OSU wrestling: Cowboys advance four to Big 12 finals

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OSU's Travis Whittlake wrestles Northern Iowa's Austin Yant during the Big 12 Wrestling Tournament on Mar. 7, 2020 at the BOK Center in Tulsa.

Tulsa — The Oklahoma State wrestling team continues to perform consistently in the middle weights, scoring bonus points in key matches.

Throughout the season Boo Lewallen, Wyatt Sheets and Travis Wittlake at 149 pounds, 157 and 165 respectively have been some of OSU’s strongest and most consistent performers. Lewallen and Wittlake were seeded No. 1 going into the tournament, Sheets was seeded No. 3 and all three will wrestle in championship matches at their respective weights.

“It’s no longer about whether you’re going to nationals,” OSU coach John Smith said. “It’s going to be hard, but if we respect how hard it is, we’ll wrestle how we need to wrestle.”

Lewallen was the favorite at 149 going into the tournament and did not disappoint. After a bye in the first round, Lewallen beat Cameron Hunsaker of Utah Valley. In the semifinal round, Lewallen faced a familiar opponent, Jarrett Degen of Iowa State. The last time Lewallen and Degen went head-to-head, Lewallen had his second season-ending injury. The match was tight close going into the second period but Lewallen got a pin in the third period and the orange-clad BOK center exploded.

“I was pleased to see him immediately go back down and get the reversal to the back,” Smith said. “Nice effort from him, refocus real quickly and recognize where he was at in the match.”

After a bye in the first round, Sheets won by technical fall against his next two opponents: Alex Hornfeck of West Virginia and Peyton Smith of South Dakota State to move on to the championship bout.

Along with Sheets, Travis Wittlake, performed in similar fashion for his next two matches. Aheavy favorite to win the tournament, Wittlake had a bye in the first round. He easily defeated his next two opponents: Austin Yant of Northern Iowa and Tanner Cook of South Dakota State by technical fall and major decision respectively.

“I was pretty confident coming into this tournament that I could make it to finals and hope to win it all tomorrow.” Wittlake said.

In addition to the middle weights, Nick Piccininni at 125 continues to be a solid performer for the Cowboys and will be competing for his fourth straight Big 12 title on Sunday.

“This is the time of year you have to go for things, you can’t hold back,” Smith said.