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Cowboys flex their depth during ranking matchups

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Oklahoma State's Nick Piccininni takes on Iowa State's Alex Mackall in the 125-pound championship round of the Big 12 Wrestling Tournament on March 8 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Ok.

As I ascended the escalator at Gallagher-Iba Arena I heard an interesting statement from two elderly men behind me.

“For some reason, this feels like 2006 to me.”

He, of course, was referencing the last time the Cowboys had won a national title, and his statement is one that Cowboys fans, as well as head coach John Smith, share.

Speaking to Smith this season, he at one point tapped on the vacant spot next to 2006 on the plaque on national titles, expressing that this was the goal for the season, and with the depth that these Cowboys have, it’s a realistic goal.

The Cowboys had their first dual of the season, albeit in the form of a scrimmage against one another, but were able to take advantage of the opportunity to give younger wrestlers reps, as well as showcase the depth they will have at each weight class this season.

For this dual, Smith had split the team up into two teams, with at least one matchup at every weight class, and some with two. The Black Team, highlighted by Daton Fix, Dustin Plott and Dakota Geer came up victorious 30-27 against the Orange Team highlighted by A.J. Ferrari, Trevor Mastrogiovanni, and Travis Wittlake.

“I tried to make it an even dual meet and I think I was pretty close,” Smith said. “It was 27-27 going into the last match.”

The score was not as important as the individual performances, as Smith now has something to go off with the Cowboys’ first dual coming in a week.

Starters for certain weights could be assumed even before today; A.J. Ferrari is expected to start at 197 and he proved it against Luke Surber, Boo Lewallen defeated Kaden Gfeller at 149 and Dakota Geer won via fall against Christian McCutcheon at 184.

“I thought I did pretty good,” Lewallen said. “I think the first time making weight, first time wrestling since (the Big 12 tournament) last year, it was a good match.”

Dusty Hone and Kaid Brock showed off in the 141-weight class, and while Brock came away victorious in a hard fought match today, Smith said he wanted to see more from the two in their match.

After both Reece Witcraft and Trevor Mastrogiovanni won their first matches, the event closed with those two going head-to-head, with Mastrogiovanni defeating Witcraft 3-2 and solidifying himself as a solid starting option at 125.

Both True freshman Dustin Plott and redshirt junior Christian Bahl won their respective matches at 174 by fall, providing Smith with dangerous depth at yet another weight class.

With a shortened season that will have multiple duals on a day, having depth is something that Smith has stressed, and after today, is something that his squad proved to have.

“I’m excited (for next week),” Lewallen said. “I’m pretty sure there is going to be two mats out, it’s going to be a different environment in Gallagher-Iba.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com