• Wyoming head coach Mark Branch, a four-time NCAA finalist and two-time champion for Oklahoma State, grew up in Newkirk, Okla. about 25 minutes from the Kansas border and Ark City, Kan. Last Friday, Branch and Oklahoma head coach Mark Cody, along with the aid of longtime wrestling official and Ark City native Jim Ramirez, worked out the particulars for the Cowboys and Sooners to wrestle at Ark City High.
|WYOMING VS. OKLAHOMA|
“With Bedlam on Sunday we did not have a lot of options with our schedule if we wanted to wrestle OU,” Branch said. “[Ramirez] made it happen and any time you don’t have to wrestle OU in Norman is probably a good thing.”
It worked out for Branch and his squad as the Cowboys upset the Sooners 25-13 for only the second time in 18 meetings. It worked out for Ark City High as well. They won the annual Perry Tournament of Champions last weekend.
• Air Force senior Cole VonOhlen and freshman Willie Baker also got some early holiday cooking last Friday. The pair joined their Falcon teammates for a trio of dual meets at Jackson County Central High School in Jackson, Minn., where VonOhlen, the Air Force Academy’s all-time leader in pins, won a pair of state titles and Baker was competing less than a year ago. AFA beat NAIA schools Dakota Wesleyan and Northwestern College (Iowa), and Division II power Augustana (S.D.). VonOhlen, now 17-1 and ranked eighth by Amateur Wrestling News at 149 pounds, moved his career pin total to 46 with two more. He also picked up a major decision of DII All-American Nate Herda of Augustana.
• The state of Pennsylvania is home to more than 20 NCAA wrestling programs spread from Division I to Division III. The 70th-annual Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships were held at DII Kutztown over the weekend with Edinboro winning its 11th PSAC title since 1998 and 14th overall in an event first contested in 1940. Clarion was a distant second, 20.5 points back in the 10-team field. All-American James Fleming, a 157-pounder for Clarion, was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.
Lock Haven won the first five PSAC titles and leads the pack with 19. Bloomsburg and Clarion have each claimed 14 team trophies. Six Keystone state schools are ranked among the top 25 in Division I, led by reigning champion Penn State. Division II and III each show three led by Pittsburgh-Johnstown at No. 11 in DII and Messiah at No. 21 in DIII.
• Chase Nelson started his collegiate wrestling career at Labette Community College in Kansas. He won a JUCO national title as a 157-pounder in 2010. Nelson spent the 2010-11 season suiting up for the Oklahoma where he went 19-11, winning a Midlands championship and qualified for the 2011 NCAA Championships. In January of 2012, he returned home to attend Division II Nebraska-Kearney, the 2012 NCAA champions. Nelson finished the first semester of competition in style, winning the Loper Open in Kearney over the weekend. He pinned his first two opponents in a combined 38 seconds (:21 and :17) and beat Nebraska freshman Aaron Studebaker 10-9 in the finals.
• Joe Colon, a junior 133-pounder at Northern Iowa, was dismissed from the program, UNI head coach Doug Schwab announced last week. “The standard of excellence we demand in the wrestling room extends to every aspect of a student-athlete’s life. The most important thing for Joe right now is to commit himself outside of wrestling the same way he committed to wrestling. If that happens, we would welcome Joe back for his senior season,” Schwab said. Colon was unbeaten in Open tournaments and ranked among the top eight to start the season after reaching the NCAA quarterfinals and going 27-4 as a sophomore in 2011-12.
Wrestling unattached, Colon won the Northern Iowa Open on Saturday.
• Three-time NCAA champion Kyle Dake, ranked No. 1 at 165 pounds and winner of 49 consecutive matches, is expected to face Tyler Caldwell, a two-time All-American, when Cornell and Oklahoma State face off in Sunday’s Grapple in the Garden in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Caldwell (9-0) escaped a scare last Sunday, edging Patrick “Bubby” Graham in overtime in the Cowboys’ win versus the Sooners, Caldwell’s former team.
Most of the talk this season has been about Dake, who is 100-4 for his career, and Penn State’s David Taylor, an NCAA champion in 2012, as the top two 165 pounders. Caldwell is used to it. Two seasons ago the talk was about Jordan Burroughs and Andrew Howe, but Caldwell ended that discussion when he beat Howe, a 2010 NCAA champion, in the NCAA semifinals before falling to Burroughs, a World champion and Olympic gold medalist in freestyle.
“I’m used to it,” Caldwell said. “It’s not as much about me worrying about what the other guy does; it’s about me doing what I do. I honestly do take it one match at a time, and this one will be tough. I expect a battle.”
The last wrestler to beat Dake? Kevin LaValley of Bucknell in the 2011 EIWA finals.
Logan and Hunter Steiber, Ohio State’s talented brother combination, are a combined 27-0 with 18 bonus-point victories to start the season. Logan is ranked No. 1 at 133 pounds with Hunter at No. 2 in the 141 class… Five freshmen are ranked inside the top 20 at 133 pounds, led by Oklahoma’s Cody Brewer, who is 11-2 and ranked 10th. Oklahoma State’s Alex Dieringer, a 157-pounder, beat two ranked opponents over the weekend to move to 9-0… The most points available in a dual meet are 60 (10 pins at six points each). Penn State routed Indiana 52-0 on Sunday with six pins and a forfeit… Wisconsin upset No. 9 Nebraska 19-17 in Lincoln on Sunday… A week after falling to Oklahoma State, Minnesota split 10 matches with Oregon State on Saturday, needing a technical fall by All-American Kevin Steinhaus at 184 and a major decision by Cody Yohn at 165 for a 21-18 victory. Scott Sakaguchi and RJ Pena each had pins for the Beavers. The real star for Minnesota was Alec Ortiz. He bumped up two weights, from 157 to 174, and picked up a key victory… Iowa’s 26-9 win against Lehigh was the Hawkeyes’ 200th inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the program’s home since 1983… Kent State 197-pounder Dustin Kilgore and Iowa 125-pounder Matt McDonough have each won 35 consecutive matches.