Minnesota Uses First-Half Surge to Knock Off No. 5 Cowboys
STILLWATER, Okla. – For the first time since 2014, the University of Minnesota wrestling program has defeated Oklahoma State after marching into the historic Gallagher-Iba Arena to knock off the No. 5 Cowboys, 19-13.
Starting at 165 pounds for Sunday’s contest, the story of the dual was the front half of the lineup as the Maroon and Gold used four upset victories to take a 12-3 lead at the half, including two wins from Gophers who bumped up a weight class.
“We’re always going to need guys that are going to have to battle, but those early wins were key for us to be able to build that momentum initially,” Eggum said. “We’re really proud of the guys and the effort they put forth. This is a great program down here, so that was a big win.”
The dual kicked off at 165 pounds, where Andrew Sparks defeated Wyatt Sheets by a score of 5-4, using a first-period flurry in which he scored two takedowns to help lead him toward the upset victory.
After Bailee O’Reilly fell to Dustin Plott by a 10-5 decision, Isaiah Salazar got the Gophers back on track with an impressive 4-0 decision over Travis Wittlake. Salazar set the tone in the second period with a suffocating ride to keep the match scoreless after two. Following a quick escape, the junior would clinch the upset with a decisive third-period takedown.
Michial Foy would make his return to 197 pounds by taking on a ranked Luke Surber. Foy also had a dominant ride in the second period of his bout and prevailed from a crazy third period after getting the winning escape as well as a takedown in the closing moments to secure the win.
Garrett Joles would then continue the trend for Minnesota by also bumping up to heavyweight for his first contest at 285 pounds since 2020, where he knocked off No. 16 Konnor Doucet. After being knotted at 1-1 after the first overtime period, Joles earned his escape with seven seconds left in the second half of tiebreakers after riding out Doucet in the first half to help Minnesota earn their fourth upset in the first five matches.
“[Foy and Joles] have been in these positions before. Foy wrestled 197 last year and Garrett’s a big guy for his weight, so we knew we were capable of making that adjustment,” said Coach Eggum. “We felt like both guys were strong enough to give up a little weight and still go out and battle, and they did that.”
Patrick McKee kept the “U” rolling by winning the rubber match against Trevor Mastrogiovanni after splitting matches with him last year. McKee was the controlling wrestler for the entirety of the contest and earned the opening takedown and three minutes of riding time in the contest, with the only point he conceded in the bout being a rare technical violation for a supposed headgear pull from the top position.
After dropping decisions at both 133 at 141 pounds, Michael Blockhus was again put in a position to close out a dual for Minnesota, where he defeated Victor Voinovich by a 3-1 decision. Blockhus earned the only takedown in the bout with an inside single in the second period, which proved to be the difference.
“If you look back at this and see some of the guys who lost for us today, on paper you would say we wouldn’t have an opportunity to win this dual,” Eggum said. “To see these other guys step up and get big wins like they did, that’s what good teams do and we’ve been really proud of the guys and the work they’ve put in.”
The win for the Gophers breaks a six-match losing streak against Oklahoma State dating back to 2014 and is the first win for the Maroon & Gold inside Gallagher-Iba Arena since 2013.
The Gophers now move to 4-0 on the year, giving them their best start to a season since the 2014-15 campaign. The loss gives Oklahoma State their first defeat of the season to drop their record to 3-1.
Minnesota has one more road trip ahead of them before the holiday break, as they travel to Fargo, N.D., to take on North Dakota State on Friday, Dec. 9, before heading out west to compete in a triangular meet with Cal Poly and Lindenwood in San Luis Obispo, California.
December 4, 2022 | Stillwater, Okla. | Gallagher-Iba Arena | Attendance: 4217
#10 Minnesota (18), #5 Oklahoma State (12)
165: #27 Andrew Sparks (MINN) dec. #16 Wyatt Sheets (OKST), 5-4
174: #4 Dustin Plott (OKST) dec. #18 Bailee O’Reilly (MINN), 10-5
184: #13 Isaiah Salazar (MINN) dec. #11 Travis Wittlake (OKST), 4-0
197: Michial Foy (MINN) dec. #29 Luke Surber (OKST), 7-4
HWT: #28* Garrett Joles (MINN) dec. #16 Konnor Doucet (OKST), 2-1 TB1
125: #4 Patrick McKee (MINN) dec. #7 Trevor Mastrogiovanni (OKST), 4-1
133: #2 Daton Fix (OKST) dec. #18 Aaron Nagao (MINN), 10-3
141: #21 Carter Young (OKST) dec. #3 Jake Bergeland (MINN), 5-1
149: #17 Michael Blockhus (MINN) dec. #18 Victor Voinovich (OKST), 3-1
157: #10 Kaden Gfeller (OKST) dec. #2 Brayton Lee (MINN), 2-0
Note: InterMat Rankings