Dom Demas battles Minnesota's Mitch McKee in Las Vegas (Photo/Sam Janicki, SJanickiPhoto.com)
On Sunday, No. 11 Oklahoma State travels to Oklahoma for the first round of this season's Bedlam series. The two rivals will also meet in Stillwater on Feb. 16. The Cowboys have long dominated the series, but Oklahoma is starting to show signs of development under coach Lou Rosselli. The following is a weight-by-weight breakdown of the dual meet.
125: Tommy Hoskins (Oklahoma) vs. No.4 Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State)
For the last few seasons, Christian Moody had been starting for Oklahoma. So far this season that role has belonged to Hoskins. The redshirt freshman was one of Lou Rosselli's first commits after he took the job at Oklahoma, and he was a top-50 recruit in his class. Despite all that, it has been tough sledding so far this season. He has wrestled his way to a 6-7 record, and he is only 3-7 against Division I competition.
Piccininni had an undefeated regular season last year that included a victory over No. 1 Spencer Lee (Iowa), and he appeared to be getting off to yet another strong start this year. He won his first six matches and put up bonus points in five. However, last weekend he ran into fellow All-American No. 3 Patrick Glory (Princeton) and dropped a 9-4 decision.
Even with the setback last weekend, Piccininni remains one of the top 125-pound wrestlers on the planet. Hoskins signed with hype, but he has yet to show it on the collegiate mats. Oklahoma would be happy to not give up bonus points here, but it is hard to see that happening.
Prediction: Piccininni (Oklahoma State) technical fall over Hoskins (Oklahoma)
133: No. 18 Anthony Madrigal (Oklahoma) vs. Reece Witcraft (Oklahoma State)
Madrigal is another top-50 recruit brought to Oklahoma by Rosselli. He was pressed into action last year and went 16-15 as a true freshman. Things have gone better so far this season as he has gone 12-5. In his last outing he went 5-2 at the Cliff Keen Invitational and ended up finishing seventh.
Witcraft was a top-25 recruit coming out of high school, and he has been forced into action as a true freshman. After winning the Oklahoma City Open he dropped his first dual match of the season against Chandler Olson (Drexel). Since then he has picked up back-to-back wins over Brent Jones (Minnesota) and Sean Pierson (Princeton).
This is a match that Oklahoma absolutely has to have in order to be competitive in the dual. However, it will certainly be a tough one. When Witcraft has been able to get to his offense, he has been very hard to beat. Madrigal has shown flashes, but he has never really been able to break through for wins at this level. After recently entering the InterMat rankings, this is his time to shine.
Prediction: Madrigal (Oklahoma) decision over Witcraft (Oklahoma State)
141: No. 4 Dom Demas (Oklahoma) vs. No. 11 Kaden Gfeller (Oklahoma State)
This is the match will dominate the headlines coming out of this dual and perhaps the entire weekend. After beginning the season as the No. 1 wrestler at this weight, Demas has since dropped matches against No. 1 Luke Pletcher (Ohio State) and No. 3 Mitch McKee (Minnesota). However, he has also picked up multiple signatures wins. On the other hand, Gfeller has not yet made his season debut.
Last year the Cowboy was an unexpected starter at 149 pounds. He went 28-6 on the season and qualified for the NCAA tournament. The tournament did not go his way, but during the regular season he picked up wins over the likes of Max Thomsen (Northern Iowa), Mitch Finesilver (Duke) and Jarod Verkleeren (Penn State).
Demas' domination in the series over Kaid Brock last year has been one of the few bright spots for the Sooners in this rivalry recently. If Gfeller does make his season debut here look for this match to continue that trend. Gfeller has some strong scrambling skill, but Demas' offense does not exactly play into that game. It should be a strong performance from Demas.
Prediction: Demas (Oklahoma) decision over Gfeller (Oklahoma State)
149: Jacob Butler (Oklahoma) vs. No. 4 Boo Lewallen (Oklahoma State)
Butler was a three-time Oklahoma state champion during his high school days. He has been the guy at 149 pounds for the Sooners this year after sitting out as a redshirt year last season. He has gone 7-5 on the season with his best showing coming at the Journeymen Collegiate Classic where he went 3-0 on the day. Butler also picked up a sudden victory win over Kody Komara (Kent State) earlier this year.
After finishing as an All-American in 2018, Lewallen missed most of last season with injuries. He has returned to the lineup this year and looked great so far. He has won all eight of his matches. Lewallen recently knocked off ranked wrestlers in back-to-back matches. First he dispatched No. 5 Brayton Lee (Minnesota) in a five-point match. He then returned and knocked off No. 14 Mike D'Angelo (Princeton) by three.
Lewallen has been consistent and dominant so far this season. Outside of the one match he won by fall, he is allowing his opponents only an average of 2.41 points per match. Butler has not shown the type of offense to compete with defense at that level.
Prediction: Lewallen (Oklahoma State) major decision over Butler (Oklahoma)
157: No. 17 Justin Thomas (Oklahoma) vs. Wyatt Sheets (Oklahoma State)
Thomas was an NCAA qualifier last year. He ended up finishing one win short of becoming an All-American as he fell in the round of 12. He has been extremely active so far this season with 16 matches already on his record. He dropped a one-point match against No. 3 David Carr (Iowa State) and picked up victories over No. 18 Jake Tucker (Michigan State) and Jacori Teemer (Arizona State).
Sheets ended up as a starter for the second half of last season. He picked up some big wins over the likes of No. 12 Josh Humphreys (Lehigh) and No. 11 Taleb Rahmani (Pittsburgh). However, at the end of the season, he failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament through the Big 12 Championships. Sheets has been the starter throughout for the Cowboys so far this year, and he has gone 4-2. In his last match, he dropped a 3-2 decision against No. 7 Quincy Monday (Princeton).
These two wrestled for the first and only time back in the 2017 season. In that match at the Oklahoma City Open, Sheets took home a 1-0 decision victory. This should be another close match. Thomas currently holds the higher ranking, but Sheets has defeated higher level wrestlers in the past. The Cowboy's ability to ride will likely be the difference in the match. Thomas has a chance if he can get away on the bottom, but that will be tough
Prediction: Sheets (Oklahoma State) decision over Thomas (Oklahoma)
165: Jose Lao Cooper (Oklahoma) vs. No. 14 Travis Wittlake (Oklahoma State)
Oklahoma currently has two 165-pound freshmen from powerhouse high school programs on the roster: Jake Stiles from Montini Catholic and Sam Dover from St. Edward. The plan, at least so far, must be to redshirt the pair, because Cooper has been holding down the spot for the Sooners this year. His record officially stands at 1-9, but that one victory was a forfeit at the Journeymen Collegiate Classic.
Wittlake was the No. 3 recruit when he committed to Oklahoma State. After redshirting last season, he joined the starting lineup this year at 165 pounds. He has gone a perfect 8-0 on the year. However, the competition has not been particularly tough. Wittlake has faced only one ranked wrestler, but he did defeat No. 20 Ebed Jarrell (Drexel) via a 5-1 score.
This one could get out of hand relatively quickly. Wittlake has not been a bonus-point machine, but he should be able to get that done against Cooper.
Prediction: Wittlake (Oklahoma State) technical fall over Cooper (Oklahoma)
174: Anthony Mantanona (Oklahoma) vs. No. 7 Joseph Smith/Andrew Shomers (Oklahoma State)
After a promising redshirt year that saw him go 17-2, Mantanona was a bit of a disappointment last year. He finished 15-16 and went 2-2 at the Big 12 tournament and failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament. Mantanona has gotten off to a solid start this year. He has built a 10-4 record that includes victories over Rocky Jordan (Ohio State) and No. 13 Kimball Bastian (Utah Valley).
Smith competed extensively at 174 pounds last year before dropping down to 165 pounds for tournament time. This year the plan seems to be to stick it out at 174 pounds. However, he reportedly was still on his way down early in the year. In his absence, Shomers has held down the spot. The former Edinboro wrestler had never taken the mat above 165 before he was pressed into action this year. He has gone 3-4 with his lone 165-pound victory coming over Michael O'Malley (Drexel).
Smith is likely to be the starter at this weight, but there is still a question about when. If he goes here, he should be able to handle Mantanona. The two met back in the 2018 season, and Smith took home a commanding 14-7 decision victory. The Shomers match would favor Mantanona, but it would still be a tough out.
Prediction: Smith (Oklahoma State) decision over Mantanona (Oklahoma)
184: Darrien Roberts (Oklahoma) vs. Anthony Montalvo (Oklahoma State)
Roberts is a true freshman out of Wyoming Seminary. He has started the whole way so far for the Sooners. He has a 6-3 record, but all three of his losses have come against tough competition. Roberts has lost to Cameron Caffey (Michigan State), No. 6 Louie DePrez (Binghamton) and No. 7 Ben Darmstadt (Cornell).
Montalvo took a few head-scratching losses during his redshirt campaign a year ago. However, he got off to a solid start this season. He put up bonus points over both of his opponents at the Oklahoma City Open. Montalvo then scored a come-from-behind fall over Lehigh's Chris Weiler. Since then, he has hit a bit of a rough patch. The Cowboy dropped a one-point match against Owen Webstar (Minnesota) and an overtime match against No. 18 Travis Stefanik (Princeton).
Before he hit his recent skid, it looked like Montalvo was going to plow his way through the competition on the way to becoming an All-American. That road looks a little tougher now, but he should still be the favorite here. Roberts has looked solid for a true freshman so far, but Montalvo will likely have too much offense for him here.
Prediction: Montalvo (Oklahoma State) decision over Roberts (Oklahoma)
197: No. 9 Jake Woodley (Oklahoma) vs. No. 5 Dakota Geer (Oklahoma State)
Woodley is back after qualifying for the NCAA tournament in his first season in the lineup. So far this year, he has gone 11-4 and picked up some impressive victories. The two-time Pennsylvania state champion holds wins this year over No. 10 Eric Schutlz (Nebraska) and No. 14 Tanner Sloan (South Dakota State). Woodley also went to overtime with No. 1 Kollin Moore (Ohio State).
Geer had an undefeated record going this year until he ran into No. 3 Patrick Brucki (Princeton) last weekend. He dropped that match via a 12-6 score, but he still holds a top-five ranking based on his seventh-place finish at last year's NCAA tournament. He also holds a dominant 15-5 major decision victory over No. 19 Jake Jakobsen (Lehigh).
If the marquee match between Demas and Gfeller fails to materialize, this will likely be the top match of the dual. Woodley has been a consistent performer over the last two years, and he is looking to take another step forward. A victory over Geer would certainly do that, but he will likely struggle to score on the feet. If he can slow the pace and make this a close match, he has a chance, but Geer is the rightful favorite in this contest.
Prediction: Geer (Oklahoma State) decision over Woodley (Oklahoma)
285: Josiah Jones (Oklahoma) vs. Austin Harris (Oklahoma State)
It has been a tough freshman season so far for Jones. He has gone 5-7 on the year, but the schedule has been relatively busy. Of his seven losses, four have come against ranked competition.
Harris started his Oklahoma State career at 184 pounds, but he has since moved all the way up to heavyweight. As you might expect, he has had trouble competing against the large opposition. However, he did break through last weekend and pick up his first heavyweight victory against Division I competition. His 5-2 decision over Aidan Conner was the difference in the Cowboys' 18-15 victory over No. 12 Princeton.
Jones is a legitimate heavyweight in terms of size, but Harris will have the experience edge. It is hard to see Harris competing in a traditional heavyweight style match. He will need to generate some separation in the neutral position, which might turn out to be difficult.
Prediction: Jones (Oklahoma) decision over Harris (Oklahoma State)
Dual Meet Predicted Score: Oklahoma State 26, Oklahoma 9