Tahlequah Daily Press

OU Sports

March 24, 2014

Perry knocks off Bedlam rival for another national title

Oklahoma State's Chris Perry adds to family legacy with national finals victory over Andrew Howe

OKLAHOMA CITY — Chris Perry added to the family legacy Saturday in Oklahoma City, becoming a two-time national champion with a 4-0 victory over Oklahoma’s Andrew Howe at 174 pounds in the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship.

“I have a great family. Absolutely crazy that we have 12,” said Perry, who was announced as the 12th family member to be in the NCAA finals. “But what’s crazy is I knew where every one of them were in the stands when I stepped on the mat.”

For the one family member who had the best view of the repeat — Cowboy coach John Smith, who is Perry’s uncle — seeing Perry win another one was just as special as the first last year in Des Moines, Iowa.

“As his uncle, as the coach, it’s obviously a special evening,” Smith said. “Of course with him being a Stillwater boy, where our families have been for a long time, even makes it better. He earned it tonight.”

Perry, who said Friday night that Howe was the only person he wanted to face in the championship match, couldn’t wait until the opening whistle to start the action. With the two wrestlers standing at the center of the match, Perry shot toward Howe just as the whistle was about to blow — which drew a caution from the official.

“I told everybody I was going to set the tone this match,” Perry said. “... This time I knew he thought I was going to not shoot on him, and I wanted to let him know right off the whistle I’m coming for you.”

His early actions — coupled with his pistol’s firing moment after Friday’s semifinal win — made it easy for much of the arena to boo the Oklahoma State senior. But Perry, who said he blocked out the boos, did get a loud ovation throughout the match from the Cowboy faithful — with which he joined in during their chant of “O-S-U!” after his win.

“It’s always big when you have that crowd behind you,” Perry said. “We have the greatest fans and they were getting after it.”

The new approach against Howe worked for Perry.

It was late in the second period when Perry shot in on Howe and landed a takedown to take a 3-0 lead — and prevented Howe from getting an escape. From there, Howe appeared shell-shocked and didn’t shoot much in the final period.

“I think he hadn’t been taken down a whole lot and he did it with a pretty impressive move that really changed the pace of the match,” Smith said. “I really feel Chris took control of it after that.”

Within the Oklahoma State family, Perry joined former teammate Jordan Oliver as recent two-time national champions; among his immediate family, he joins his uncle and older brother, Mark Perry Jr., with that distinguished honor.

“He’s a two-time national champion,” Smith said, “I guess we’ll keep him.”

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