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The Cowboys rolled over Northern Colorado in Gallagher-Iba on Sunday afternoon. Here are my five thoughts on the performance.
1. The Ingredients are there with Reece Witcraft; he just needs to get them mixed together.
At 133 we saw Reece Witcraft face #20 Mosha Schwartz in one of the most compelling matchups of the dual. It lived up to the hype as a high-scoring battle with a lot of takedowns that ultimately resulted in a 12-11 decision for Schwartz. Witcraft had five takedowns to two for Schwartz and still found himself with a loss. In all of his takedowns, he gave up quick escapes and accrued little riding time. Then one of the takedowns and a reversal he gave up were both at the end of periods and he was unable to get away either time.
Clearly the talent and ability seem to be there for Witcraft to beat ranked wrestlers and break into that category himself; he’s just got to start putting other pieces together like riding and not giving up late takedowns and he could start consistently living up to that potential that we all see is there.
2. Boo Lewallen passes one test but has a lot more on the way.
I’ve covered this team for a few years and won’t be shy about my bias toward them. Acknowledging that, even when I take off my orange glasses, I think Boo Lewallen is an NCAA title contender. We didn’t get to see him at the Southern Scuffle, but we did see him pass one more tough test this weekend with Scuffle runner-up Andrew Alirez. He’s now 10-0 and ranked #3 in the country, and after beating Alirez has another top win to his name to go along with taking out Jacob Butler at Bedlam, Mike D’angelo at Princeton, and another top freshman in Brayton Lee in the Minnesota dual a few months ago.
His schedule is about to pick up even more in the coming weeks. Northern Iowa, Iowa State, Missouri, South Dakota State, Iowa, and another round of Bedlam all await the Cowboys this year and all have ranked wrestlers at 149, including #1 Pat Lugo at Iowa. Boo has passed some solid tests to this point, but still has a lot more on the way.
3. There’s still no Kaden Gfeller or Joe Smith.
All-American Joe Smith and Southern Scuffle runner-up Kaden Gfeller were both out of the lineup again this Sunday. They stated last week that there would be a ranking match for the 141 spot, but John Smith didn’t seem to indicate that was the reason for not having Gfeller in the lineup.
“I went with Dusty Hone because Kaden Gfeller wasn’t feeling good, and he told me that,” Smith said. “If you want to wrestle, you don’t tell the coach you don’t feel good. That’s not what you say. And he told me that. I couldn’t believe it. I said, ‘OK, well if you don’t feel good, you’re not wrestling.’ Sometimes you have to wrestle when you don’t feel good because you’re the only guy who weighed in, but we had another guy that’s real successful, too.”
No comments were made on the status of Joe Smith, but he did weigh in at 174. You can see all of the post-match interviews here.
4. Chalk up another good win for Anthony Montalvo.
Anthony Montalvo took out Alan Clothier for the second time in two weeks after beating him at the Southern Scuffle. Both were important wins as both guys seem right on the fringe of getting automatic NCAA bids for the conference. The win for Montalvo here just solidified him as the high seed at the conference tournament and should put him in a slightly better spot in March to get a placement at the conference tournament that gets him a bid the NCAAs.
5. There was no Jacob Seely for Northern Colorado.
Dakota Geer throttled UNCO backup Seth Bogulski 19-3 as the Bears did not send out their regular starter and 22nd-ranked Jacob Seely. Looking at what seems like could still be a fluid lineup situation, it’s unfortunate we didn’t get to see this match. Dakota Geer is definitely a little undersized at 197, and I think it’s reasonable to assume the coaching staff may still be evaluating to see if that’s the best weight for the All-American. So you really want to see these tougher matchups and where Geer is at with the other formidable 197lbers.
Seth Duckworth is a Stillwater-based writer who covers Oklahoma State University wrestling for Pistols Firing Blog, the best OSU news and community site on the internet. Follow Seth on Twitter.