By JASON ELMQUIST
STILLWATER — It may not have been the former Oklahoma State wrestler expected to reach the finals, but with Olympic medalist Coleman Scott out due to injury, Chris Pendleton gave the Cowboy faithful something to cheer about at the U.S. World Team Trials Friday.
Pendleton, who is an assistant coach for Wyoming University where he also trains, advanced through the challenge tournament as the top seeded contender at 96 kilograms to reach the best-of-three series final with three straight technical falls — to set up a rematch from the U.S. Open final with J.D. Bergman.
“I haven’t been here since 2005, so I’m really excited,” Pendleton said following his semifinal victory. “The birth-place of modern wrestling happened on this floor. I’ve been spending all week telling people about the history of Gallagher and how these are the best fans in country and I love them dearly. I’m excited to wrestle in front of them.”
Bergman narrowly won the bout in Las Vegas, 1-0, 2-1, but the rules changed since that last meeting — with two points being awarded for takedowns and the scoring being cumulative. This time, he left nothing in doubt and won back-to-back bouts to end Pendleton’s strive for a world team spot in Stillwater.
Pendleton scored the first points of the match with an early takedown, but Bergman came roaring back in the second period to score a 9-2 technical fall in the first match.
“It definitely increased the pressure a little bit,” Bergman said. “He’s a very good wrestler, he’s slick and he hit that move — that didn’t score at the Open. It’s one of the only moves that’s available for a guy to do when I have an underhook.”
The second match didn’t even make it to the second period as Bergman pinned the 31-year-old Pendleton in 18 seconds to clinch the world team spot.
Action picks back up Saturday morning with three former OSU wrestlers scheduled to the hit the mat. Jordan Oliver will be the No. 1 seed in the challenge tournament at 66 kilograms. Clayton Foster is the top seed in the challenge tournament at 84 kg. Thanks to winning the U.S. Open, Obe Blanc will wait to wrestle in the best-of-three final series at 6 p.m. in the 55 kg class.
Burroughs backs down Dake
In the most anticipated matchup of the Friday finals — and possibly the entire weekend — Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs made quick work of four-time NCAA national champion Kyle Dake.
Dake, who got the idea from Burroughs to go for his fourth national title in a fourth different weight class, scored six points on the 2012 London Olympic Games gold medal winner. Burroughs won the best-of-three series final in two matches to clinch a spot on the world team.
Burroughs scored a quick takedown in the first 20 seconds of the opening match and earned the 7-0 technical fall with a minute left in the opening period. Dake made things interesting in the second match with a three-point takedown out of bounds to take a lead and eventually Burroughs battled back to send the match to overtime.
The gold medalist didn’t mess around in the extra time, however, and scored a takedown in nine seconds to win the match 8-6.