Cowboys take early lead; Gophers' Konrad going strong

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Three-time defending champion Oklahoma State piled up six pins in the second round of the NCAA wrestling tournament Thursday night to take a 12-point lead over rival Oklahoma.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Three-time defending champion Oklahoma State piled up six pins in the second round of the NCAA wrestling tournament Thursday night to take a 12-point lead over rival Oklahoma.

Reigning NCAA champions Zack Esposito (149 pounds), Johny Hendricks (165), Jack Rosholt (197) and Steve Mocco (heavyweight) all pinned their second-round opponents, with each pin providing the Cowboys two valuable bonus points toward their 36½-point total.

"Our four stars are going out looking to dominate, looking to win back-to-back titles," said Esposito, who recorded the first of the team's pins against Morgan Atkinson of Cal State-Fullerton.

Esposito's pin created a trickle-down effect. Hendricks followed by downing North Carolina's Garrett Atkinson. Rosholt then smothered Old Dominion's Adam Wright, and Mocco took down Boise State's Andrew Patrick.

But Oklahoma State still wasn't done dominating. Coleman Scott, who was upset earlier in the day, came back to pin two opponents -- Oregon State's Eric Stevenson and Chattanooga's Javier Maldonado -- in the 125-pound consolation bracket.


Hendricks said the Cowboys were drawing motivation from their teammates' performances.

"It raises the bar for our team and for our individuals, like 'We can do that.' It's just raising their morale," Hendricks said.

No. 2 seed Nathan Morgan (133) and 11th seed Brandon Mason (174) also moved on with minor decisions to give the Cowboys a tournament-high six wrestlers in the quarterfinals.

Led by defending champion Teyon Ware (141), Oklahoma was second with 24½ points. Hofstra and Edinboro tied for third place with 22½ points. Michigan and Nebraska had 22 points and were in a three-way tie with Minnesota, the favorite. The Gophers picked up a late half-point after protesting a win by Ohio State's Blake Mauer against Minnesota's Gabriel Dretsch in a 174-pound consolation match. After an hour delay, the wrestlers returned to start the third period anew and Dretsch beat Mauer.

"We're not keeping pace with extra points and it's killing us," Oklahoma coach Jack Spates said. "But as far as the guys showing up to wrestle, for the most part, we're doing a real good job."

Sam Hazewinkel, the No. 2 seed at 125 pounds, earned Oklahoma three bonus points by pinning Iowa's Luke Magnani in the third period but the Sooners were lacking elsewhere.

"The extra points are huge, and their guys are going for it. Give them credit. They have really opened things up," Spates said. "If you look in terms of number of wins, we're probably right there. But if you look in terms of extra points, we're pretty far back."

Hofstra, which had only two wrestlers seeded, got a big boost when Chris Weidman, an unseeded junior college transfer making his first appearance at the NCAA tournament, upset top-seeded Wynn Michalak of Central Michigan in the 197-pound class.


"This is huge for our team, the motivation that we get," said Weidman, a 10-7 winner. "Every guy's wrestling hard. We've just got to keep it up."

Weidman took an early 7-2 lead, then had to hold off Michalak in the third period, at one time turning to his coaches and asking if he was still ahead.

"An unseeded guy taking out the No. 1 guy, it's surprising," Weidman said. "I'm happy, but I knew I could do it deep down inside."

Minnesota had two seeded wrestlers upset in the morning session, then suffered an even bigger loss when second-seeded C.P. Schlatter got knocked off 5-3 by Harvard's Andrew Flanagan.

The Gophers still have two of their strongest wrestlers in the championship bracket. Top-seeded heavyweight Cole Konrad pinned North Carolina-Greensboro's Tyler Shovlin and Roger Kish moved into the quarterfinals with a 7-2 win against Cal Poly's Ryan Halsey.

"We've got to control our destiny tomorrow," Minnesota coach J Robinson said. "We can't have another day like today."

Oklahoma State has won 33 national titles, the most in NCAA history by far. Iowa is second with 20, but hasn't won one since 2000.

"We all have expectations for ourselves and we all want to show everybody that we have expectations for ourselves," Hendricks said. "That's why we're wrestling so hard."

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