The No. 6 University of Minnesota wrestling team suffered its first defeat of the season, 30-3, to No. 3 Oklahoma State on Sunday afternoon.
“Overall we are disappointed,” head coach Brandon Eggum said. “I think we wrestled flat today. Some guys got caught in the same positions several times in their matches. There were some matches we lost in the third period, and it will be something we continue to talk about as we move forward this season.”
Minnesota did not pick up a victory until the ninth match of the day. No. 5 Ethan Lizak made a furious comeback against No. 3 Nick Piccininni after being down 8-1 in the first period. Lizak decided to take top in the second period and proved why he is one of the most talented wrestlers in the country while on top. Lizak scored a four-point near fall to cut the lead to 8-5 and then forced another two-point near fall to bring the score back to 8-7 heading into the third period.
“It was a surprise to be down that big, that early,” Ethan Lizak said after the dual. “I knew my ability on top is good enough to turn anyone in the country, so if I could just get to my position, I knew I could start focusing on those turns and getting myself back into the match, which is exactly what I did.”
The junior earned a takedown in the third period to take a 9-8 lead, and by that time had enough riding time for the bonus point. Piccininni escaped, making it 9-9, but it was too late as Lizak took the decision 10-9 to remain as the only undefeated Minnesota wrestler this season.
The dual began with a highly anticipated match, No. 8 Tommy Thorn vs No. 1 Dean Heil at 141. Thorn and Heil remained scoreless after one period, and then a pair of escapes set up a 1-1 third period. Heil scored a takedown with just 15 seconds left to take the match, 3-1.
Oklahoma State picked up two straight victories before another ranked matchup came to the mat. No. 6 Chandler Rogers took on Nick Wanzek at 165. With the match tied at 1-1 in the third, Rogers scored a takedown to make it 3-1. Wanzek scored an escape, but couldn’t finish off the comeback in the time he had remaining.
At 184, Owen Webster had a chance to win the match with a takedown with just 35 seconds left, but a quick reversal erased his lead and riding time eventually gave his opponent a 7-5 decision.
In other ranked matches, sophomore Rylee Streifel needed just one takedown down 3-2 to have a chance at defeating No. 11 Derek White, but couldn’t come up with a finish and eventually fell 5-2.
No. 6 Mitch McKee took on No. 4 Kaid Brock and was down 7-3 before earning his first takedown to cut the score to 7-5 entering the final period. It came down to the final 30 seconds, with McKee down 7-6 and both wrestlers on their feet. Brock was able to secure one last takedown and defeated the sophomore 9-7 to wrap up the night for the Cowboys.
Most Gopher wrestlers will take Thanksgiving weekend off before returning to action on Dec. 1 and 2 for the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev. Mitch McKee will travel to Poland to take on the U23 World Championships. McKee qualified for the team back in October.
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#3 Oklahoma State 30, #6 Minnesota 3
141: #1 Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) dec. #8 Tommy Thorn (Minnesota) 3-1
149: #12 Geo Martinez (Oklahoma State) maj. dec. Hunter Marko (Minnesota) 9-1
157: Jonce Blaylock (Oklahoma State) dec. #10 Jake Short (Minnesota) 3-1 sv
165: #6 Chandler Rogers (Oklahoma State) dec. #10 Nick Wanzek (Minnesota) 3-2
174: #12 Jacobe Smith (Oklahoma State) maj. dec. Chris Pfarr (Minnesota) 10-1
184: Keegan Moore (Oklahoma State) dec. Owen Webster (Minnesota) 7-5
197: Andrew Marsden (Oklahoma State) maj. dec. Bobby Steveson (Minnesota)
Hwt: #11 Derek White (Oklahoma State) dec. Rylee Streifel (Minnesota) 5-2
125: #5 Ethan Lizak (Minnesota) dec. #3 Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State) 10-9
133: #4 Kaid Brock (Oklahoma State) dec. #6 Mitch McKee (Minnesota) 9-7