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Cowboys shutout Air Force on way to dominant victory

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OSU's Derek White takes on Air Force's Kayne Hutchison during the No. 2 Oklahoma State vs. Air Force Big 12 Conference wrestling dual at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater on Feb. 8, 2019.

From start to finish there was never a doubt in mind what would happen.

The No. 2 Oklahoma State wrestling team dominated Air Force from the opening dual to the final one on Friday on its way to a 39-0 victory.

For the first time this season OSU (13-0 Overall, 8-0 Big 12) started the dual at 165 pounds with a return of All-American Chandler Rogers to the mat. He finished with a sloppy 6-4 victory against Air Force’s Jacoby Ward to give the Cowboys the early lead.

Rogers wasn’t the only Cowboy to make a return from injury. Preston Weigel, an All-American and two-time Big 12 champion, made his second dual appearance of the season, the other coming against Oklahoma on Dec. 9. He won a hard-fought match 2-0 with riding time.

Following Weigel’s match the Cowboys went on a tear of bonus point wins. Five of the final six matches were won with bonus points including one fall, two technical falls and two major decisions.

No. 2 Derek White continued his strong senior season with his seventh fall of the year at heavyweight.

OSU’s coach John Smith said that even with the pin there are things he thinks can still be improved upon with two regular season matches to go.

“I wish he would just go and force the action a little bit more,” Smith said. “He had a lot of runarounds and defensive scores today, but for him to prepare himself to beat the better guys, it's gonna be his shots, it’s gonna be him getting to the legs, it’s gonna be him putting points on the board.”

His pin was followed by what has been the strongest part of the Cowboys' lineup this season.

The early weights in OSU's lineup, from from 125 to 149, have won nearly every match this season, and Friday was no different. They went 4-0 and outscored their opponents 48-13 to record one technical fall and two major decisions on the way.

No. 2 Daton Fix (133) showed why he is ranked so highly with a 18-2 victory against Anthony Decesare in 3:47. Two back-to-back four-point nearfalls in the second period as well as a reversal extended the redshirt freshman's lead.

In what has been the weakest weight for the Cowboys most of the season, Wyatt Sheets looks to have taken control at 157 and continued that against Air Force. In the final bout of the dual, Sheets came away with a seven-minute technical fall against Alex Mossing, 18-3, to send the Cowboy faithful home happy.

An unexpected addition to the Cowboy lineup was Christian Bahl. Bahl, a Stillwater native, wrestled in place of No. 7 Joe Smith, who dropped both of his matches against Northern Iowa and Lehigh. Thanks to a first-period takedown and two escapes, he took care of business and won 4-3 in his dual debut for the Cowboys.

OSU’s coach John Smith said he was impressed with how the redshirt freshman seized his opportunity.

“It was nice to see Christian (Bahl) wrestle and get a win,” Smith said. “It’s an opportunity he’s been waiting on and those are great moments for us. To see those guys come in the room every day and work their tails off everyday with an outside chance that you’re ever gonna step out there. Today he had that opportunity and we all love to see it.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com