OU Grapplers Rally To Top Lehigh

Sooner wrestling rallies for big win at home. Here’s the release from soonersports.com

NORMAN, Okla.– Trailing 16-0 after five bouts versus No. 14 Lehigh, the 10th-ranked University of Oklahoma wrestling team (12-2) mounted a furious comeback by winning the final five bouts to steal the victory, 22-16.

“It was a big comeback for us against one of the better teams that we have competed against this year,” Mark Cody said. “Pat Santoro (Lehigh head coach) is a personal friend of mine and he is one of the best out there, so anytime we can come out with a win against one of his teams I feel really good about it. Particularly, considering how far down we were.”

Despite dropping the upper weight-classes to start the dual, the Sooners earned seven bonus-points in the final five bouts to come away with the come from behind victory over the Mountain Hawks.

“Going into 125 I thought, ‘having to bring the match back is something that the lightweight guys usually aren’t used too’,” Cody expounded. “Usually that goes down to heavyweight, but they handled it well mentally. We knew we needed technical falls, majors and pins.”

The dual began at 165 pounds where Lehigh’s Sean Bilodeau defeated the Sooners’ Bubby Graham, 11-5. Bilodeau ran out to a 7-1 lead after he earned two takedowns and a 3-point nearfall. After a scoreless second, Graham had a quick reversal and followed that with a takedown to close the lead to 8-5. However, Bilodeau earned an escape and takedown with 0:33 remaining to give Lehigh a 3-0 advantage.

“I was a little disappointed about the upset at 165, but then again I would rather have that happen now then at the end of the year at NCAAs,” Cody explained. “Anytime a guy like Bubby Graham works his tail off and gets in a situation like that it will make him better. He will come back and be better because of it.”

Lehigh’s Nate Brown extended the Mountain Hawk’s lead, 7-0, following an 11-2 major decision victory over OU’s Marcus Armato in the 174 pound bout. Brown acquired three takedowns, a 3-point nearfall, escape and added 2:58 of riding time, while Armato’s only points came off an escape and Brown penalty.

The Sooners fell behind 10-0 after OU’s Erich Schmidtke dropped the 184 pound bout to the Mountain Hawk’s Robert Hamlin, 7-3. Schmidtke trailed, 2-1, going into the second period where he evened the score after he earned an escape, but Hamlin added two takedowns to finish out the match.

The 197-pound bout came down to the final seconds, but OU’s Keldrick Hall was unable to secure a final takedown and eventually fell to Lehigh’s Kadeem Samuels, 7-6. Hall trailed, 5-2, heading into the third period where Hall had an escape and was awarded a point for stalling against Samuels. Samuels countered with a takedown, which Hall escaped from. Samuels was again penalized for stalling, which left Hall trailing by only one. However, Hall was unable to score and dropped the match.

Lehigh added its fifth-straight win of the day when the Mountain Hawk’s third-ranked Zach Rey downed OU’s Kyle Colling in the heavyweight bout, 5-3. Ray began the bout with a takedown and added an escape in the second to lead, 3-1. In the final period, Colling earned two escapes but was taken down by Rey to give Lehigh a 16-0 lead in the dual.

The Sooners’ Jarrod Patterson, ranked No. 7, put Oklahoma on the board after he earned a 4-point technical fall victory over Lehigh’s Alex Abreu, 23-8. In the 125 pound bout, Patterson acquired ten takedowns, a reversal and an escape to tally four team points for OU.

At 133 pounds, OU’s 11th-ranked Jordan Keller earned a fall in 2:59 over Lehigh’s Mason Beckman to put OU in position to take the dual despite trailing, 16-10.

Kendric Maple, ranked No. 3, earned OU its third-straight bonus-point victory at the conclusion of the 141 pound bout. Maple ran away with a 14-5 major decision win over Lehigh’s 15th-ranked Steve Dutton. Maple tallied five takedowns, two escapes and 4:29 of riding time to earn his 11th major of the season.

With the Sooners in striking distance, OU’s No. 9-ranked Nick Lester earned a 6-1 win over Lehigh’s Kyle Rosser in the 149 pound bout. Lester trailed, 1-0, after being penalized for an illegal hold in the first, but ended up with two takedowns, an escape and 2:31 of riding time to give the Sooners a 17-16 lead going into the final bout of the day.

The winner-take-all 157 pound bout, pitted OU’s Matt Lester, ranked No. 15, against the Mountain Hawk’s Brian Tanen. Lester was able to secure the technical fall victory in 5:16 after he collected three takedowns, 9-points off nearfalls and an escape.

Following this weekend’s action, Cody’s squad travels to Columbia, Mo., to battle No. 15 Missouri on Sunday, Feb. 5 at 1 p.m.


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