OSU wrestling: Cowboys excited to win Big 12 title, but not satisfied
TULSA — Oklahoma State wrestler Nick Piccininni wasn’t 10 seconds into his post-match interview before he explained his frustration with his performance in the Big 12 championship match Sunday night — a match that he won to take the conference title at 125 pounds at the BOK Center.
Moments later, OSU 133-pound freshman Daton Fix lamented not scoring more points in his championship victory. And 149-pound freshman Kaden Gfeller discussed his need to better work through matches with injuries he’s been battling.
Senior 174-pounder Jacobe Smith’s leg attacks weren’t on point — and it went on and on.
The Cowboys were Big 12 champions on Sunday night in Tulsa, and dominantly so, having wrapped up the title before the championship round even began. Then they went on to win six of the 10 individual titles, with Preston Weigel and Derek White also winning at 197 pounds and heavyweight, respectively.
They were excited about their seventh straight Big 12 tournament title. But not satisfied.
“I won,” Gfeller said of his match. “That’s the objective. I felt like I could’ve wrestled a little better.”
The second-ranked Cowboys want to legitimately contend for the NCAA championship March 21-23 in Pittsburgh, where everyone will be chasing No. 1 Penn State once again.
So the Cowboys were happy with what they accomplished on Sunday, but their true goal, they feel, is within reach.
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“We take the Big 12 tournament seriously,” coach John Smith said. “It’s important. It’s not something you get used to or don’t respect winning. It’s important to our program. It’s important to Oklahoma State. It’s important to our athletic director. We want to win Big 12 championships.”
And even if some of the OSU wrestlers were frustrated with their individual performances, the team dominance provided a boost of confidence.
“I’m not quite happy with (my performance),” Piccininni said. “A win is a win at this point in the season, and there’s more stuff to work on for me. It’s eye-opening for me, still. There’s a bigger picture to this, and it’s coming in two weeks.”