Big 12 Conference Preview: Look for Bedlam as Cowboys and Sooners battle for the new-look Big 12

Updated: October 11, 2012

Big 12 Conference Preview: Look for Bedlam as Cowboys and Sooners battle for the new-look Big 12

This is part of WIN’s on-going preseason look at all ten NCAA-qualifying conferences/tournaments.
Click here to read WIN’s other conference previews.

Qualifying Tournament for the NCAA:

March 9, 2013 @ Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Okla.

Last Year’s Big 12 Finish in Columbia, Mo.:

1. Missouri, 77; 2. Oklahoma State, 73; 3. Oklahoma, 60.5; 4. Iowa State 24.

Last Year’s Big 12 Performance in the NCAA Tournament:

Four schools sent 32 wrestlers to St. Louis, which was eight less than the 40 Big 12 wrestlers who competed in Philadelphia in 2011. Overall, five wrestlers earned All-American honors, led by a trio from sixth-place Oklahoma State: 133-pound runner-up Jordan Oliver and third-place finishers Chris Perry (174) and Cayle Byers (197). The other two All-Americans competed for the 13th-place Sooners of Oklahoma: Kendric Maple, fourth at 141, and Nick Lester, eighth at 149. Missouri, in its final year in the conference, sent all ten wrestlers to St. Louis. Unfortunately, the “home” mats did not help the Tigers who failed to place and claimed 26th place. Iowa State, for the first time since 1962 failed to earn an All-American honor, and finished 35th.

2012-13 Note: The Big 12 will once again feature just four programs, including legendary programs Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Iowa State, which have all won NCAA team championships. The only change comes with the departure of Missouri, which joined the MAC for wrestling, and the arrival of West Virginia, a former powerhouse in the Eastern Wrestling League.



1. Oklahoma State — Many predicted the Cowboys would win both the NWCA Nationals Duals, the Big 12 championship and a 35th NCAA team title. Unfortunately, much of that optimism ended when OSU’s Alan Gelogaev suffered a shoulder injury in February at a time the native of Russia was the No. 1-ranked heavyweight in the country. Without Gelogaev, who also missed the 2011 season because of an injury, the Cowboys finished second at the Duals, second at the conference meet and fifth at the NCAAs.

But Gelogaev, a 2010 All-American at 197 pounds, is back for head coach John Smith … as are two other Top-8 finishers from 2012: Jordan Oliver (141) and Chris Perry (174), who are picked No. 1 at their weight classes. Oliver, a three-time All-American, is moving up from 133, where he won an NCAA title in 2011 but finished second to Ohio State’s Logan Stieber last March. Perry, the nephew of the Cowboys’ head coach, lost just one bout in St. Louis to finish third.

What also makes the Cowboys tough on a national level is the arrival of 165-pound transfer Tyler Caldwell, who redshirted last season after finishing second in 2011 while representing Bedlam-rival Oklahoma.

Also, Blake Rosholt, the younger brother of former Cowboy All-Americans Jake (2003-06) and Jared (2008-10) Rosholt, finally has a permanent weight at 197 pounds, where he shared time with 2012 All-American Cayle Byers. A year earlier, he qualified for the NCAAs at heavyweight.

2. Oklahoma — Now in his second year of leading the Sooners, head coach Mark Cody should once again produce a conference power, considering he returns both All-Americans from 2012: Kendric Maple, fourth at 141, and Nick Lester, eighth at 149.

Cody also has a trio of talented NCAA qualifiers returning in Matt Lester (157), the brother of Nick, Patrick Graham (165), who followed Cody from American University over a year ago, and Keldrick Hall, who is moving up to heavyweight after competing at 197 last winter.

But when it comes to the Sooners, most fans are saying, “Watch out for us in 2013.” That’s because Cody is expected to have a trio of previous All-Americans in the line-up who are redshirting this season. That includes 125-pound Jarred Patterson, who finished seventh in 2011 and a pair of transfers from Wisconsin: 165-pound Andrew Howe, a three-time All-American and 2011 national champion; and 184-pound Travis Rutt, who finished seventh in 2011.

3. Iowa State — The Cyclones are the host school for this year’s NCAA tournament in Des Moines, Iowa. But coach Kevin Jackson will be looking for which guys can step beyond the five qualifiers who competed in last year’s Nationals.

Four of those Cyclones are back: 125-pound sophomore Ryak Finch, 141-pound sophomore Luke Goettl, 184-pound junior Boaz Beard and senior heavyweight Matt Gibson. Combined, the quartet posted a 64-40 record last winter.

4. West Virginia — Head coach Craig Turnbull, who has spent 34 years leading the Mountaineers, features three lightweight performers who could make an immediate impact in the school’s first year in the Big 12.

That includes 125-pound senior Shane Young, 133-pound junior Nathan Pennesi and 141-pound junior Mike Morales. All three return in 2012-13, including 174-pound Lance Bryson, who all competed in last year’s NCAAs after West Virginia finished third in the school’s final EWL tournament.