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Oklahoma defeats WVU

NORMAN -- Oklahoma defeated No. NR/23 West Virginia, 22-18, Sunday afternoon in McCasland Field House. The Sooners (3-2 overall, 1-1 Big 12) capitalized on three bonus-point victories to pull ahead of the Mountaineers (3-8 overall, 0-2 Big 12).

"I think every time we took a little bit of a setback, somebody stepped up and did their job," said OU head coach Lou Rosselli. "I think that's really important as a team ... That's why you compete."

Oklahoma built an early 8-0 lead to open the dual, courtesy redshirt senior Christian Moody and sophomore Anthony Madrigal. Moody claimed an 8-4 decision over West Virginia's Joey Thomas, followed by No. 18/23 Madrigal's 20-4 tech fall victory over Lucas Seibert.

Madrigal racked up 14 points in the first period alone, tallying four takedowns, a two-point nearfall and four-point nearfall. The Oak Park, Ill., native added six more points in the second period to secure the tech fall and a season-high 20 match points. Madrigal sits at second on the team with four victories via tech fall, only behind Dom Demas (5).

The Mountaineers responded in the 141-bout, as Caleb Rea pinned the Sooners' No. 6/7 Demas in the first period. The upset cut the Sooners' lead to 8-6. It was just Demas' third loss of the season (16-3) and his first to a Big 12 opponent (4-1).

At 149 pounds, No. 24/NR Jacob Butler put together a stellar match to earn OU another key bonus point. Leading 2-0 after the first period, the redshirt freshman eclipsed three minutes of riding time midway through the second before adding a four-point nearfall to close out the period. With another escape and the riding time point, Butler closed out the 10-0 shutout and added four points to the Sooners' total, extending the lead to 12-6.

It wasn't the first time Butler has been a key to OU's success this season, as he's been able to put together an impressive campaign and find his way into national rankings.

"He's wrestled a lot of top-tier guys, and I think he's starting to believe now that he can really compete," said Rosselli. "I think now he's got a belief system, and he's expecting himself to win. That's always good."

No. 20/17 Justin Thomas took yet another 157-pound bout to the wire, eventually pulling out a 7-5 decision. Deadlocked at 5-5 late in the third period, Thomas took down WVU's Alex Hornfeck with just 12 seconds remaining to take the advantage that would hold. The clutch finish gave Oklahoma a 15-6 lead and the momentum heading into the break.

West Virginia cut into its deficit when No. 25/27 Nick Kiussis pinned Sooner freshman Sam Dover in the 165-pound match.

With just a three-point lead, the Sooners looked to No. 10/16 Anthony Mantanona to pull away, and the redshirt sophomore delivered. With a 5-0 lead and riding time accumulating late in the third period, Mantanona recorded a clutch takedown to extend his lead to 7-0. Finishing with nearly six minutes of riding time, the extra point pushed the bout to an 8-0 major decision and gave the Sooners a critical bonus point, extending the OU lead to 19-12. It was Mantanona's fifth dual victory on the season, making him and Thomas the lone Sooners still 5-0 in dual action.

At 184, Darrien Roberts secured Oklahoma's final win of the day with a 7-3 decision against Mountaineer Jackson Moomau. The true freshman, who has become a mainstay in the Sooner lineup, improves to 3-2 in dual matches and 9-6 on the season.

In a matchup that could return with Big 12 and national implications later in the season, West Virginia's No. 5/2 Noah Adams got the best of No. 13/11 Jake Woodley with a 6-1 decision. While he dropped the bout, Woodley was successful in preventing a bonus-point victory, putting the score at 22-15 with one bout remaining and securing the Sooner victory.

Josiah Jones and WVU's Brandon Ngati took the heavyweight bout, the dual's final match, to a tiebreaker period, where Ngati was able to pull out the 2-1 decision and make the final score 22-18.

The victory improved the Sooners' record to 3-2 on the season and 1-1 in Big 12 action, while West Virginia drops to 3-8 and 0-2 against conference opponents.

UP NEXT
The Sooners take a road swing through the Dakotas, opening next weekend with a 7 p.m. dual at North Dakota State on Friday in Fargo, N.D. OU then heads south for a matchup with South Dakota State on Sunday at 2 p.m. in Brookings, S.D.

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