We don't support our wrestling team as much as we should folks. We have a perennial national power in wrestling, top 10 year in year out, and our wrestlers labor in obscurity. Our program has won more national titles (7) than any other schools besides OSU and Iowa. Meanwhile our godawful basketball team gets 400% more glory. Well, here's a report on what happened this week in WRESTLING!!
OU visited Chicago this week for the classic MIDLANDS WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIP. The Sooners made the trip without a couple of their ranked wrestlers (#6 ranked Zack Bailey and #11 Nathan Fernandez) but still posted a strong result, finishing 6th (out of 44 teams) as 5 wrestlers earned awards. Our conference rivals to the north, the Missouri Tigers, finished 1st in a tournament upset of epic proportions. The Tigers didn't send a single guy into the finals, but wrestled strong in the consolations and racked up tons of bonus points. Congratulations Tigers...but no way you beat us in Big 12 wrestling action!
Nationally ranked #5 Jerrod Patterson earned 5th place in a tough bracket at 125 lbs. Jerrod lost in the quarterfinals to tough Anthony Zanetta, but later redeemed his loss by beating Zanetta in the consolations.
7th seed Jordan Keller performed up to expectations, going 3-2 and finishing 7th @ 133 lbs, a nice finish.
Freshman Nick Lester (10th seed) posted a 5-2 record in the tourney with 2 superior decisions, and finished a strong 7th at 149 lbs.
Hats off to Chase Nelson at 157 lbs. Chase (unranked) . Chase pinned 3 of his 5 opponents while beating all 5 on the way to the 157 title! Chase pinned All American Jack Patacsil in the quarterfinals while trailing 14-0 (just proving the old adage...NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON A SOONER!...okay, bad pun). Chase then knocked off #13 ranked James Fleming in the semifinals. Congratulations Chase, great achievement and I know you'll win more titles!
OU All American Tyler Caldwell, 3rd seed, went 7-1 during the tournament and finished 3rd @ 165. Tyler was upset in the 2nd round, but posted 6 straight victories in the consolations to earn 3rd. 3 of Tyler's wins were for bonus points.
Ronnie Balfour went 2-2 @ 174 pounds, but didn't place. He's showing improvement every time out.
Erick Smidtke @184 went 3-2 in the tournament, but was eliminated in the consolation quarterfinals, falling just short of placing.
Keldrick Hall went 0-2 @197 pounds. Hang in there Keldrick, keep working.
Seth Vernon also wrestled at 149 pounds , finishing 1-2 in the tournament.
Great showing Sooners! If the boys can keep improving, by the time nationals come around the Sooners will again be a major force at the tournament.