By JASON ELMQUIST
STILLWATER – The second-ranked Oklahoma State wrestling team rode its way to a ninth-straight dual victory this season with an impressive 26-14 win over No. 17 Pittsburgh in OSU's final home dual of the season.
With four bouts featuring a pair of ranked wrestlers, the Cowboys came away victories in three and picked up bonus point victories in three other matches.
“That's a great team and (they're) a lot better than the score indicated,” head assistant coach Eric Guerrero said. “From a performance standpoint, there was quite a bit of good, and just a little shakiness from us.”
Eddie Klimara carried over his big victory against West Virginia on Friday. Klimara, who controlled his match against Derrick Nelson, scored a pin with 37 seconds remaining to give OSU the early 6-0 lead.
“In practice, he's doing every single little detail we're asking of him right now and he probably needs to take notice of the fact that is probably why he is doing better,” Guerrero said. “That's not patting anybody on the back but Eddie. Kudos to him for being mature enough to listen to the knowledge around him and we're proud of that. And hopefully that will translate into more wins.”
Pitt took the lead with a 13-6 decision at 133 between No. 16 Shelton Mack and OSU's Tyler Dorrell, who is wrestling for fifth-ranked Jon Morrison who has been sidelined with an injury, and a 15-0 first-period technical fall at 141 between Pittsburgh's Travis Shaffer and OSU's Julian Feikert.
But then came what has become known as “Murder's Row” for the Cowboys – with seven ranked wrestlers closing out the weight classes.
Top-ranked Jordan Oliver clinched a 14-4 major decision at 149 pounds to reclaim the lead and the Cowboys would never relinquish. No. 10 Alex Dieringer took down Donnie Tasser with an 8-2 decision to set up the first matchup of ranked wrestlers at 165.
Tyler Caldwell, ranked No. 3 at 165, came up big in key moments against No. 13 Tyler Wilps to pull out a 5-1 decision. Caldwell recorded a takedown at the buzzer in both the first and second period to set up his victory.
“Late-period takedowns are always a good thing, so him picking those up instead of letting the period end on the feet is improvement for him,” Guerrero said. “But moving forward, let's get three of those a period – one at the beginning, middle and the end. But without a doubt, a good performance by him finishing the period on top.”
No. 1-ranked Chris Perry claimed OSU's third bonus point victory in his 174-pound match with a 12-4 major decision over Nick Bonaccorsi.
In the only upset win of the night – at least based on rankings – No. 14 Chris Chionuma wrestled No. 13 Max Thomusseit of Pitt to a 7-2 victory at 184 pounds. It was Chionuma's second upset win in the past week – having top the tenth-ranked wrestler in the Iowa dual the week before. The victory by Chionuma clinched the dual win for the Cowboys, taking the pressure off the heavyweights.
It the closest match of the night, No. 16 Blake Rosholt took Pittsburgh's second-ranked Matt Wilps to overtime at 197. With both wrestlers recording escapes for the only points of the first three periods, and no points being scored in the first overtime period, the bout went to two 30-second periods.
Rosholt was unable to escape in the first, and with needing to ride Wilps for 30 seconds, slipped up and Wilps pulled out a reversal and pinned the Ponca City native.
In the only bout of top 10 opponents, No. 7-ranked Zac Thomusseit for the Panthers proved to be no match for third-ranked Alan Gelogaev of OSU. Gelogaev won an 8-3 decision behind three takedowns.
Oklahoma State will return to the mat Sunday with a road dual against unranked Arizona State. It will begin a stretch of three-straight road duals before the Cowboys take part in the Nationals Dual on Feb. 17.
Jason Elmquist is sports editor of The Stillwater NewsPress.