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Oklahoma State heads to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday to take on Iowa in the 54th meeting between the two most historic programs in the sport of wrestling.
The Cowboys hold a 29-22-2 lead in the series that will likely get even closer on Sunday, as the host Hawkeyes are the heavy favorite to win this battle.
The question on the mind of most Oklahoma State fans is this: Where will the Cowboys be able to pick up a win? On paper, the Hawkeyes are favored in every single match and the Cowboys bring a young squad to one of the toughest environments in all of wrestling in Carver-Hawkeye.
The goal becomes a very different one for Oklahoma State than what they’re used to. Usually, other programs are gunning for those one or two shots at the Cowboys, trying to notch just a few wins to bloody the nose of the most historic program in the country.
In Iowa City, the Cowboys will be trying to do that against Spencer Lee, Austin DeSanto, and the national title favorites.
The premier match of the dual comes at 149. OSU has #6-ranked Boo Lewallen taking on #2-ranked Pat Lugo in a match with major seeding implications at the NCAA tournament.
And, of course, everyone remembers what happened in the last dual at 125, when Nick Piccininni blew the roof off Gallagher-Iba Arena by pinning NCAA champ Spencer Lee.
True freshman Reece Witcraft lets it fly. Can he find a way to launch a DeSanto who’s been out for bits of the season with an injury? Travis Wittlake only has one loss on the season and somewhat quietly has amassed the #1 RPI in the country at 165. He’ll take on “The Bull,” #2-ranked Alex Marinelli. Iowa has rotated guys at 184, and Anthony Montalvo has a gas tank that never empties and comes into this off six straight wins. Dakota Geer will have a shot to bounce back with an upset over Jacob Warner.
Can anyone in this group or the rest of the Cowboy lineup find a way to break through and get that shot in against an Iowa squad that looks destined for an NCAA title in March?
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.