The top-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys secured the inaugural Big 12 wrestling regular season championship with a 19-18 victory over No. 12 Oklahoma at McCasland Field House in Norman, Okla.
For the first time in Big 12 history, the league’s four wrestling squads are playing a six-match, double round-robin Conference schedule to determine a regular season champion.
OSU now boasts a 15-0 mark overall and a 5-0 record in Big 12 play with one Conference dual remaining. With all three of the other league teams having two or more losses, Oklahoma State is guaranteed the outright championship.
The title clincher would prove to be OSU’s closest Big 12 contest of the season. In its previous four Conference matches, Oklahoma State had downed Iowa State (29-9), Oklahoma (25-13), Iowa State (33-7) and Missouri (22-12).
Facing the Sooners for a second time, the Cowboys jumped out to a 6-0 lead aided by an 11-6 win for third-ranked and undefeated Alan Gelogaev over Kyle Colling. OSU held a 13-8 lead, before Oklahoma got two wins in a row in the 157- and 165-pound bouts to grab a 15-13 lead with two matches left.
In the first of those final two contests, Oklahoma State would retake the lead at 18-15 when undefeated Chris Perry recorded a technical fall on OU’s Kyle Detmer. However, in the final match of the night, Oklahoma’s Erich Schmidtke bested Chris McNeil, 4-3, to tie the match at 18. At that point, since each team had won five matches, the dual was decided by the second tiebreaker criteria, which OSU won, 1-0, by total falls or technical falls due to Perry’s win.
With the loss, Oklahoma falls to 13-5 overall and 3-3 in Big 12 action.
The Cowboys add a regular season trophy to a program resume that is highlighted by 10 Big 12 Championship titles and 34 NCAA team crowns, the most by any school in any collegiate sport.
For Oklahoma State as an athletic department, it marks the fourth Big 12 Championship won this academic year. OSU has also earned Conference titles in men’s cross country, soccer and football.
The Oklahoma State wrestling team returns to the mat on Sunday as they Cowboys host the 2012 NWCA National Dual Finals. OSU faces Illinois in the semifinal round of the event at 2 p.m. looking for its ninth National Dual title.
All four of the Big 12’s nationally ranked wrestling teams will be in action on March 3 at the 2012 Big 12 Wrestling Championship in Columbia, Mo. For more information on that event visit Big12Sports.com.