At 141 pounds, NCAA champion Dean Heil boasts the longest active win streak among Cowboy starters, having won 36-straight matches dating back to last season.

Heil has been impressive in his junior season, going 27-0 overall and 15-0 in dual matches. The junior has picked up seven wins over top-10 opponents, the most recent being a 10-7 decision over No. 8 Bryce Meredith of Wyoming in the Big 12 finals.

Welcome to the 100 Club
Cowboy seniors Nolan Boyd and Anthony Collica became the program’s newest members of the 100-win club this season. Boyd notched his 100th win last month with an 18-2 technical fall over Martin Mueller of South Dakota State. With the win, Boyd moved to 100-33 for his career, becoming the 40th Cowboy in program history to reach the century mark. Boyd is now 31st on the program all-time wins list with a 108-35 record.

Collica picked up his 100th win last month against Edinboro in a 4-1 decision over No. 11 Patricio Lugo to become the 41st Cowboy to reach the century mark. With 106 wins, Collica is now 33rd on the all-time program wins list.

Boyd Will Be Boyd
Cowboy 184-pound senior Nolan Boyd has been on a tear of late, racking up nine wins in his last 10 matches, including eight bonus point wins over that stretch.

On the season, Boyd has racked up a 20-4 overall record with a 12-3 mark in dual action. Of Boyd’s 20 wins, 16 have come with bonus points, including nine tech falls.

Ranked fourth in the latest Intermat rankings, the Edmond, Okla., native’s only losses this year have come at the hands of No. 1 Gabe Dean, No. 2 Bo Nickal and No. 3 Sammy Brooks.

Can’t Stop Schafer
After senior heavyweight Austin Schafer pinned South Dakota State’s Alex Macki earlier this season, head coach John Smith referred to him as “King Kong”.

After making the move to heavyweight for his senior campaign despite competing at 197 pounds for the previous three years of his career, Schafer has proven himself in the new class. Schafer has racked up a 21-1 record with 15 bonus point wins thus far. With a combined 0-9 mark against ranked foes during his first three seasons in Stillwater, the Cowboy heavyweight has also beaten five ranked opponents this year, with three of those wins coming in the top 10.

Schafer is coming off his first career Big 12 title earlier this month, where he racked up a first-period fall and a couple of major decisions to claim the conference crown.

In an impressive win at the Southern Scuffle, Schafer made the OSU record books when he dropped 11th-ranked Jared Johnson of Chattanooga for a fall in only 18 seconds for the 17th-fastest pin in Cowboy wrestling history.

Smith Dominates, Defends Big 12 Title
Cowboy sophomore Joe Smith lapped the Big 12 field at 157 pounds last weekend, posting three bonus-point victories (one tech fall, two major decisions) to win his second Big 12 title in as many tries. Smith dominated his opponents at the tournament, outscoring them, 32-0, on the weekend.

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