Oklahoma State captured the Big 12 title
TULSA, Okla. -- Cowboy wrestlers claimed six individual titles at the finals of the 2019 Big 12 Wrestling Championship Sunday night, as No. 2 Oklahoma State finished with 158 team points and a 43.5-point lead over the field to win its seventh consecutive Big 12 team title.
OSU's 2019 Big 12 champions include Nick Piccininni (125 pounds), Daton Fix (133), Kaden Gfeller (149), Jacobe Smith (174), Preston Weigel (197) and Derek White (285). It marked the third career Big 12 title for Piccininni and Weigel, the second for White and the first conference titles for Fix, Gfeller and Smith.
"This can't get old," coach John Smith said. "Our conference has been historically a great conference in wrestling with a lot of national championships from the Big 8 and now the Big 12. We're proud to continue that tradition of strong wrestling in the Big 12."
With the addition of the six individual champions, Oklahoma State now has 108 Big 12 champions and 287 conference champions in its wrestling history. With Fix and Gfeller's titles, OSU now has 25 freshmen conference champions in its history.
The run of seven-straight conference tournament titles marks the longest streak in Big 12 wrestling history, as well as OSU's longest stretch of consecutive conference tournament titles since claiming one in eight straight seasons from 1921-1928.
The title marks coach John Smith's 21st career conference title, as well as OSU's 51st conference tournament title and 53rd overall conference title in wrestling. Additionally, Oklahoma State has now claimed 17 of the 23 Big 12 tournament trophies that have been awarded in the conference's history as well as the 2012 and 2013 regular season titles in the only years it was awarded. Including the regular season titles, OSU has won a Big 12 championship in 10 straight seasons.
Sunday night's final round started with a 2-0 decision from top-seeded Piccininni over No. 2 seed Brent Fleetwood of North Dakota State. After a scoreless first period, Piccininni managed an escape to take a 1-0 lead in the second and sealed his title with a strong full-period ride to close out the third. Piccininni improved to 30-0 this season with the win.
The next two title winners for the Cowboys were both freshmen, as Fix won a 4-2 decision over No. 3 Montorie Bridges of Wyoming and Gfeller won 6-5 over No. 3 Jarrett Degen of Iowa State, sealing the win with a takedown inside the final 20 seconds. Fix now sits at 31-1 on the year and Gfeller is 28-4.
The Cowboys closed the tournament with titles from three seniors, as Jacobe Smith won a 6-4 decision over No. 3 Taylor Lujan of Iowa State, Weigel won a 10-0 major decision over No. 2 Willie Miklus of Iowa State and White won a 20-5 technical fall over AJ Nevills of Fresno State.
Weigel's win pushed his season record to 11-0 as he finished the tournament by outscoring his opponents with a combined score of 41-0. Jacobe Smith and White bettered impressive season records as well, moving to 26-3 and 28-1, respectively.
"This is another stepping stone," Weigel said. "It's one closer to nationals, and it's fun. I'm absorbing it all. We have a good team, and I'm proud to be a part of it. It means something, but the big show is next, and it means a lot. Nationals is really where it's at. This doesn't put that All-American status on you."
Junior 141-pounder Kaid Brock also reached the finals of this year's tournament, but finished runner-up for a third straight season.
The Cowboys now turn their attention to the 2019 NCAA Wrestling Championships, scheduled for March 21-23 in PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Penn. OSU claimed nine automatic berths into the 2019 NCAA Championships this weekend, with every weight other than 157 pounds securing a spot.
Final Team Standings
1. Oklahoma State - 158
2. Iowa State - 114.5
3. Northern Iowa - 82
4. Oklahoma - 78
5. Fresno State - 59.5
6. Utah Valley - 59
7. Wyoming - 58
8. North Dakota State - 53.5
9. West Virginia - 46
10. South Dakota State - 18.5
11. Air Force - 18
12. Northern Colorado - 175