Cowboys Send All 10 To NCAAs
March 9, 2011
2011 NCAA Bracket in PDF Format
STILLWATER, Okla. - The Oklahoma State wrestling team will send all 10 of its starters to next week's NCAA Wrestling Championships in Philadelphia, it was announced today. Of OSU's 10 selections, eight earned automatic berths into the field based off their finish at the Big 12 Championships and the remaining two, 125-pounder Jon Morrison and 285-pounder Blake Rosholt, earned at-large berths into the field.
Leading the way for the Pokes entering the NCAA Championships is a one-two punch of returning All-Americans in 133-pounder Jordan Oliver and 197-pounder Clayton Foster. Both are undefeated this year, with Oliver sporting a 24-0 overall record that includes 21 bonus-point wins and Foster posting a 22-0 record that includes 11 wins over ranked opponents. Oliver placed fourth at last year's NCAA Championships and Foster placed sixth a year ago.
For Oliver, the NCAA Championships will be a homecoming of sorts. He grew up an hour north of Philadelphia in Easton, Pa., where he won three Pennsylvania state titles wrestling for Easton HS.
He will be joined at the NCAA Championships by another native Pennsylvanian in freshman 141-pounder and Auburn, Pa., product Josh Kindig. A two-time Pennsylvania state champion in his own right, Kindig started the season competing strictly at open tournaments, but was pulled out of redshirt at the National Duals and went on to place third at the Big 12 Championships.
In addition to Oliver and Foster, three more Big 12 champions will suit up for the Cowboys at the NCAA Championships in 149-pounder Jamal Parks, 157-pounder Neil Erisman and 184-pounder Chris Perry. Parks is a two-time conference champion in search of his first career All-America honor. Erisman, a senior co-captain of the team, won his first career Big 12 title last week and could be a key figure in OSU's showing at NCAAs. Perry became the 16th freshman to win a Big 12 title last week and looks to become the 33rd freshman in OSU's storied history to earn All-America status.
Speaking of freshmen, 165-pounder Dallas Bailey will look to ride the wave of positive momentum he gained at the Big 12 Championships and parlay that into success at the national level. Bailey was seeded fifth out of five wrestlers at the Big 12 Championships, but placed third after scoring an impressive win over No. 10 Zach Toal of Missouri in the third-place bout.
A top-10 wrestler nationally at his weight class, Morrison is one of two at-large selections for OSU. He was the No. 1 seed at the Big 12 Championships, but a leg issue sustained the week before the conference tournament left him competing as a shadow of himself and he lost his first-round bout and had to medical forfeit his way out of the tournament. He is expected to be at full strength for the NCAA Championships.
Rosholt is the second of OSU's at-large entries. The redshirt freshman was originally slated to wrestle at 197 pounds, but was moved up to heavyweight after Alan Gelogaev went down with an injury suffered at the first open tournament of the year. He weighed in at less than 210 pounds for nearly all of his bouts and often times surrendered more than 50 pounds to his opponents, yet still found a way to score enough quality wins to earn a spot in the NCAA field.
Rounding out OSU's roster of wrestlers at the NCAA Championships is 174-pounder Mike Benefiel, who placed second at the Big 12 Championships, losing only to undefeated and No. 1-ranked Jon Reader of Iowa State who was competing on his home mat at the conference meet. Benefiel enters the NCAA Championships as a winner in eight of his last nine bouts.
The NCAA Championships will be contested from March 17-19 at the Wells-Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
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