Tahlequah Daily Press

OSU Sports

March 24, 2014

Dieringer wins national crown at 157 pounds

Oklahoma State finishes with 2 national champions; Cowboys finish third overall at NCAA tournament

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma State was unable to hold up the top prize and settled for third after a few hard fought victories Saturday in the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship.

OSU pushed four wrestlers into the finals on Saturday night. Chris Perry, Joshua Kindig, Alex Dieringer and Tyler Caldwell were on the big show at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Perry and Dieringer were the two that rose above their competition to bring individual titles back home.

“For these kids to be able to reach that top is really satisfying for them,” Oklahoma State coach John Smith said.

Penn State won the team title with 109.5 points, Minnesota grabbed silver with 104 points and the Cowboys earned the bronze with 96.5 points. Iowa ended the tournament in fourth with 78.5 points. The Cowboys earned two national champions, two second-place finishers and an eighth-place finisher.

“I wish it was a different trophy but we finished strong and finished hard,” Smith said.

The 174-pound weight class started the final session on Saturday night which hosted a Bedlam matchup between Perry and Oklahoma’s Andrew Howe. When Perry’s name was announced, the Oklahoma State senior was greeted with cheers and boos. The match started with Perry being called for an early start. Perry said he wanted to set the tone in the match. Perry and Howe were feeling each other out in the first period. The second period started with Perry on bottom. It did not take long for the Cowboy to escape and get on the board. Perry picked up a takedown, which ended up being the only takedown of the match, with 1:10 left in the second. Perry’s defense led the way in the final period and as the final seconds ticked off of the clock, Smith was overjoyed and could not contain his excitement. Perry won 4-0 with a riding time point to claim his second national title.

The Cowboys’ 149-pounder Joshua Kindig, No. 11 seed, and Jason Tsirtsis from Northwestern met in the finals. Kindig took the first strike in the second period with an escape. Tsirtsis answered with a quick escape in the third period. The two ended regulation tied 1-1. Kindig fought off a Tsirtsis takedown for as long as he could but with 0:15 to go, Tsirtsis was awarded the two points and won 3-1.

“Josh Kindig, he had a awesome tournament. Nothing against him. He lost in overtime to a really, really good competitor. So we all had a great tournament. We had a couple of guys go out when we didn’t want them to. But we fought hard. We did as good as we could,” Dieringer said.

Dieringer (157 pounds) fought his way into the finals after finishing third last year. Dieringer and Minnesota’s Dylan Ness squared off in the finals. Dieringer came out firing everything that he had. The Cowboy got a quick takedown and then earned near fall points in the first period for a 5-0 lead. Dieringer did not fall into a defensive mode and ended up with a 13-4 major decision win for the national title.

“Winning on that big stage, there’s really nothing better. I’ve been working so hard in the room, doing extra workouts, all that. So to know that it all paid off, it’s a great feeling,” Dieringer said.

Dieringer’s performance seemed to be a wrestler that was determined to be named a national champion.

“Dieringer I thought did a good job understanding his tactics against this guy,” Smith said. “I liked that he was aggressive and didn’t shut down on his shots and finished them. … You get a major decision in the finals it tells you were ready to go.”

The final match of the night was David Taylor from Penn State and Tyler Caldwell of OSU at 165 pounds. Taylor was able to shut out Caldwell and come away with a 6-0 victory. Taylor is a four-time finalist and won his second national title. Caldwell is now a four-time All-American.

Friday morning, OSU heavyweight Austin Marsden met Jeremy Johnson of Ohio in the seventh-place match. The first period went scoreless. Marsden began the second period on bottom and earned an escape to take a 1-0 advantage into the final period. Johnson started the final period on bottom and tied it up at 1-1 with an escape. Marsden was hit with stalling and Johnson picked up a takedown in the third period and came away with a 4-2 win. Marsden did receive his first All-American honor.

The Big 10 was the conference of the tournament with the national champion and second place, along with having six of the top 10 teams. For the future, Smith is hoping for things to change.

“You look ahead and you recognize that wrestling is in pretty good shape right now,” Smith said. “You want to give your conference the best opportunity and I hope that we see a different qualifier as we go forward from here. … I didn’t think the Big 12 affected us this year, I think it has in the past. But I know that a two-day tournament should never injure you.”

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