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Oklahoma leads Big 12 Championships after Day 1

Dom Demas advanced to the finalsd at 141 pounds (Photo/OU Athletics)

TULSA, Okla. -- The Oklahoma wrestling team used seven bonus-point wins to erupt for 62 points in Saturday's second session and now take a 10-point lead into the final day of the Big 12 Wrestling Championship.

A conference-best nine Sooner wrestlers remain in the bracket or wrestlebacks, including a trio of finalists who punched their tickets to the NCAA Championship with their performances on Saturday. Oklahoma (107 points) closed its night with three pins back-to-back-to-back and a tech fall to jump Wyoming and Oklahoma State in the standings and move into first place.

"We obviously wrestled really well tonight, but there is still a lot of wrestling left," head coach Lou Rosselli said. "I'm proud of how our guys competed today with their backs against the wall, and we know what we need to do to accomplish our goals tomorrow."

Tony Madrigal returned to form on Saturday, becoming the first unseeded wrestler to ever clinch a spot in the Big 12 final by going 3-0 on the day, defeating three seeded opponents. With his berth in the final, he earned one of the Big 12's allocated bids to the NCAA Championship and will face Oklahoma State's Daton Fix in Sunday's final.

Dom Demas secured his third-straight berth in the Big 12 final and NCAA Championship by holding off three-seeded Clay Carlson of North Dakota State. Demas improved to 11-1 on the year with his pair of victories on Saturday. He'll get a 2020 Big 12-finals rematch with Iowa State's Ian Parker on Saturday night.

Mitch Moore became the third Sooner to clinch a spot in St. Louis on Saturday when he defeated Air Force's Dylan Martinez and Wyoming's Jaron Jensen to earn a rematch with Oklahoma State's Boo Lewallen in the final. Moore finished as the 2019 ACC runner-up at 141 pounds and is now a three-time NCAA qualifier.

Justin Thomas lined up with No. 3 Jared Franek in a semifinal match but was defeated in sudden victory after a 20-second scramble where momentum changed three times. Thomas, the No. 2 seed, moves into the consolation semifinals and takes on Jacob Wright (WYO) for a spot in the third-place match. The Big 12 received three allocations at 157 pounds, meaning that Thomas needs to win out to claim an automatic bid.

Unseeded at 165, Troy Mantanona went 3-1 on Saturday, winning all three matches via fall. The San Francisco State transfer has now won nine of his 10 collegiate wins by pin and will wrestle in the consolation semifinals versus Peyton Hall (WVU) on Sunday morning for an NCAA spot.

Anthony Mantanona impressed on Saturday night, too, pinning both of his opponents to continue his Big 12 run after dropping his first match to No. 1 Demetrius Romero. He'll take on No. 2 seed Hayden Hastings (WYO) with a spot in St. Louis on the line Sunday morning.

Darrien Roberts dropped his first match of the day to No. 2 Tate Samuelson in sudden victory but bounced back with a pair of wins over Jacob Armstrong via 9-2 decision and then via fall over Anthony Carman.

No. 5 seed Jake Woodley dropped his opening bout with No. 4 A.J. Ferrari (OKST) but was able to secure a pair of tech fall wins over Nick Villarreal (FS) and Jacob Seely (UNC) to continue his Big 12 championship. The redshirt junior will take on No. 3-seed and former No. 1-ranked Noah Adams of West Virginia, with the winner claiming an allocated bid to NCAAs.

Josh Heindselman battled with No. 1 Gannon Gremmel (ISU) in a semifinal match, but similar to when the two first met in Cedar Falls earlier this season, Heindselman was bested by Gremmel in overtime. The freshman will need to knock off No. 2 Carter Isley in the consolation semifinals to secure an allocated bid to nationals.

Mason Naifeh was close to victory in both of his matches but was eliminated after two bouts in Tulsa, dropping decisions to No. 1 Brody Teske and Jace Koelzer.

The Sooners now turn their focus to Sunday's sessions where they'll look to defend their lead and take home their 24th conference championship, and first since 2002. Sunday's opening session is slated to start at 10 a.m. at the BOK Center with the finals commencing at 5 p.m.

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