After the first day of action at the Big 12 Wrestling Championships, the Oklahoma Sooners stand alone atop the conference team standings.
Putting 62 points on the board in Saturday’s second session, OU holds a 10-point lead over second place Wyoming, and an 11-point lead over third-place Oklahoma State, who’s won eight straight Big 12 titles.
Nine Sooners remain in the bracket to wrestle tomorrow, a conference best.
"We obviously wrestled really well tonight, but there is still a lot of wrestling left," head coach Lou Rosselli said. "I'm proud of how our guys competed today with their backs against the wall, and we know what we need to do to accomplish our goals tomorrow."
Tony Madrigal made history as well, becoming the first unseeded wrestler ever to earn a spot in the Big 12 final against Oklahoma State’s Daton Fix with a 3-0 performance on the day. All three of Madrigal’s wins came over seeded opponents. He also earned one of the Big 12’s allocated bids to the NCAA Championship with his showing.
Dom Demas also punched his ticket to the Big 12 final and earned a bid to the NCAA Championships with a victory over North Dakota State 3-seed Clay Carlson. Demas will face Iowa State’s Ian Parker on Saturday in a rematch of the 2020 Big 12 finals, where Demas will look to improve to 12-1 on the season.
San Fransisco State transfer Troy Mantanona racked up points for Oklahoma even after falling to the consolation bracket. Winning his opening match via fall, Mantanona added two more falls to qualify him for the consolation semifinals, but most importantly the 3-1 finish on the day tallied 14 team points to help lift Oklahoma into the lead. If he can top West Virginia’s Peyton Hall Sunday morning, Mantanona will also add his name to the list of Sooners qualifying for an NCAA bid.
Freshman Josh Heindselman was unable to avenge his earlier season loss to Iowa State’s top seed Gannon Gremmel, again taking Gremmel to overtime before losing the decision. The loss places Heindselman in the consolation semifinals against 2-seed Carter Isley, where the winner will also confirm their place at the NCAA Championships.
Five-seed Jake Woodley lost his opening match against Cowboy 4-seed A.J. Ferrari, but he battled back with two straight victories to stave off elimination. A victory against West Virginia’s Noah Adams will also send Woodley to the NCAA Championships.
If the Sooners can hold off Wyoming and Oklahoma State, they’ll secure their 24th conference title, and their first since 2002.
Action resumes Sunday at 10 a.m. on ESPN+. The Championship rounds will begin at 5 p.m. and be broadcast live on ESPN2.