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Focus without Ferrari: Cowboys lacking motivating leader

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AJ Ferrari

A car crash has kept Oklahoma State’s vocal leader off the mat.

On Jan. 24, OSU wrestler AJ Ferrari was airlifted and hospitalized after a severe rollover car accident. Fortunately, neither Ferrari nor his passenger —track athlete Isai Rodriguez — experienced no life-threatening injuries. However, Ferrari isn’t expected to wrestle for quite some time due to having “fluid in his lungs that is affecting his oxygen levels and some bad bruising with some internal bleeding,” according to a Facebook post from Ferrari’s father.

Since Ferrari's accident, the Cowboys have lost four of their past five duals. The Cowboys haven’t had consecutive losses since December 2013 against Oklahoma and Minnesota. How is Ferrari’s absence affecting the mentality and performance of the team?

Teammates often refer to Ferrari as one of the loudest voices in the room. A voice that hasn’t been able to attend practices or duals.

“We talked about how competitive these duals are going to be and how important it is that a major decision can make a win or loss and those types of things,” Cowboy coach John Smith said. “AJ is ranked No. 1. It would be no different than Daton Fix out.”

However, Smith is making sure his team focuses on the remainder of the season.

“Listen, this is part of the reason why you came to Oklahoma State is to be in big dual meets,” Smith said. “Being a part of big crowds and if you can’t show up during that time, then we need to figure out why. I’m real patient with some of the guys right now. But I don’t want to see that again. I see that again and we got to go with something else.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com