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A few weeks ago I asked my Twitter followers how they would put together an all-time great college dual team with the current weights using athletes from their home states. The responses were great and really got me curious. So, I did the research and have now put together the best possible team for the top 16 states including some formidable back-up teams.
Across the next handful of days, we will unveil these teams before pitting them against each other in a national duals format type competition. You can view team Pennsylvania HERE and team California HERE.
With how much the weight classes have changed over the years, I tried to slide wrestlers in where I thought they would wrestle, i.e. 126 = 125. I also tried to avoid having to bump wrestlers up or down weight classes when able.
Now let's check out arguably the most historic wrestling state - Oklahoma. It's incredible how many great Oklahoman wrestlers choose to stay and wrestle in college in Oklahoma. Only four wrestlers across the entire team, honorable mention included, finished their college careers someplace other than Oklahoma or Oklahoma State.
125 Starter: Kendall Cross, Mustang, 1987-90
NCAA Tournament Finishes: R12, 6, 1, 3 (126)
Before Kendall Cross defeated Terry Brands in the Olympic Trials and went on to win an Olympic gold medal, he defeated Tom Brands in the 1989 NCAA semifinals. Not too many people (if any) can say they have beaten both Brands brothers in a wrestling competition. Under head coach Joe Seay at Oklahoma State, Cross was a three-time All-American. In the 1990 NCAA semifinals, Cross was defeated by Jason Kelber, who he had beaten the year before in the quarterfinals, on criteria.
125 Backup: Dwight Hinson, Lawton, 1995-98
NCAA Tournament Finishes: 3, 2, 4, 3 (126)
I feel like because Dwight Hinson never won an NCAA title he often doesn’t get remembered/the respect he deserves. Just look at his NCAA finishes. He never lost more than two matches at the NCAA tournament and racked up 138 wins as a Cyclone. Hinson was upended by 1996 Japanese Olympic Sanshiro Abe 6-5 in the finals. While Hinson wrestled with appendicitis at nationals his senior year, Eric Guerrero did beat Hinson in the semifinals 2-1. However, Hinson is the reason the three-time NCAA champion didn’t win a Big 8/Big 12 title until he moved up to 133 pounds his senior year.
Gary Breece - 4X AA and 1974 NCAA champion for Oklahoma
Ross Flood - 3X NCAA champion for Oklahoma State in the 30s
Joe McDaniel - 3X NCAA champion for Oklahoma State in the 30s
133 Starter: John Smith, Del City, 1984-88
NCAA Tournament Finishes: NQ (126), 2, 1, 1 (134)
Wouldn’t be an Oklahoma list without Dubya, would it? The GOAT of American freestyle was unsurprisingly pretty good at folkstyle as well. Smith earned a career record of 154-7-2 while dominating his way to three NCAA finals and two titles. His senior year title run looked like this: pin, 21-8, pin, pin over Jeff Gibbons, 9-2 over Joe Melchiore.
133 Backup: TJ Jaworsky, Edmond, 1992 - 1995
NCAA Tournament Finishes: NQ (126), 1, 1, 1 (134)
I really almost did it, I almost put TJ Jaworsky in the starting lineup over John Smith, but I couldn’t quite pull the trigger. Jaworsky was so good and has stats comparable to that of John W. The Tar Heel earned a career record of 124-10 en route to three ACC and NCAA titles. Jaworsky’s senior season he won the first-ever Hodge Trophy Award while going 38-0 (plus one loss to an already graduated Cary Kolat in the Midlands finals) with 24 pins and 81.6%. He also beat or outplaced Kolat, Mark Ironside, Troy Stiener, Babak Mohammadi, and Steve St. John at the NCAA tournament.
Johnny Thompson - four-time AA and two-time NCAA champion for Oklahoma State in the early 2000s
David McGuire - 3X finalist and 2X NCAA champion for Oklahoma in the late 60s
Mickey Martin - 1962 and 1963 NCAA champion for Oklahoma
Stan Abel - 1959 and 1960 NCAA champion for Oklahoma
Wayne Martin - 3X NCAA champion for Oklahoma in the 30s
Al Whitehouse - 1940 and 1941 NCAA champion for Oklahoma State
141 Starter: Teyon Ware, Edmond, 2003-06
NCAA Tournament Finishes: 1, 6, 1, 2 (141)
A two-time NCAA champion, Teyon Ware was known for his incredible positioning and being hard to score on. Ware and Nate Gallick had one of the best rivalries during their time, wrestling in back-to-back NCAA finals '05 and '06. Ware’s junior championship bracket included Gallick, Michael Keefe, Andy Simmons, Josh Churella, and Franky Edgar.
141 Backup: Michael Lightner, Marlow, 1998-2001
NCAA Tournament Finishes: 5 (134), 2, 2, 1 (141)
Michael Lightner went 144-16 during his time as a Sooner. He capped off a great career by going 37-0 and beating Doug Schwab in the NCAA finals. Lightner was also a four-time Big 12 champion.
Lee Roy Smith - 1980 NCAA champion for Oklahoma State
David Arndt - 3X NCAA champion for Oklahoma State in the 40s
149 Starter: Kenny Monday, Tulsa, 1981-84
NCAA Tournament Finishes: R12 (142), 2, 2, 1 (150)
Known for his carries and other feet-to-back moves while at Oklahoma State, Kenny racked up a career record of 121-12-2. With 51 career pins, he is second at OSU to only Jordan Oliver (54). Monday lost to David Carr on criteria in the finals both his sophomore and junior seasons.
Listen to Kenny Monday tell how he helped Sadulaev below.
149 Backup: Stanley Henson, Tulsa, 1937-39
NCAA Tournament Finishes: 1, 1 (145), 1 (155)
Oklahoma’s adding some old-school toughness here. Henson’s reported college record was 56-1. The one loss came while wrestling up a weight class and he still later avenged it. In addition to being a phenomenal wrestler, Henson served in WWII and was a surgeon!
Wayne Wells - 2X finalist and 1968 NCAA champion for Oklahoma
Tommy Evans - 1952 & 1954 NCAA champion for Oklahoma
Roger Frizzel - 3X 3rd place finisher for Oklahoma in the 80s
157 Starter: Pat Smith, Del City, 1990-94
NCAA Tournament Finishes: 1, 1, 1, 1 (158)
Who else? Pat Smith first to ever win four NCAA titles. Smith was just a winner. En route to his four titles, Smith put together a career record of 122-4-2. He capped off his college career by beating Michigan's Sean Bormet 5-3. In the finals his junior year he beat Iowa’s Tom Ryan in Iowa City 7-6.
Listen to Sean Bormet talk about his NCAA finals loss to Pat Smith below.
Listen to Tom Ryan talk about his NCAA finals loss to Pat Smith below.
157 Backup: Ricky Stewart, Duncan, 1979-82
NCAA Tournament Finishes: 7, 1, 1, 3 (158)
Earning a career record of 116-16, Stewart was a staple of the Oklahoma State lineup in the early 80s. At the 1981 NCAA tournament Stewart defeated three-time NCAA champ Jim Zalesky 8-4 before pinning Dave Schultz in the finals. Stewart had 29 pins in dual meets alone.
Rod Kilgore - 4X AA and 2X NCAA champion for Oklahoma in the 70s
Phil Kinyon - 3X finalist & 1961 NCAA champion for Oklahoma State
Dick Beattie - 1958 & 1959 NCAA champion for Oklahoma State
Cleo McGlory - 3X finalist and 1969 NCAA champion for Oklahoma
Doug Blubaugh - 1957 NCAA champion for Oklahoma State
165 Starter: Mike Sheets, Tahlequah, 1981-84
NCAA Tournament Finishes: 7, 2, 1, 1 (167)
After losing to Dave Schultz on criteria in the 1982 NCAA finals, Mike Sheets won 74-straight matches, 52 by bonus, and two conference titles, and two NCAA titles. Here are the results to his last 10 NCAA tournament matches: 29-2 (have mercy), 14-0, 6-0, 5-1, 14-0, 16-8, 12-0, pin, 6-3, and 9-0. That’s ridiculous. Mike’s son Wyatt now wrestles for the Cowboys as well.
165 Backup: Johny Hendricks, Edmond, 2004-2007
NCAA Tournament Finishes: 5 (157), 1, 1, 2 (165)
This weight was easily the hardest to pick and is going to be controversial. Mark Branch was a four-time finalist, and we at Flo even made a film about how Mark Perry defeated Hendricks in the NCAA finals. Whomever you choose, you have an argument. However, Perry was 0-5 against Perry leading up to that NCAA finals match, including a 5-2 loss in the NCAA finals the year prior. Also, Perry won 4-3 on a controversially quick two count for back points. I’ll take Johny’s 126-13 career record, including 5-1 against Perry, over Branch’s 99-19 and Perry’s 96-16 records. 11 of Hendricks’ 13 losses came his first two years.
The argument for Branch would be that nine of his losses came his freshman year and he lost in the finals his junior year because he tore his ACL. Perry also spent a good amount of time injured during his career.
However, the deciding factor for me was the 2006 bracket that Johny Hendricks won. It included Mark Perry, Troy Letters, Ryan Churella, Travis Paulson, Tyron Woodly, and John Sioredas. Hendricks won by pin, 12-3, pin, 6-2, 5-2.
Mark Perry - 4X AA, 3X finalist, and 2X NCAA champion for Iowa in the 2000s
Mark Branch - 4X finalist and 1994 &1997 NCAA champion for Oklahoma State
Ray Miller - 4X AA, 2X finalist, and 1993 NCAA champion for Arizona State
Tyrone Lewis - 4X AA & 2004 NCAA finalist for Oklahoma State
Jack VanBebber - 3X NCAA champion for Oklahoma State from 1929-31
Virgil Smith - 1941 & 1942 NCAA champion for Oklahoma State
174 Starter: Chris Perry, Stillwater, 2011-14
NCAA Tournament Finishes: R12 (184), 3, 1, 1 (174)
Would Chris Perry beat Dan Hodge the two wrestled? Also Hodge never made 174, so he’s going to have put on a few pounds and bump up. Perry produced a dominant 122-11 career record with 59 bonus-point wins. Just listen to who Perry beat and/or out-placed at NCAAs: Andrew Howe, Matt Brown, Robert Kokesh, Logan Storley, and Mike Evans. Chris Perry was so tough and just found ways to win.
Watch Chris Perry take out Logan Storley in the 2013 Southern Scuffle finals below.
174 Backup: Chris Barnes, Oologah, 1987-90
NCAA Tournament Finishes: NQ, 4, 1, 1 (177)
Going 119-27 while at Oklahoma State, Chris Barnes really picked things up his junior year and then became dominant his senior year. Twenty-five of Barnes’ 27 losses came in his freshman and sophomore seasons. He lost just one match each his last two seasons and went fall, tech, tech, 14-8, 10-2 at the NCAA championships his senior year. Like I said, dominant.
Conrad Caldwell - 3X NCAA champion for Oklahoma State from 1929-31
Ned Blass - 1959 and 1960 NCAA champion for Oklahoma State
184 Starter: Danny Hodge, Perry, 1955-57
NCAA Tournament Finishes: 1, 1, 1 (177)
One of the most historic names in college wrestling history: Dan Hodge. There’s a reason he has wrestling’s version of the Heisman Trophy named after him. Hodge went 46-0 with 36 pins during his college career. The man didn’t even give up a takedown. He pinned all three NCAA finals opponents and even won an Olympic silver medal while still in college. Rumor has it he has extra tendons in his hands so he can squeeze extra hard, and you know what, I believe it. He’s up there for the best all-time while in college.
184 Backup: JJ McGrew, Cleveland, 1991-95
NCAA Tournament Finishes: NQ, R12 (177), 7, 1 (190)
Originally wrestling for Notre Dame before they shut down the program, JJ McGrew didn’t win a national title until he came back to Oklahoma and wrestled for the Cowboys. When he did win, he defeated Iowa’s top-seeded Joel Sharratt in front of his home crowd in Iowa City. Sharratt had previously beaten McGrew three times that very season.
Nolan Boyd - 2016 & 2017 AA for Oklahoma State
197 Starter: Wayne Baughman, Oklahoma City, 1961-63
NCAA Tournament Finishes: 2 (177), 1, 2 (191)
A three-time finalist and 1962 NCAA champion for Oklahoma, Baughman was a world-class athlete. One year after graduating college, he made his first of three Olympic teams and also won national championships in four different wrestling styles: freestyle, Greco-Roman, collegiate and sombo.
Listen to Wayne Baugman talk about how it was fate that got him into wrestling below.
197 Backup: Jack Brisco, Blackwell, 1964-65
NCAA Tournament Finishes: 2, 1 (191)
Jack Brisco only wrestled 29 college matches, but still made quite the impression. He went 27-1-1 while at Oklahoma State. In 1965 he became the first Native American to win an NCAA title. During this senior campaign, he wasn't taken down once during the entire season. Brisco would go on to have a successful professional wrestling career and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.
Joel Flaggert - 2005 & 2006 AA for Oklahoma
285 Starter: Dick Hutton, Tulsa, 1947-50
NCAA Tournament Finishes: 1, 1, 2, 1 (UNL)
After serving in WWII, Dick Hutton would go on to become one of the most credentialed NCAA heavyweights of all-time. Hutton compiled a career record of 42-1-1. Weighing around 245 lbs, Hutton was rather large for the time and was known for his great mat wrestling. The Tulsa native made the 1948 Olympic team while still in college.
285 Backup: Derek White, Edmond, 2016-2019
NCAA Tournament Finishes: R12, 2 (285)
Would Derek White beat Dick Hutton if the two were able to wrestle in their primes? Yeah, probably, but it’s no comparison when thinking about credentials. After wrestling for Nebraska for two years, Bulk Job transferred to Oklahoma State where his career record was 83-18. He was a two-time national qualifier, losing to Anthony Cassar in the finals his senior year.
Watch him defeat Jordan Wood below.
Gene Nicks - 3X finalist and 1952 & 1954 NCAA champion for Oklahoma State
There you have it, the greatest Oklahoma D1 lineup of all-time.
|125||Kendall Cross||1987-90||Mustang||Oklahoma State|
|133||John Smith||1984-88||Del City||Oklahoma State|
|149||Kenny Monday||1981-84||Tulsa||Oklahoma State|
|157||Pat Smith||1990-94||Del City||Oklahoma State|
|165||Mike Sheets||1981-84||Tahlequah||Oklahoma State|
|174||Chris Perry||2011-14||Stillwater||Oklahoma State|
|197||Wayne Baughman||1961-63||Oklahoma City||Oklahoma|
|285||Dick Hutton||1947-50||Tulsa||Oklahoma State|