With his team down and all momentum in the Tigers favor, Austin Harris knew he had to step up.
After getting a forfeit at 165 the Oklahoma State wrestling team lost its next three matches heading into heavyweight matchup that would prove to be the most crucial of the night as the Cowboys defeated Princeton 18-15 Friday night in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
At 174 and 184 the Cowboys (3-1) lost two close matches by a combined score of 10-5. At 197 No. 6 Dakota Geer lost to The Tiger’s (1-1) No. 2 Patrick Brucki, 12-6, and Princeton had all of the momentum
OSU coach John Smith said that he chose 165 specifically to put pressure on his upper weights.
“I actually chose the weight class to put them guys under a little bit of pressure and they didn’t respond very well.” Smith said.
Insert: Austin Harris.
The redshirt sophomore has struggled thus far. He came into the match 1-3 on the season with his lone coming in the OCU opened last month.
But when his team desperately needed points he came through against Princeton’s Aidan Connor. He started the match slow, getting taken down in the first, but that was when he put it on Connor.
Starting the second period on bottom, he scored a reversal to tie it. Later in the period he had Connor within inches of a pin that would have been a complete momentum change for the Cowboys. Unfortunately, for Harris and OSU he had to settle with 2-point near-fall.
He then rode out the third to secure the riding time point and the match.
It won’t go down as the flashiest win, or even a very memorable one, but what it was was exactly what the Cowboys needed to come away with the victory.
“It was just big to get the momentum back on our side.” Harris said. “It was just something that I personally needed to do. I just knew that the match was mine and I just had to keep wrestling, I had it under control.”
Following Harris’ match the Cowboys still couldn’t run away from the Tigers.
At 125 No. 3 Nick Piccininni fell to No. 4 Pat Glory, 8-4, to put Princeton ahead 12-9 in team points.
OSU followed that up with three straight decisions from Reece Witcraft (133), Dusty Hone (141) and Boo Lewallen (149) to give the Cowboys a cushion heading to the last match.
“It’s good to see us win at (133),” Smith said. “Good to see Dusty Hone at 141 with a good win. Austin Harris picking up the win at heavyweight. That’s what teammates need to do. They need to pick it up when things aren’t going well and we had that from guys that are in the lineup that we thought it would be tough for them to win tonight.”
In the final match of the dual Wyatt Sheets fell to No. 9 Quincy Monday, but managed to avoid getting pinned and gave OSU the win.
It wasn’t a pretty win, but OSU got the wins necessary to come away victorious.
“We had no attitude tonight,” Smith said. “It seemed like when we needed an attitude, because it was getting a little bit tough, we didn’t have one.”