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OSU sits second, sends eight to semifinals after Big 12 Championships opening session

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Reece Witcraft

Reece Witcraft, OSU's 125-pounder, earned a spot in the Big 12 semifinals and an NCAA Championships bid during session one of the Big 12 Championships on Saturday. 

TULSA — Reece Witcraft stole the show early at the BOK Center with his automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

A medical forfeit by All-American Killian Cardinale of West Virginia sent Witcraft to the 125-pound semifinals. That was after an 8-2 decision Witcraft earned over Kyle Golhoffer from Northern Iowa. Witcraft did exactly what Smith wanted: steal a bid in the national tournament.

OSU sent eight to the semifinals, the most it has sent since 2019. Despite sitting second behind Missouri (87.5) with 71.5 points, it has been a strong start for the Cowboys, and they have found themselves in the running for a Big 12 title.

OSU had five preliminary matches and won all of them. Daton Fix pinned Garrett Ricks from Wyoming, and Luke Surber worked for a 16-4 major decision against Northern Iowa's Noah Glaser. Konner Doucet and Kaden Gfeller earned decisions in the first round.

The Cowboys did well for themselves in the quarterfinals. The first Cowboy to lose a match was Wyatt Sheets, a 17-7 major decision against Michael Caliendo from North Dakota State. It is Sheets’ second straight year losing in the quarterfinals. Doucet also fell against Wyatt Hendrickson from Air Force with a 12-3 major decision.

Fix wrestled his way to a major decision in the quarterfinals, giving him two bonus-point victories in two matches. It was the only bonus-point victory OSU earned in the quarterfinals. The Cowboys came close with Surber in the 197-pound bout. Surber earned a 12-5 decision over Owen Pentz from NDSU.

Victor Voinovich worked for his first victory in a collegiate postseason match with a 3-2 decision over NDSU’s Kellyn March. At 149, 165 and 197, OSU matched up with NDSU wrestlers and went 2-1. OSU and NDSU didn’t meet in a dual this season.

The loudest the arena got during a match was either the 125-pound bout featuring Oklahoma’s Joey Prata (7-seed) upsetting No. 2-seed Wyoming’s Jore Volk, or the 184-pound bout between Travis Wittlake and OU’s Keegan Moore. For Wittlake and Moore, it was a rematch from the Feb. 16 Bedlam dual, where Wittlake won, 7-4. Wittlake took the second matchup with a 5-1 decision.

Dustin Plott won his rematch with UNI’s Lance Runyon, 6-2, with 2:49 riding time. Gfeller separated the score in his rematch at 157 with Jason Kraisser of Iowa State, defeating him 8-3.

Immediately after winning Big 12 Wrestler of the Week three weeks ago, Carter Young lost to South Dakota State’s Clay Carlson, 4-2. In session one, Young got revenge with a 4-2 decision with riding time. Young automatically qualifies for the NCAA Tournament with his victory.

OSU will have two wrestlers start out the consolation quarterfinals with Sheets against Wyoming’s Cole Moody at 165 pounds and Doucet against Xavier Doolin of Northern Colorado at heavyweight.