OSU wrestling: Seniors enjoying run at another Big 12 title
TULSA — Having grown older and knowing his college career will be over in a couple weeks, Oklahoma State 174-pound senior Jacobe Smith is enjoying more than just the wrestling at the Big 12 championships.
The wrestling took care of itself on Saturday, with the second-ranked and heavily favored Cowboys dominating the action at the BOK Center throughout the first day of matches.
OSU sent seven wrestlers into Sunday’s championship round, with the other three still alive in the consolation semifinals. Consolation rounds begin at noon, with the finals set for 7 p.m.
With 129.5 points, OSU is well on its way to a seventh consecutive Big 12 championship. Iowa State was in second at 92.5 following Saturday’s action.
Smith is one of the seven finalists, along with fellow Cowboy seniors Preston Weigel at 197 and heavyweight Derek White.
“The memories that we build for this team, that legacy, it’s big for us,” Smith said of the seniors’ mental approach to their final two tournaments. “We just want to keep on collecting plaques and trophies for the team while we’re still here nad still can do it.
“Making memories with these dudes — I never knew I would run into these dudes, watching us in high school, how we were dispersed out, state to state. And how we all came together and we’re making memories. We’re a family now, and it’s a big thing.”
Smith wrestled much of the year at 184 pounds, but has dropped to 174 for the postseason. He and coach John Smith both noted the power with which Jacobe Smith wrestled on Saturday.
Another Cowboy senior, Chandler Rogers — who lost a wrestle-off for the 165-pound spot in the lineup to Joe Smith — was heavily involved with his team on Saturday, celebrating victories and offering encouragement after defeats.
Including Saturday’s three wins, Weigel is 10-0 in an injury-marred regular season, but he doesn’t feel health is an issue now.
“That stuff just drives you,” Weigel said. “It’s crazy to think how much stuff I went through. It just makes you stronger and I battled back.”
Of course, it’ll be a lot easier to enjoy the ride with some wins on Sunday, sending the Cowboys into the NCAA championships on the highest of notes.
“Making memories,” Weigel said. “We’ve talked about that, us seniors.
“I’m enjoying it. My last year. It’s everything I dreamed of, and it’s all coming true.”