CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Oklahoma State had three Cowboy wrestlers crowned champions at the 2016 Southern Scuffle with Alex Dieringer winning his third, Austin Marsden winning his second and Dean Heil winning his first.
The Cowboys finished the team race in second with 158 points, trailing Penn State by 25 points.
"I think we can take a lot out of this tournament overall," coach John Smith said. "It's pretty good to finish with three champs and several guys placing in the top-seven. The one thing we're going to have to do is get more aggressive. Our mentality on the mat is not exactly where I want it but that's where we need to get it in the next month."
Heil became the first champion for the Pokes, defeating three-seed Joey McKenna of Stanford. The two wrestled cautiously, tying the match 1-1 at the end of regulation. With no points scored in sudden victory, the bout went to a tiebreaker. Heil went down first and was not able to escape, but McKenna was hit with two stalling calls, resulting in a point for Heil. The Cowboy was able to ride out McKenna for the second part of the tiebreaker and won the title, 2-1.
In the 165-pound final, top-seeded Dieringer won his third title, making it look easy against No. 10 Logan Massa of Michigan. Dieringer scored a takedown halfway through the first period and kept the lead. He opened the second period with an escape and notched another takedown. The Cowboy sealed the win with a third takedown with seven seconds to go, defeating Massa, 8-2. Dieringer now has a 63-match win streak and sits fifth all-time, tied with Dwayne Keller.
"I'm happy that I had five bonus-point matches. That's always good for the team," Dieringer said. "I only beat a true freshman in finals 8-2 so there's room to make improvements. When it comes to the team race, it's all about bonus points. That's why Penn State won NCAAs four years in a row. That's the biggest thing moving forward."
Austin Marsden was the final champ for the Pokes with his win at heavyweight over No. 3-seed Denzel Dejournette of Appalachian State. Marsden opened scoring with a takedown late in the first period to carry a 2-0 lead into the second period. His escape in the second was the last point scored, but riding time advantage gave Marsden a 4-0 win.
"It feels good to win a second Southern Scuffle title," Marsden said. "It's a tough tournament. I still think I have a lot of work to do. I'm not where I want to be so I have to work really hard for that national title."
In the 125-pound finals, Eddie Klimara took on top-seeded Nico Megaludis of Penn State. The Cowboy was outwrestled as Megaludis picked up three takedowns for an 8-1 win. Earning his best finish at the event, Klimara went 5-1. He now holds 93 career wins.
True freshman Joe Smith finished second in his Southern Scuffle debut, wrestling unattached. He faced No. 1-seed Jason Nolf of Penn State. Nolf controlled most of the match, picking up two takedowns. Smith earned a takedown in the third, but it was not enough as he fell 7-3.
Seven other Cowboys finished in the top-eight.
Chandler Rogers fell to tenth-seed Casey Kent of Penn in a 10-0 major decision to finish fourth at 165 pounds.
Kyle Crutchmer and Nolan Boyd finished fifth at 174 pounds and 184 pounds, respectively. Crutchmer knocked off No. 1-seed Brian Realbuto with a last-second takedown to win 4-3, while Boyd defeated teammate Jordan Rogers with a dominant 12-2 major decision.
Three Cowboys finished sixth, including Kaid Brock (133), Anthony Collica (149) and Jordan Rogers (184). Brock, a true freshman, medical forfeited out of the tournament to earn a sixth-place finish, and Collica fell in a 10-8 heartbreaker to Mitch Finesilver of Duke.
Finally, Eli Hale was awarded seventh place with a medical forfeit over after Connor Schram of Stanford.
The Cowboys will be back in action on Jan. 15 and 17 as they travel to West Virginia and Pittsburgh for a pair of duals.