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3 things to watch for: OSU vs. Oregon State/Tennessee-Chattanooga

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Oklahoma State's Boo Lewallen takes on South Dakota State's Henry Pohlmeyer during the 149-pound championship round of the Big 12 Wrestling Tournament on March 8 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Ok.

The quest for Oklahoma State’s ninth consecutive Big 12 title begins Sunday. Oregon State (0-3) and Tennessee Chattanooga (0-1) will clash with the Pokes beginning at 12 p.m. Sunday in Gallagher-Iba Arena. Here are three things to watch in the Cowboys’ opener.

Pendleton returns

Two-time Cowboy national champion, Chris Pendleton, is back in Stillwater for the first time as a head coach. This past March, Pendleton was introduced as Oregon State’s head wrestling coach after assisting Arizona State for six seasons. Unfortunately for him, Oregon State dropped its first three matches on the season last Sunday in Fargo, North Dakota.

“(Pendleton has) put his time in. What a great kid he is,” coach John Smith said.

Former Stillwater Pioneer earns opportunity

Redshirt senior Andrew Nieman 133-pounder will wrestle his first dual as a Cowboy on Sunday. Nieman was appointed a Sunday starter after defeating teammate Colt Newton in the Orange and Black Ranking Matches last weekend. To this point, Nieman holds an 8-11 career record in open tournaments. Nieman will face a challenging opponent in 18th ranked 2019 Pac-12 champion Devan Turner (0-3) of Oregon State.

“He earned it,” Smith said. “This is his opportunity.”

Top 15 ranked tilt at 184

OSU’s No. 7 ranked (According to FloWrestling) 184-pounder Dakota Geer will battle Chattanooga’s No. 12 Matthew Waddell (1-0). Despite placing third at the Big 12 tournament the past two years at 197, Geer has made the cut down to 184 for his redshirt senior season.

“I enjoy starting off the year with tough matches. Waddell is a pretty decent guy for Chattanooga,” Geer said.

Waddell (1-0), an Oklahoma transfer, finished SoCon runner-up last season for the Mocs.

sports.ed@ocolly.com