Oklahoma State returns to the NWCA National Duals

Updated: January 5, 2011

By Mike Finn

While much of the talk of the 2011 NWCA National Duals will be about what team — three-time defending champion Iowa — will not be competing in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Jan. 8-9, it should also be pointed out that Oklahoma State returns to the annual event at the University of Northern Iowa’s UNI-Dome after a three-year absence.

Despite the fact that the Cowboys have won the most championships (eight) and has compiled the best winning mark (57-9) in the 21-year history of the event — which was first held in Hampton, Va., in 1989 — OSU has not competed at the NWCA National Duals since 2007 when the Cowboys finished fourth. This year, OSU is seeded No. 2 and will meet unseeded Purdue at 11 a.m. (CST) in a first-round match-up.

The other seeded teams are No. 1 Cornell, No. 3 Wisconsin, No. 4 Minnesota, No. 5 Boise State, No. 6 Oregon State (which has not competed at this event since 1995), No. 7 Virginia Tech and No. 8 Missouri. Click this for the complete NCAA Division I bracket.

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One of the reasons that Oklahoma State’s head coach John Smith gave for not attending the event was that he did not believe it was a true dual championship and that teams like Iowa were benefitting from the event being so close to their fan base.

Oddly, this year’s event may be the last time it is held under one roof with all college divisions competing. Smith said he would support a true national championship but believes the NWCA should get the NCAA involved.

Oklahoma State head coach John Smith

“If they want a true National Duals, they will have to deliver an NCAA championship trophy to the event and the important of the event becomes much greater to many of us,” said Smith, who recorded his 300th career coaching victory, Jan 2, when OSU beat Arizona State in Stillwater.

“To us, (the NWCA National Duals is) a tough dual meet tournament. It’s great competition during the season and that’s the way we recognize it. Our goal is to perform at our best at the end when our goal is to win an NCAA championship.”

One difficulty the NWCA has had is not getting all the college coaches on the same page. Smith said that could be corrected by where a true national tournament was held.

“The thing you have to recognize is that the majority of us (coaches) feel that these type of dual meets probably should be wrestled at our home or away arenas. If we are going to wrestle the University of Oklahoma in a dual meet, that dual meet should be at Oklahoma State or Oklahoma University or who ever.

“That is the direction that (the NWCA) are leaning towards. If that happens, I think several coaches would get on board. Oklahoma State is going to have some great dual meets (in Cedar Falls) and all of them are going to be wrestled away from Stillwater, Okla. That doesn’t do a lot for far support and creating a good home schedule.

“In the future, that is what they are learning toward doing: creating a national duals, where events are wrestled at home.”

But Smith also admitted that having a true national Dual championship was not a necessity.

“I don’t believe that it is an event that we have to have and I’m not sure why we are pursuing this event and trying to make it a true national championship,” said Smith. “But I do support our NWCA. If they think it is something that is positive for our sport, I think we ought to try it. We have a tendency to be real slow in making changes. I don’t think it would be any thing that I would be against. But I do believe it is something that we don’t have to have.”