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Four champs lead OSU to record-breaking Southern Scuffle title

Chandler Rogers celebrates after getting a pin in the Southern Scuffle finals (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Four members of the Oklahoma State wrestling team took home individual titles at the Southern Scuffle Monday night, leading the Cowboys to the program's first team title at the event behind a tournament record 198 points. Oklahoma State finished 72 points ahead of second-place Missouri to shatter the tournament record for margin of victory as well.

"I think (our performance) was good," head coach John Smith said. "I'm obviously pleased with the effort. I think it definitely showed us some areas we're struggling a little bit in. Of course, that big deficit you like to see. You did that in the quarterfinals and the semifinals. I think the one thing that we've got to take from here is that the couple of teams that we need to challenge for national championships may not have been here. Those are the things you keep an eye on. You don't want to pat yourself on the back too much, but be motivated by a good performance and a good team effort."

Cowboys Kaid Brock, Dean Heil, Anthony Collica and Chandler Rogers each took home individual championships to set a program record for titles won at the Scuffle. Eight other Cowboys placed at the event.

Brock picked up the first of three-straight titles for the Cowboys, winning by injury default over second-seeded Scott Parker of Lehigh. Brock seemed to be in control after the first period, leading 4-1 after a pair of takedowns to open the match; however, Parker narrowed the gap in the final frame scoring a two-point nearfall to tie the match at four. Parker was injured as Brock was escaping.

After a 3-1 decision in his semifinal match earlier in the day, 141-pounder Dean Heil gutted out yet another tough win in his final match over North Carolina's Joey Ward. Heading into the home stretch of the third tied at one, Heil nearly took Ward to his back with seven seconds left. The reigning NCAA Champion settled for two with the takedown that would give Heil his second Southern Scuffle championship. With the win, he becomes the fifth Cowboy to win multiple Southern Scuffle titles.

"This tournament was good for me because nothing was going right for me," Heil said. "I wasn't wrestling the way I (have all year). It means a lot to me that I can have all these things happen to me during my match and still come out on top. This tournament has great competition."

Anthony Collica recorded a thrilling 7-6 decision in his final match against fourth-ranked Lavion Mayes of Missouri at 149. Collica recorded the first two takedowns of the match, snatching a 5-1 lead in the second before Mayes reversed to cut the lead to two before the end of the period. That set up a wild final frame, as Mayes quickly escaped to narrow the Cowboy senior's advantage to 5-4. The Tiger took the lead with a double-leg takedown, but Collica escaped in the final 30 seconds to take the match with the riding time point.

Mayes wasn't the only ranked Tiger to go down Monday night, as Chandler Rogers clinched the fourth Cowboys individual title of the evening at 165 pounds with a first-period pin of fourth-ranked Daniel Lewis. Rogers appeared to be in trouble early in the match, as Lewis converted on a takedown about a minute into the match. Rogers didn't panic, as he reversed Lewis onto his back for the fall in 1:18.

"You've just got to stick to the game plan," Rogers said. "You can't freak out when things don't go your way. The coaches told me that whatever happens, just keep the pace up and make it hard on them, so I made it hard."

Senior 184-pounder Nolan Boyd put up a solid effort in his final against top-ranked Gabe Dean of Cornell, as he dropped a 7-2 decision that got away from him late in the match. Boyd had an impressive weekend overall, going 3-1 with two of those wins coming with bonus points.

Sophomore Joe Smith finished second at 157 pounds after a tough, 7-1 loss to Lehigh's Jordan Kutler in his final match. Smith finished his second event of the season with a 4-1 overall record. Kyle Crutchmer finished second at 174 with a 4-1 overall mark as well, coming up short to unattached Penn State wrestler Mark Hall.

Cowboys Preston Weigel and Derek White finished third and fourth, respectively, at 197 pounds after facing each other in the third-place match. Weigel took that match in a 1-0 decision.

Redshirt freshman Nick Piccininni finished sixth at 125 pounds after dropping a 4-3 decision to Stanford's Gabe Townsell. Tristan Moran finished sixth as well, losing his match by injury default in the second period.

The Cowboys will hit the mat again on Jan. 15 when they play host to third-ranked Iowa at Gallagher-Iba Arena at 2 p.m. Tickets are available at okstate.com/tickets.

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