Cowboys ride off with victory over Hawkeyes

AP PHOTO BY IAN MAULE/THE OKLAHOMAN - Oklahoma State’s Daton Fix, top, has the upper hand against Iowa’s Austin DeSanto during a Sunday’s college wrestling match in Stillwater, Okla.

STILLWATER, Okla. — The second-ranked Oklahoma State wrestling team got the fast start it wanted and the strong finish it needed to defeat No. 3 Iowa 27-12 on Sunday at a sold-out Gallagher-Iba Arena.

Fourth-ranked Nick Piccininni pinned No. 2 Spencer Lee in 4 minutes, 55 seconds, to start the non-conference dual meet at 125 pounds, and No. 2 Daton Fix defeated No. 3 Austin DeSanto at 133, 2-0, to kick off the Cowboys’ quest for perfection.

In the end, Oklahoma State (15-0) won seven of 10 matches and capped the 46th undefeated season in program history — their first since 2005 and seventh under head coach John Smith.

“Obviously for me it was a big feat and for our team,” Piccininni said of pinning Lee. “I knew it was going to light us up. It was definitely one of the greater memories I’ll have … to get a win over a Hawkeye, it’s a great feeling.”

In front of the school’s largest winter sports crowd of the season, Oklahoma State fired out to a 12-0 lead through three matches before Iowa (14-1) got on the board and eventually got even.

Kaid Brock got an 8-6 decision over Max Murin to put the Cowboys up 12-0, but the Hawkeyes countered with the next three bouts to tie the team score at 12-all.

Twelfth-ranked Pat Lugo pushed past No. 6 Kaden Gfeller for a 7-4 victory at 149 to get Iowa on the board, No. 7 Kaleb Young collected a 9-5 decision over Wyatt Sheets at 157, and second-ranked Alex Marinelli matched Piccininni’s pin with one of his own against Jonce Blaylock at 165.

But Oklahoma State won out from there, starting with 10th-ranked Chandler Rogers moving up from 165 to pin Mitch Bowman at 174. Three-straight decisions delivered the dual victory for Oklahoma State.

“We are going to build up hype and put people in the stands,” Smith said. “You have to do things as a coach to create that environment. Sometimes it may not be the best scenario, but our guys are pretty tough when it comes to dealing with hype.”

Iowa had won four of the last five meetings with Oklahoma State prior to Sunday’s setback.

“We are vulnerable in positions and it showed,” said Hawkeye head coach Tom Brands. “Give them credit, they are a well-coached team. This was an important dual for us and it was important to them, but it looked more important to them.

“We need to impose our will and do what we do best against our opponent. We were passive or hesitant today, but the bottom line is we have to get ready for tournament time. That doesn’t make it automatic, but we will go forward. Our guys will rally.”

Iowa prepares for the Big Ten Championships, which are March 9-10 on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis. The NCAA Championships are March 21-23 in Pittsburgh.

No. 2 Oklahoma St. 27, No. 3 Iowa 12

At Stillwater, Okla.

125–Nick Piccininni (OSU) pinned Spencer Lee, 4:55; 133–Daton Fix (OSU) dec. Austin DeSanto, 2-0; 141–Kaid Brock (OSU) dec. Max Murin, 8-6; 149–Pat Lugo (IA) dec. Kaden Gfeller, 7-4; 157–Kaleb Young (IA) dec. Wyatt Sheets, 9-5; 165–Alex Marinelli (IA) pinned Jonce Blaylock, 2:44; 174–Chandler Rogers (OSU) pinned Mitch Bowman, 5:30; 184–Jacobe Smith (OSU) dec. Cash Wilcke, 6-3; 197–Preston Weigel (OSU) dec. Jacob Warner, 5-3; 285–Derek White (OSU) dec. Sam Stoll, 3-1.


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