By ANDREW GLOVER
STILLWATER — The No. 2-ranked Oklahoma State University wrestling team will get to take its game to one of the biggest sports venues in the country when it takes on Chattanooga at 9:30 a.m. and No. 8 Cornell at 11:30 a.m. in the Grapple at the Garden, Sunday in Madison Square Garden.
“I’ve never been to New York,” Cowboy wrestler Chris Perry said. “I’m really excited to go to New York. It’s another match. It’s against Cornell and we never get to dual them. It’s going to be fun. Definitely hoping we have a good match. It’s going to be something everyone is hyped up for.”
Senior Jordan Oliver, a native of Philadelphia, said he’s excited about the matches because he has family that’s close to the area.
“Definitely going to try to pack Madison Square Garden with people back home,” said Oliver, who fell short of a national title last year when the NCAA tournament was hosted in his home town. “I’ll get to see a lot of family members. It’s a great opportunity and got to embrace it.”
The Cowboys are coming off a 31-8 victory over Wyoming last Saturday at Gallagher-Iba Arena and a 26-9 victory at Oklahoma. Chattanooga enters with a 3-2 dual record coming off a 37-6 loss to Iowa last Friday. The Mocs compete against Princeton today before its 9:30 a.m. dual with the Cowboys on Sunday. Oklahoma State holds a 6-0 series lead.
The Big Red (4-0) are coming off of four wins at the Journeymen Northeast Duals in Albany, N.Y. Cornell faces Missouri before dualing the Pokes. Oklahoma State leads the series against Cornell, 3-0. OSU coach John Smith said both matches will be good tests.
“Cornell is a tough team,” Smith said. “Being in New York, it will probably be like an away dual meet for us. We don’t want to overlook Tennessee-Chattanooga. The dual meet with Cornell ought to be a good one. I’m excited about it.”
One of the highly anticipated matches against Cornell will be the 165-pound bout between OSU’s Tyler Caldwell and Kyle Dake of Cornell. Both wrestlers stand at 9-0 overall. Dake has four victories by fall and three by major decision. Caldwell has won three by fall and three by major decision. The junior said he doesn’t have a specific game plan for Dake.
“I’m really trying to put together my best match,” Caldwell said. “(I’m going to) just wrestle my style. I think my style can beat anyone.”
Smith said Caldwell just has to focus on what he does.
“I don’t think he had the match he wanted (against Oklahoma),” Smith said. “There will be some studying with Dake and looking at that match. I still think it will be what Caldwell does that wins or loses the match or what Dake does.”
After the duals at Madison Square Garden, the Cowboys wrestle at Bucknell at 7 p.m. Monday. The Bison are 2-1 with victories against Gardner-Webb and Southern Illinois Edwardsville and face Iowa on Sunday at the Grapple in the Garden.
Andrew Glover is a sports reporter for The Stillwater NewsPress.