Jan. 29, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The NC State wrestling team takes to the road this weekend for a Sunday dual match in Stillwater, Okla.,*against fourth-ranked Oklahoma State.* The match will begin at 3 p.m. EST.
The on-line radio broadcast of the match, which will originate from KSPI 93.7 FM radio in Stillwater, will be available at www.okstate.com. Fans can watch the dual live online on the multimedia link at www.okstate.com. The video feed also includes the audio from the radio broadcast. Fans can also follow the action online through live results and play-by-play on www.okstate.com. Simply go to the main wrestling page and click the link to the primary story on the page.
Sunday's dual at Oklahoma State will be a return trip to the state of Oklahoma for the Wolfpack, which wrestled at then-eighth-ranked Oklahoma on Nov. 27. Head coach Carter Jordan is looking for a much different result on this trip to the Sooner State.
"We got our fannies beat when we wrestled Oklahoma back in November," Jordan said. "I'd like to think we're a much stronger team than we were back in November and will give a much better performance than we did then. I really believe that."
NC State has won seven of 10 dual matches since losing at Oklahoma, including a 30-15 victory over Duke on Thursday night at Reynolds Coliseum. The Wolfpack lineup got a boost just after Christmas with the return of top-ranked 149-pounder Darrion Caldwell and sophomore heavyweight Eloheim Palma, who both missed the bout vs. the Sooners while recovering from injuries.
Palma returned to action Dec. 29 at the Southern Scuffle, and despite a recent rough patch, has wrestled well, posting a 10-7 record. He snapped a personal four-match losing skid with a 6-4 victory Thursday over Duke's Andrew Fulk. Two of the four losses in the streak were to ranked wrestlers Josh Wine of VMI and Jeremy Johnson of Ohio University. He also lost a close bout to Virginia's Jack Danilkowicz, who is unranked but sports an 18-10 mark. Caldwell, coming off a September 2009 shoulder operation, returned to the lineup Jan. 4 and is unbeaten in seven bouts. He has six pins. The 2009 national champion at 149 pounds, Caldwell is the second-winningest wrestler in program history with a 101-12 career record. He has 56 pins and an .894 winning percentage, both of which rank second in the school record books.
"Getting Darrion back was huge for us in so many ways," Jordan says. "He helps us win even when he's not on the mat. He really inspires and encourages his teammates, and he doesn't tolerate it when guys give anything but their best. On the mat, there's no one quite like him. Eloheim has struggled a bit recently, but he's worked so hard and is so intense that I expect him to pull out of it soon."
Even while Caldwell and Palma were out of action, the Wolfpack got consistently strong performances from a trio of juniors -- 141-pounder Darrius Little, 157-pounder Colton Palmer and 174-pounder Quinton Godley. Freshman 149-pounder Matt Nereim has been outstanding while subbing for Caldwell.
Little comes into action at Oklahoma State with a 22-6 overall record. He has won seven matches in a row and 11 of his last 12. Included in that streak is a 5-3 decision over 2010 All-American Germane Lindsey of Ohio University.
Palmer sat out the Duke match with an illness, but has been steady as a rock for the Pack. At 24-8, he has won nine matches in a row and 13 of his last 15.
Godley wrestled three of his last four matches at 184 as the coaches toyed with the idea of moving him there for the postseason. At 18-11 overall, he is 17-9 at 174 and has won his last six matches at that weight.
Nereim comes into action this weekend with a 12-2 record and six pins while subbing for Caldwell. He pinch-hit for Palmer at 157 during the Duke match and pinned the Blue Devils' Ryan Harding in 76 seconds. He has won nine matches in a row, and has won his last three by pin, and four of his last five.
"Little, Palmer and Godley have been consistent for us all season," Jordan said. "They've given us everything you could ask. We weren't even counting on Matt Nereim when the season started. He stepped into the lineup when we needed someone to step up and deliver, and he's done exactly that. We haven't had a freshman perform like that since Darrion [in 2007]."
NC State will face a formidable task in taking on the Cowboys, who feature nine ranked wrestlers in their 10-man lineup, including top-ranked 133-pounder Jordan Oliver and third-ranked 197-pounder Clayton Foster.
"Clearly, Oklahoma State is one of the best teams in the country and a great opportunity for our guys," Jordan said. "We have to stay aggressive and wrestle smart. Like I said, the last time we went out to Oklahoma, we got beat badly. This is a chance to show that we're a much better wrestling team than that."
Following are the probable starting lineups for Sunday's match between NC State and Oklahoma State:
#4 Oklahoma State* (8-2-1)
125 - #8 Jon Morrison (14-4)
133 - #1 Jordan Oliver (15-0)
141 - #16 Josh Kindig (17-5) or Luke Silver (11-3)* *
149 - #9 Jamal Parks (17-2)
157 - #15 Neil Erisman ( 4-3)
165 - #13 Dallas Bailey (17-3)
174 - #15 Mike Benefiel (7-5)
184 - #14 Chris Perry (15-4)
197 - #3 Clayton Foster (13-0)
Hwt - Blake Rosholt (4-4) or Tyson Yoder (10-9)
NC State (8-5)
125 - Pedram Rahmatabadi (11-10) or Dustin Champion (3-1)
133 - Dale Shull (7-3) or Conor Hovis (3-11)
141 - Darrius Little (22-6)
149 - #1 Darrion Caldwell (7-0)
157 - Colton Palmer (24-8) or Matt Nereim (10-2)
165 - Colin Genthert (5-14)
174 - Nijel Jones (6-13)
184 - Quinton Godley (18-11)
197 - KaRonne Jones (10-16)
Hwt - Eloheim Palma (10-7) or Christian McClean (1-7)