Cowboys hang on to edge Gophers, 20-17
The 21st-ranked Gophers headed to Stillwater this weekend, where No. 2 Oklahoma State waited at Gallagher-Iba Arena to renew what has become one of the nation’s most-celebrated non-conference wrestling rivalries. Minnesota looked tough against the favored Cowboys on Sunday, splitting the meet’s 10 matches and scoring consecutive upsets at 149 and 157 pounds, but bonus points in back-to-back bouts later in the dual made the difference as OSU held on to defeat Minnesota, 20-17. The Gophers are now 4-4 after wrestling a program-record eight duals this November.
The Gophers built a 10-6 lead midway through the dual, powered by a major decision from Sam Brancale at 133 pounds and consecutive upsets from Jake Short and Brandon Kingsley. Short’s 2-1 victory over No. 8 Anthony Collica and Kingsley’s 3-2 decision over No. 14 Chance Marstellar were the first victories over ranked opponents for both wrestlers this season. In Short’s case, Sunday’s win also marked his first dual match of the season after missing several weeks with an injury suffered at the season-opening Daktronics Open.
Coincidentally, injuries played a role in his match with Collica on Sunday. With the score tied at one and less than 30 seconds remaining, Collica had to request injury time for what appeared to be an ankle issue. Following that timeout, Short was awarded his choice of position, giving him the opportunity to score a late escape and take the match.
Following those upsets, Oklahoma State sent its two highest-ranked wrestlers to compete in the next two matches, and both backed up their national rankings with strong performances. First, two-time defending NCAA champion and the nation’s top-ranked 165-pounder, Alex Dieringer, defeated Brandon Krone by technical fall. It was a tough draw for Krone, who was making his career dual debut on Sunday afternoon, becoming the sixth Gopher to do so in the team’s first eight duals this season. In the next contest, No. 3 Kyle Crutchmer turned a big lateral drop into a pin against Jordon Rothers in the closing seconds of the first period. Those results, and the five combined bonus points they produced, turned a 10-6 Gopher lead into a 17-10 deficit, a gap that ultimately proved too much to overcome.
Following a 4-1 decision for Nolan Boyd over Chris Pfarr at 184, which gave the Pokes a 20-10 lead, No. 6 Brett Pfarr and No. 9 Michael Kroells earned a major decision and a decision, respectively, taking a significant bite out of the OK State lead but leaving the Gophers a few points short of the victory.
Kroells was scheduled to take part in one of the afternoon’s two headline matches against No. 4 Austin Marsden but, following a flagrant misconduct call during Oklahoma State’s dual on Friday night, Marsden was ineligible for Sunday’s dual. Kroells instead wrestled Austin Schafer and took a 7-3 decision.
The other premier match went on as scheduled, with No. 9 Tommy Thorn challenging No. 1 Dean Heil at 141. Thorn wrestled tough against Heil, but dropped his third match of the season, a 7-3 decision. All three of Thorn’s losses have come by decision against opponents ranked in the top-five nationally.
Sunday’s defeat snapped the Gophers’ three-match winning streak in their series against the Cowboys, though Minnesota has still won four of the last six. Sunday was also the first time Oklahoma State knocked off Minnesota in Stillwater since the 2011-12 season. The three-point margin made the dual the third straight between the two teams settled by four points or fewer.
Minnesota will take a brief break from its dual schedule this week to defend its title against a nationally elite field at the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev. The two-day tournament will begin this Friday and wrap up on Saturday.
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#2 Oklahoma State 20, #21 Minnesota 17
125: #5 Eddie Klimara (OSU) dec. Skylar Petry (Minn) 8-2
133: Sam Brancale (Minn) maj. dec. Gary Wayne Harding (OSU) 16-2
141: #1 Dean Heil (OSU) dec. #9 Tommy Thorn (Minn) 7-3
149: Jake Short (Minn) dec. #8 Anthony Collica (OSU) 2-1
157: Brandon Kingsley (Minn) dec. #14 Chance Marsteller (OSU)
165: #1 Alex Dieringer (OSU) tech fall Brandon Krone (Minn) 18-1
174: #3 Kyle Crutchmer (OSU) fall Jordon Rothers (Minn) 2:58
184: Nolan Boyd (OSU) dec. Chris Pfarr (Minn) 4-1
197: #6 Brett Pfarr (Minn) maj. dec. #15 (at 184) Jordan Rogers (OSU) 16-5
285: #9 Michael Kroells (Minn) dec. Austin Schafer (OSU) 8-3