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'It would be a monster win for us': No. 17 OU wrestling readies for No. 4 Oklahoma State in Bedlam

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Jake Woodley

Redshirt junior 197 pound wrestler Jake Woodley competes at the NCAA Championships on March 20 in St. Louis.

No. 17 Oklahoma hosts No. 4 Oklahoma State for a Bedlam showdown Sunday in its final dual of 2021.

The Sooners (2-1) have not fared well against the Cowboys (3-0) recently, losing the last 13 duals against their in-state rival. However, the Sooners did tie OSU for last season’s Big 12 championship back in March. A win now would give Oklahoma bragging rights and a huge uptick in confidence when the second half of the season begins in January.

“It would be a monster win for us,” said OU coach Lou Rosselli. “To go in and beat Oklahoma State would give all of our guys that boost that they need as we approach the second semester. I think every time you get a win over a great opponent, you gain confidence in your abilities and confidence that things are happening the way that they're supposed to.”

The marquee matchup of Sunday’s contest pits No. 12 Jake Woodley against No. 1 A.J. Ferrari in the 197-pound class. Ferrari, the defending national champion, defeated Woodley twice last season.

“Hopefully Jake comes excited and ready to go and warmed up because it's an opportunity for him,” Rosselli said. “It's a great opportunity for somebody to wrestle the defending national champion.

“I think Jake knows what he has to do… (Ferrari) does a really good job of getting to the legs eventually. Meeting head position and tactically being able to do that for seven minutes, (Woodley) is going to have to have seven minutes of focus to do that.”

In the heavyweight division, Piedmont native Josh Heindselman takes on Tuttle native Luke Surber. The two shared high school All-American honors in 2019 but have little experience wrestling against each other, as Surber competed in the 197 weight class at Tuttle High.

"I went on trips with him, and we were roommates on trips to junior duals and stuff like that,” Surber said during Oklahoma State’s media availability on Wednesday. “I know him pretty well. It's pretty crazy, honestly. I was wrestling a lot lighter back then, so I didn't think we would ever wrestle, but here we are.”

OU redshirt senior Joey Prata will meet Oklahoma State sophomore Trevor Mastrogiovanni for a top 25 matchup in the 125-pound class. No. 22 Prata is 6-1 on the season while No. 10 Mastrogiovanni is undefeated after three matches.

The 133-pound class features another top 25 matchup between Oklahoma’s No. 19 Tony Madrigaland No. 1 Daton Fix of Oklahoma State. The two wrestled last season in the Big 12 Championship final, with Fix coming out on top. The OSU redshirt junior went on to earn a second place finish in the 2021 NCAA Championships. Madrigal, a senior, will have to bring his best to pull off an upset. 

Sooners star Dom Demas has yet to wrestle in a match this season, leaving uncertainty for Oklahoma in the 141-pound class. Redshirt juniors Jacob Butler and Zack Zeamer have both wrestled for OU this year in Demas’ place. Butler is 2-3 while Zeamer is 2-5.

If Demas, who’s ranked No. 5 in his weight class, takes the mat, Oklahoma’s chances of pulling off an upset appear feasible. Carter Young and Dusty Hone have shared time at 141 for the Cowboys. Young is 1-1 this season while Hone won his lone appearance.

No. 9 Mitch Moore takes on No. 18 Kaden Gfeller in the 149-pound class. Moore had to withdraw from his final match at the Cliff Keen Invitation earlier this month due to medical concerns.

The 157-pound class features OU’s No. 17 Justin Thomas against No. 20 Wyatt Sheets. Thomas defeated the All-American each time the two met last season.

Graduate wrestler Joe Grello and junior Troy Mantanona have split time in the 156-pound  lineup for the Sooners this season. Oklahoma State boasts No. 7 Travis Wittlake, a two time All-American, who has not lost a Bedlam match in his career.

Redshirt senior Anthony Mantanona squares off against No. 12 Dustin Plott in the 174-weight class. The two are frequent competitors who went 1-1 in their matches last season. 

In the 184-weight class, Oklahoma’s No. 23 Darrien Roberts lines up against No. 8 Dakota Greer. Roberts lost both of his matchups with Greer last season by a combined 25 points.

Sunday’s event will begin at 5 p.m. at the Lloyd Noble Center and will be televised on ESPNU.

“The people that don't come ready, will pay the price,'' Rosselli said. “It's a great opportunity, and we should embrace that opportunity.”

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