Cowboys return to the mat against Princeton

Boo Lewallen

Boo Lewallen pumps up the crowd after winning his match during OSU's Bedlam dual victory on Sunday.

The Oklahoma State wrestling team looks to continue its momentum as it faces No. 12 Princeton on Friday.

The Cowboys won their last dual against Minnesota and after a two-week break from competition, OSU coach John Smith said he’s ready to get the team back on the mat, especially after facing several injuries early in the season.

“I’d much rather be wrestling,” Smith said. “I think once you get into the season, time off is not always the best thing, but it can be. … We trained good over the break, had a good week last week … good start for us.”

Despite the break, the Cowboys will remain without starter Joe Smith at 174 pounds.

“There’s a weight dissention you have to have and that’s what’s holding him up right now, “Smith said. “Rules, all rules.”

OSU will wrestle a Princeton team, which is coming off of an upset win against No. 10 Lehigh.

“On paper it looks like it could be our toughest dual meet so far,” Smith said. “I think there are six or seven matchups that are really very competitive.”

Both Nick Piccinnini and Dakota Geer will have top ten rematches in addition to Boo Lewallen's top-15 matchup.

“I feel like it’ll definitely be a different match this year,” Geer said. “I feel like I got some size on me, I feel like I’m a bigger 97 pounder, I think I’m definitely ready for this match this year, I’m excited for it.”

The Cowboys may also see Kaden Gfeller return to the lineup at 141.

“I think this week it’s probably 50/50 as far as if he’s healthy to wrestle,” Smith said. “Even if he’s healthy to wrestle he still may not go.”

In the absence of several starters, younger wrestlers in the lineup were given an opportunity to start for the Cowboys.

True freshman Reece Witcraft had a come-from-behind victory and won his first match in GIA with a pin.

“It’s big for a freshman to do stuff like that,” Nick Piccininni said. “To be down in a match, comeback and score points right away … I was proud of him.”

The team has struggled with first-period takedowns and scoring early in matches despite the emphasis on conditioning and looks to improve versus Princeton.

“Remember, we got a season to do this,” Smith said.

sports.ed@ocolly.com