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Daniel Cormier Retires

July 5th, 2014 by Tom

wrestling shoes

Daniel Cormier retires from wrestling for good, leaves his shoes on the mat after win over Chris Pendleton.


Daniel Cormier tied a ribbon around his prestigious amateur wrestling career earlier this afternoon, defeating former Oklahoma State University (OSU) teammate, Chris Pendleton, in an exhibition match at UFC's "Fan Expo" in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"DC" went down early (0-3), but the U.S. freestyle wrestling team captain (2008) stormed back to record a dominant win on points (12-5).

He summed up the experience in a post-match interview with MMAFighting.com:

"I didn't get to wrestle in the Olympics, I didn’t get to do my last match, so I wanted to finish my career on mat, rather than in the hospital. I wanted to end it on the mat.... It felt crazy. I was so nervous before, and then Chris takes me down and he’s winning 3-0. It was kind of scary, man, I don’t like to lose. It was crazy.... It was a good finish. Now that I’m in the UFC and fighting in the UFC, and to do it at the Fan Expo, it means a lot. I guess it's a symbol of completely finishing that chapter and moving onto the next chapter in my life. I can feel it now already there was something back with wrestling that I needed to get rid of, and now I can move on from it."

Pendleton is certainly no scrub. He was a two-time Big 12 champion who won back-to-back NCAA titles (2004, 2005) at 174 pounds at the expense of uber-talented mat rat, Ben Askren.

And Cormier was able to handle him despite an injured knee, one that will require surgery to repair later this year as he awaits the winner of Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson, which is now set for UFC 178 in Las Vegas on Sept. 27, 2014.

Anticipation Mounts as the 2013 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Dual Meet Championships Approach

February 3rd, 2013 by Tom

Gill Coliseum gears up for the annual tussle of college wrestling best teams and student athletes

MANHEIM, Pa. "The 2013 NWCA/Cliff Keen Division I National Dual Meet Championships Presented by Hibiclens and the Marines, also dubbed as "Mat Mayhem," are less than a month away. These five events will serve as marquee events in NCAA Division I wrestling with nine of the top ten teams in the nation preparing to attend.

With the change in this year's event format, the finals will feature eight teams, four via automatic bids and four teams via regional competition wins. Last year the finals only included the winner of each regional.

"I think of it [the National Duals] as 10 guys strapping on their head gear, battling it out to win for their school "for the name on the front of the singlet," said Missouri Head Coach Brain Smith.

The teams selected to receive automatic bids and attend regional competitions were based on results and rankings from the 2011-2012 season. One school will serve as the host for the regional with three other teams joining them in a one day competition on Sunday, February 17th, the regionals are:

  • Cornell Region: Cornell, Hofstra, Virginia, Nebraska
  • Kent State University Region: Kent State, Oklahoma State, Northern Iowa, Wisconsin
  • Oregon State Region: Oregon State, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Michigan
  • University of Missouri Region: Missouri, Wyoming, Maryland, Purdue
  • Automatic Bid Finalists: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Ohio State.

Ohio State Head Coach Tom Ryan expressed his excitement for and importance of the event.

"Every event on the schedule is important," said Ryan. "The National Duals is one that is written in bold and circled. We want to be the best team in America."

Oregon State Head Coach Jim Zalesky echoed Ryan's excitement for the pending event.

"The National Duals are an exciting time for wrestling," said Zalesky. "Dual meets are different than tournaments.,  There is a lot more strategy involved and I think coaches like that."

Gill Coliseum Wrestling Newman Arena in Bartels Hall at Cornell University will serve as the host site for the Cornell Region, this will be the second year Cornell has hosted this event. Head Coach Rob Koll spoke with great eagerness and enthusiasm for the upcoming regional event and opportunity to act as host.

"Hosting a regional allows us the opportunity to see teams, particularly schools from the Big 10, that we would not otherwise hit," said Koll. "It is not only great for our fans but it is also a fantastic opportunity for our wrestlers to experience championship level competition in February."

The first round of competition for the Cornell Region will begin at 1pm followed by the second round starting at 3pm on February 17. Tickets to the event can be purchased here.

The M.A.C. Center at Kent State University will serve as the host site for the Kent State University Region.

The first round of competition for the Kent State Region will begin at 1pm followed by the second round beginning at 3pm. Tickets to the event can be purchased here.

Gill Coliseum at Oregon State will serve as the host site for the Oregon State Region.

"We got some great teams coming out and it is exciting to just have a regional and to have those teams visiting the west coast," said Head Coach Zalesky. "There are a lot of top ranked wrestlers that fans will get to see in action, in addition to four top teams going in back-to-back duals."

The first round of competition for the Oregon State Region will begin at 1pm followed by the second round beginning at 3pm. Tickets to the event can be purchased here.

The Hearnes Center at the University of Missouri will serve as the host site for the University of Missouri Region.

"Wrestling fans can expect some great team competition," said Head Coach Smith with regards to the University of Missouri Region. "There is a lot of excitement with the four regionals and teams waiting to see who they will wrestle."

The first round of competition for the University of Missouri Region will begin at 10am followed by the second round beginning at 12pm. Tickets to the event can be purchased here.

The University of Minnesota will serve as the host site for the finals event on February 22-23. The first two rounds of competition will be at 6 pm and 8 pm on February 22. The semifinals will occur at 1 pm followed by the finals at 7 pm on February 23.

"The four teams are already set, we know where the finals are going to be, and the crowd is going to be there. It is an exciting time for wrestling," said Missouri Head Coach Smith.

Tickets to the event are on sale now and can be purchased via Minnesota Athletics. For additional pricing, seating and purchasing information, visit the Minnesota Athletics Site.

If fans are unable to attend the events, Fox College Sports will be broadcasting 10 tape delayed duals meets from the event. Those dual meets will also be rebroadcast a minimum of 10 times each allowing for flexibility in viewership.

For more event information, go to the, National Duals page, at nwcaonline.com.

OSU Cowboy Wrestling Targets Big 12 and NCAA Success

October 28th, 2012 by Tom

 STILLWATER"Fielding a lineup led by four All-Americans plus two other veteran starters, the Oklahoma State wrestling team is in its customary position to figure prominently into the Big 12 and national championship races.

"We're going into a collegiate season with the top seven or eight programs from last year," OSU head coach, John Smith, said. "Most everybody is back on every team, and it makes it really competitive. We helped ourselves out a little bit by getting, Tyler Caldwell, and I believe that we'll fill some spots where we were weak last year."

Despite the departure of All-American, Cayle Byers, Big 12 champion, Jamal Parks, and NCAA qualifier, Albert White, from last year's team, the Cowboys enter the 2012-13 season with six wrestlers ranked in the top 15 of their respective weight classes in the preseasonAmateur Wrestling News, weight class rankings.

Junior 174-pounder, Chris Perry, is ranked No. 1 nationally with 165-pounder Caldwell and 285-pounder, Alan Gelogaev, both ranked No. 2 in their respective weight classes., Jordan Oliver, enters the season ranked No. 4 at 149 pounds but will factor into the NCAA title discussion no matter where he wrestles. Rounding out the list of Cowboys appearing in the preseason, AWN, rankings are 197-pounder, Blake Rosholt, (seventh), 125-pounder, Jon Morrison, (15th) and 141-pounder, Josh Kindig, (15th).

The weight classes most likely to show fluidity during the course of the season are 125 pounds and 133 pounds, with Morrison, Ladd Rupp, and, Tyler Dorrell, all in the mix for those two starting spots. Morrison has seen the most meaningful action of the batch, but has yet to assert clear control based on his career body of work. Rupp has been in the Cowboy wrestling room for three years and is a very real candidate to become a starter for the first time in his career. It is probable that Morrison and Rupp will compete for the 133-pound spot while Dorrell sees most of the action at 125 pounds, but it is possible for Morrison and Rupp to see 125-pound action as well.

There could also be some shuffling at 141 and 149 pounds, where, Josh Kindig, and, Jordan Oliver, headline the list of preseason candidates to start.

Oliver's presence is particularly significant because he spent the first four years of his collegiate career cutting weight to get down to 133 pounds, where he was nothing short of dominant. A three-time All-American and two-time national finalist, Oliver won the 2011 NCAA title as a sophomore. Smith said Oliver's weight-class switch is done in part with an eye toward the future.

"It's just a natural move for him," Smith said. "We haven't decided if he'll be at 141 or 149 yet, but for his progression of moving into international wrestling after this season - he sees himself at 145 there - this move would be a good transition for that."

It should come as no surprise that Oliver developed a taste for world-level wrestling given that he spent the summer of 2012 with the U.S. Olympic team as a training partner for bronze medalist Coleman Scott and Jared Frayer.

"That experience that he got during the summer - sometimes you don't see it right away - but as he moves on into the future, it will benefit him greatly," Smith said.

The final weight class where there is some question as to who will start is 157 pounds, where junior, Dallas Bailey, and redshirt freshman, Alex Dieringer, will likely compete for the starting spot with senior, Joe Ali, also an option. While Bailey is an experienced member of the program, he hasn't put together the kind of career résumé that would make him a lock to start over the decorated redshirt freshman Dieringer.

Things get more solidified as you move up in the weight classes and it starts at 165 pounds, where two-time All-American and 2011 NCAA runner-up Caldwell is likely to make an impact from the start. After spending his first two years competing for Oklahoma, Caldwell took an Olympic redshirt year in 2011-12 before transferring to Oklahoma State. He should be a national presence for the Cowboys at a weight class where they haven't had an All-American since, Johny Hendricks, in 2007.

For the first time in his collegiate career, Perry carries the No. 1 ranking nationally in his weight class. The Stillwater native placed third at NCAAs in 2012 and is a two-time Big 12 champion. The two wrestlers who finished ahead of him last season are both out of the mix this year, with NCAA champ Ed Ruth of Penn State moving out of the weight class and Nick Amuchastegui of Stanford out of eligibility.

OSU is likely to start a newcomer at 184 pounds in, Chris Chionuma, who was impressive in the wrestling room and in open tournaments while redshirting last season. Chionuma wrestled the first three years of his career at Lindenwood University, where he was a three-time NAIA All-American, two-time NAIA finalist and 2011 NAIA champion at 174 pounds. Other options at 184 pounds include, Zach White, and, Colton Hill.

After wrestling at a high level last year, Rosholt will start at 197 pounds for the Cowboys. Rosholt was part of an embarrassment-of-riches scenario a year ago, as both he and Byers wrestled at an All-America level throughout the course of the season but only one could compete in the postseason and the nod went to the senior Byers. Rosholt now holds commanding control of the weight class and is positioned for a big year after taking his lumps as a fill-in heavyweight his freshman year and sitting out of the postseason as a sophomore.

One of the most intriguing wrestlers to watch nationally will be Cowboy heavyweight, Alan Gelogaev, who established himself as an NCAA title contender by stringing together a 24-0 record with nine wins over ranked opponents before suffering a season-ending injury last year. He's back this year with a title squarely in his sights. Should he go down, Tyson Yoder, is a capable veteran backup., Austin Marsden, who stepped in for Gelogaev last season, is ticketed to redshirt this year.

"Right now, it's all about developing the weight classes where we struggled last year," Smith said. "It's also really important that we keep everyone healthy. I'm excited for our veterans in the lineup. We have a really good atmosphere in the room and great team unity. There's where great seasons start."

Dr. Charles “Neil” DeWitt inducted into Wrestling Hall of Fame

January 5th, 2012 by Tom

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla., has announced the recent induction of Gila Valley resident Dr. Charles "Neil" DeWitt into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. At a banquet held at Arizona State University on Nov. 6, DeWitt and six other inductees were honored for their lifelong service to the sport of wrestling. The National Wrestling Hall of Fame honors inductees from all levels of amateur wrestling including scholastic, collegiate and Olympic competition.

DeWitt was recognized for his outstanding contributions to the sport of wrestling as a competitor, referee, coach, tournament official, author and administrator, with almost 50 years of contributions to amateur wrestling.

As a competitor, DeWitt was a standout athlete in high school in football, wrestling and track, capturing two Arizona State Heavyweight Championships at Holbrook High School. Although DeWitt attended college on a full scholarship for football, he also competed in wrestling and track at the college level. In 1968, after winning the Arizona State Freestyle Championship, he competed in the USA Olympic trials in the 225-pound weight class. A serious back injury in those trials essentially ended his competitive career. While in college, DeWitt began refereeing high school wrestling, which he continued for a total of nine years, being named the Arizona Wrestling Official of the Year in 1982.

DeWitt began his coaching career at Thatcher High School in 1971, coaching football, wrestling and track for a total of 11 years in various Arizona high schools. He started three different high school wrestling programs at Thatcher High School, Show Low High School and at Pima Junior/Senior High School. He captured multiple Arizona State High School Championship and runner-up titles as a coach, in both football and wrestling. In 1979, DeWitt was selected to serve as the head coach of the USA Olympic Development Wrestling Team, directing their completions in Asia that year.

DeWitt was twice selected to coach the North Wrestling Squad in the Arizona All-Star Games, as well as being selected as the Arizona Coach of the Year in 1976 and 1979. He served as the head coach of several USA All-Star wrestling teams against international teams from throughout the world. In 1998, the Arizona All-Star Games Wrestling Meet was dedicated in his honor for his service to Arizona wrestling. That same year, he was also honored by USA Wrestling magazine as Arizona Man of the Year. He served as the Arizona State Wrestling Tournament director for nine years. DeWitt was inducted into the Arizona Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1996.

During DeWitt's 35-year career in education, he spent 28 years serving as a public school administrator in basically every leadership position, including athletic director, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and district superintendent of schools. Locally, he served as the principal of Pima Junior/Senior High School from 1991 to 1999. He served in numerous state leadership roles as well during his career, most notably as president of the Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Board that governs the high school activity programs at all high schools in Arizona. Notable in his school leadership career, DeWitt was principal of the only high school in the United States that was named as a National Center for Excellence in Education in consecutive years. Also while principal, his high school was named as one of Arizona's A-Plus High Schools.

DeWitt, who holds a doctorate in educational leadership, is the author of many books and CD collections in the field of education, including ones for teachers, coaches, athletic administrators and school administrators. He has authored school safety manuals, curriculum guides and instructional handbooks for students and teachers. His works also include books featuring collections of tips and guides on parenting skills.

Neil DeWitt and his wife, Barbara, who has taught at Dorothy Stinson Elementary School in the Safford School District for a number of years, live in Lone Star on the old Montierth Homestead, which they call home, where Neil, who is now retired from his work in education, plays with his grandkids, gardens and raises pecans.

Former OU wrestler hitting it big in the WWE

October 6th, 2010 by Tom
Jake Hager

When former University of Oklahoma wrestler Jake Hager goes to work, he still has to every now and then sit back to take a breath.

Hager wrestles for World Wrestling Entertainment as one of their superstars, and his character, "Jack Swagger," is one of the top villains on the WWE's television show Smackdown! that comes on every Friday night on the SyFy Network.

"It's so crazy because I grew up watching the same guys I'm in the locker room with now," Hager said. "I grew up idolizing Rey Mysterio, Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Big Show; I mean these guys were on my TV every Monday night."

Hager initially came to OU as a defensive tackle from high school wrestling powerhouse Perry. Hager appeared to be doing well, but hadn't attained the level of success to which he was accustomed.

The former Oklahoma high school wrestling state champion turned his attention back to the mat and decided his best chances for national success would come in collegiate wrestling.

It was a rough transition for a young man, who was suddenly competing for one of the toughest college wrestling programs in the country.

"We wrestle one of the most competitive schedules in the country," said OU wrestling coach Jack Spates. "He was coming in against beasts. He did have a transition because he didn't start until later in college " very difficult for a guy to do that " by the end he was for real. He was tough."

As a heavyweight in 2006, Hager was named an All-American after an impressive seventh-place finish in the NCAA championships and also defeated the eventual heavyweight national champion, Dustin Fox from Northwestern.

It was during this time he was introduced to WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross through former OU defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek, Hager's close friend and college roommate.

Before WWE made the call, though, Hager was trying to find a job during his final semester on campus, but nothing caught his eye.

"I must have went through job interviews for six or seventh months, you know starting in January and that was just a nerve-wracking process," Hager said. "I really wasn't finding any opportunities out there. I found some jobs, but not what I thought were opportunities."

After a nearly six-month process, Hager had finally come to terms with a firm in Dallas.

That's when he got the phone call from Ross.

"I talked to JR and I talked to another guy, Jerry Briscoe, and they kind of set me down and told me about the opportunity I had in front of me with the WWE," Hager said. "They sent me out to Atlanta for a one-week tryout at one of their developmental camps.

"I liked it, they liked me, so we signed a three-year developmental contract and I moved out to Atlanta by July of '06."

During his 2 1/2 year stay at multiple WWE affiliates, Hager worked on making the transition from amateur wrestler to professional wrestling.

He also worked on creating the character Hager portrays today in Swagger.

Hager started living his dream, playing the larger-than-life character Jack Swagger, "The All-American American".

"That's the thing, you know, when you're coming up with a character for the WWE, they want it to be you but amplified. I think Jack Swagger and Jake Hager are very similar."

Most describe the 6'6, 260-pound former All-American wrestler as the laid back, easygoing sort, but when the entrance music hits and the lights go up, it's that amplified version of Hager that goes through the curtain. From that point forward it's all Jack Swagger, the All-American American, the braggadocios villain of the WWE.

Swagger will add on a couple more Americans to his "All-American American" nickname when he is really trying to get the fans riled up, a far departure from the young wrestler that used to walk the campus at OU on his way to a bachelor's degree in business finance in 2006.

"Jacob Hager is a great kid," Spates said. "It's so comical because when you see him on TV, he's, and I don't know if he would be characterized as a villain, but he certainly seems pretty villainous and he's got that stare down " that evil stare. I have to laugh because Jacob Hager is the nicest, sweetest, most wonderful guy you could meet, but he plays a good part."

It's Hager's amateur wrestling skills that have helped catapult him to the top of the heap in the WWE, and Hager is a part of special lineage that has passed through the hallowed wrestling rooms and moved on to the pro ranks.

Names like Danny Hodge, who went undefeated at his time at OU (1955-1957) while amassing a record of 46-0 with 36 pins. Hodge also won the 177-pound NCAA title and pinned all of his NCAA finalist opponents.

Hodge may be arguably the greatest amateur wrestler of all time, according to Ross, and is the only amateur wrestler to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated.

There was also two-sport athlete "Dr. Death" Steve Williams. Williams was an All-American during his time as a football player at OU and also made the finals of the NCAA tournament in wrestling before be beaten by future Olympian Bruce Baumgartner.

Hager has known Hodge most of his life while living in their shared hometown of Perry, and Williams helped train Hager as a pro during his time Ohio Valley Wrestling.

Another former Sooner great, Ed "Wahoo" McDaniel, comes to mind that had a solid career in professional wrestling. McDaniel played football under legendary coach Bud Wilkinson in 1956 and played in the NFL before stepping inside the squared circle.

Ross, who also was Executive Vice President for the WWE and has been involved in pro wrestling since 1974, acknowledges the legacy Hager has to follow.

"He has huge shoes to fill because he's been preceded by so many Oklahomans that have been stars in pro wrestling," Ross said.

However, Hager already has taken a major step towards being remembered among the elite in Oklahoma's history, and the journey started in Oklahoma City during the March 1 edition of WWE's Monday Night Raw telecast.

Jack Swagger took on Santino Marella in a qualifying match for a spot in a match called "Money-in-the-Bank." Swagger squashed Marella in less than 30 seconds in front of his hometown crowd.

Swagger went to the WWE's premiere pay-per-view event, WrestleMania, and won the MITB match in front of over 72,000 people on March 28 in Glendale, Ariz.

Winning the match guaranteed Swagger a shot at WWE's world titles at his discretion. Any time, any place, and Swagger could even take advantage of an injured champion.

Less than two days after Swagger went to a television taping of Smackdown! and cashed in the guaranteed contract, he successfully captured the WWE World Heavyweight Championship by defeating Chris Jericho.

For Hager, it was a great night for more than one reason.

"Man, what a feeling. Like when I came back through the curtain and everybody was on their feet cheering," Hager said. "It happened to be in Las Vegas, so it was the perfect city. After I won it actually, I took my then-girlfriend out at the time and I proposed to her. So I had a world championship in one hand and a ring in another. Luckily, she said yes."

The win came as a big shock to many, including his mentor Ross, as Hager is still considered green in the world of pro wrestling.

"I was proud of him," Ross said. "Because it's a sign of confidence that the company has in an athlete that they feel he is talented and responsible enough to be put in that position. So I was obviously proud for him and happy with him.

"I was surprised and pleasantly so."

Jack Swagger was now carrying the title and wrestling as the main event night in and night out in front of sold-out arenas across the country.

There was nothing sweeter for Hager as the titlist. He eventually dropped the title to one of his heroes, Rey Mysterio, in a fatal four-way match.

"It was a life-long dream to accomplish that," Hager said. "Oh man, that three or four months I held the title was going by really fast, but it was very surreal and I enjoyed every minute of it."

Now, as a former world champion, it's up to Swagger the character and Jake Hager the man to build a legacy.

"You know what? Now is a real interesting time for me," he said. "I have been the world heavyweight champion, but I'm still considered very new.

"You want to leave your mark on this business. Anybody who does this business does it because they love it. I have been wrestling since I was 5 years old, I played football and wrestled at Oklahoma, you do that and it's a lot of hard work because you love it.

"Obviously, I can't be a wrestler for the rest of my life. Your body won't take it, so for the next 10 years I would like to passionately put everything I have into these performances and give it to the WWE universe and to the local that fans I have at OU and around the state of Oklahoma.

"Luckily, Jake Hager went to the great the University of Oklahoma, so he has class. He knows how to win because the Sooners win and they do it with class."

First though for Hager is a trip home to OKC Friday night for a live television production of Smackdown! on the Syfy Network from the Ford Center.

Ross, who is sponsoring the live Smackdown!, hopes students and fans alike turn out to welcome Hager home.

"I know that on that Friday night before the OU-Texas game is a big night for him," Ross said. "Cause I hope that for those who don't trek to Dallas, that they will make the effort to go to the Ford Center to see him perform.

"This is like a home game for Swagger, and the WWE won't be back the rest of this year at least."

The WWE also is offering student tickets for the JRsBarBQ.com presents SmackDown! at the Ford Center for a discounted rate of $10 dollars with a student ID.

Villain or not though, Hager wants to hear the cheers when he comes home Friday.

"Well, hopefully since I am a world champion now, Norman and OU can really welcome home back one of their native sons," Hager said.

-Peter Davis/The Daily

Mark Perry Moves Coaching Ambitions to Cal Poly

July 30th, 2009 by Tom

Mark Perry Jr. spent 45 hours hauling his belongings across the country last month, moving out of his apartment near Penn State's campus, lugging everything back home to Oklahoma and packing up again for the next stop on the journey to his ultimate goal as a wrestling coach.

The trip could have been considerably less time consuming for the former Iowa star had he traded in the U-Haul and hopped on one of the sport's established bandwagons in the Big Ten or Big 12 instead. But the two-time NCAA champion thinks the route he's taking could be the best path to becoming a college head coach.

Perry was officially hired Friday as the top assistant to John Azevedo at Cal Poly.

"I don't think jumping on whoever's bandwagon and trying to shoot for the top right now is going to develop me as a coach as much, "Perry said. "I'd play a role, but just not the same type of role I'll play here."

Perry, 25, had just completed his first year in coaching at Penn State when the Nittany Lions fired coach Troy Sunderland in April and replaced him with Iowa State's Cael Sanderson. Perry turned down a chance to stay at Penn State in a diminished role, saying in April that he wanted an opportunity to recruit, coach from the matside corner and continue his development as a coach.

Azevedo offered Perry those responsibilities plus work with administrators and boosters, the chance to coordinate recruiting and fund raise for the Mustangs, who operate with 6.5 of the NCAA-max 9.9 scholarships.

"I'm really going to have the opportunity to learn every aspect of coaching here, which is going to be a lot harder than most positions and most coaches have to deal with, "Perry said. "But I want to be a head coach, and it's good to get that knowledge. If anything, it's going to develop your work ethic outside of the wrestling room to be successful. There are a lot of things that need to happen outside the wrestling room and outside of time with the athletes to help the program build toward where John and I envision it."

Cal Poly finished sixth in the Pac 10 last season. The Mustangs return one All-American -- Chase Pami, who placed seventh at 157 pounds. The biggest recent splash for the program came in 2008 when Chad Mendes reached the 141-pound NCAA finals. Perry wrapped up his career with the Hawkeyes later that evening with his second national title.

"He's definitely relevant and I think, for recruiting, he's got a big name -- Mark Perry from Iowa is huge for us in recruiting, "Azevedo said. "He's going to be able to bring enthusiasm and belief in the coaching staff and what we're doing.

"I talked to a lot of people about him and everybody had a lot of positive remarks about Mark and his love for wrestling and coaching. Obviously, he has a tremendous pedigree of wrestling. He brings a lot to the table."

Storniolo Joins Northwestern Coaching Staff

July 29th, 2009 by Tom

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Matt Storniolo, a two-time All-American at 149 pounds while wrestling for Oklahoma, is the newest addition to Northwestern's coaching staff, head coach Tim Cysewski announced on Friday. Storniolo has spent the last two seasons as a volunteer assistant at Old Dominion where he trained closely with Ryan Williams, the 2009 NCAA runner-up at 141 pounds.

"Matt was an outstanding college wrestler and we saw in person the influence he had on the wrestlers he coached at Old Dominion, "Cysewski said. "We think his experience, technical skill and passion for the sport will really help our guys, particularly at the middle weights."

"We're really excited to bring in an individual like Matt who has gone deep in the NCAA Championships as a wrestler and a coach, "said associate head coach Andrew Pariano. "He's going to play a huge part in all aspects of our program moving forward."

Storniolo began his college wrestling career at Penn State, reaching the finals of the Big Ten Championships on his way to winning the conference's Freshman of the Year honors. After transferring to Oklahoma, Storniolo reached the Big XII Tournament finals each of the next three years, claiming the league championship as a senior in 2007.

"It is an honor to be welcomed on to the Wildcat coaching staff and I look forward to helping Coach Cysewski and Coach Pariano continue to build this program into one of the nation's elite, "Storniolo said. "I am happy to be back in the Big Ten and excited to work with all of the talented wrestlers that Tim and Drew have assembled. This is a dedicated team and coaching staff and I really feel that the sky is the limit for this program."

A four-time qualifier for the NCAA Championships, Storniolo earned his first All-American honor by placing seventh as a sophomore before improving to a fourth-place finish as a junior. In his senior campaign, he entered the tournament as the second-ranked wrestler in the nation.

Before college, Storniolo wrestled to an undefeated senior year at State College Area High School in Pennsylvania en route to a state championship. He was also named a high school All-American.

Storniolo graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor of science degree in human relations.

Northwestern's season officially gets underway Nov. 7 in the Eastern Michigan Open.

Jared Frayer Leaves Hawkeyes for Wis Badgers

June 21st, 2009 by Tom

Jared Frayer, the Iowa wrestling team's strength and conditioning coach, has accepted a position as an assistant coach at Wisconsin.

Frayer wrestled at Oklahoma, where he was a two-time all-American and an NCAA runner-up in 2002 at 149 pounds, and also has extensive post-collegiate national wrestling experience. He served as Iowa's strength and conditioning coach for the 2008-09 season.

Frayer will join former Hawkeye Barry Davis's staff at Wisconsin.

First assistant Bart Chelesvig left Davis's staff in May, and Donnie Pritzlaff was elevated to the associate head coaching position. Frayer will take over Pritzlaff's position.

"They had offered me the volunteer position about two weeks ago," Frayer said. "It just wasn't right. It was more of a lateral move for me. I enjoyed where I was at at Iowa. But I guess they kind of knew what they wanted and they (made the offer).

"It's a better position. This is what I want to do as a career. It's a position where I can recruit. I'm directly involved with the university. I respect the guys that are there. There are not too many places that I would have gone other than that."

Frayer said that rather than take the volunteer position, which is a paying position but is limited in other respects, he would have stayed at Iowa.

"I wanted to be loyal to the program and there was something I really wanted to do," he said. "I wanted to finish what I started. I didn't feel like we accomplished what we wanted to this year. It's a little selfish but there's a lot of things we left on the table that I think the Hawkeyes are going to accomplish next year that will be pretty special."

Frayer said that being around a program like Iowa's will help him in the future.

"Their expectations are nothing less than the best," he said. "They don't strive to be all-Americans. They strive to be national champions, world champions, Olympic champions. Also the fact that preparation kind of changes your expectations. The way the Iowa program works, preparation is second to none, so you expect second to none.

"It's a place that is unlike any other. It's just been a great opportunity for me to work for Terry and Tom Brands."

Neb-Omaha’s Meneely Named NCAA D2 Wrestler of the Year

April 7th, 2009 by Tom

Mike Kirk

EDMOND, Okla. -- Unbeaten 157-pounder Todd Meneely of Nebraska-Omaha has been selected as the 2008-09 NCAA Division II Wrestler of the Year after winning his third straight national championship this season.

Meneely is the second winner of the award, sponsored by the NCAA Division II Wrestling Coaches' Association and voted on by eight regional representatives from around the country. Nebraska-Kearney heavyweight Tervel Dlagnev took the inaugural award last year.

Each of the four regions nominated a candidate, with Super Region Two nominee Meneely finishing with 28 points to edge out runner-up Cy Wainwright of Newberry and Super Region One by one point. Minnesota State-Mankato's Tommy Abbott was the Super Region Three representative and Arsenia Barksdale of Adams State the Super Region Four nominee.

Meneely, a native of Omaha, went a perfect 27-0 this season with 10 falls, seven major decisions and three technical falls. He was only scored on offensively three times (three takedowns) and won five tournament titles this year.

A three-time regional champion, Meneely captured the Division II national title at 149 pounds in 2007 and '08 before moving up to 157 this season and winning a third consecutive crown March 13-14 in Houston, Texas. He finished with a 85-5 career record in three years with the Mavericks.

Meneely was the driving force behind a UNO team that went undefeated in duals and ran away with the national team championship this season. He was named the Outstanding Wrestler at the NWCA Division II National Duals in January.

A four-time state champion at Skutt Catholic High School in Omaha, Meneely was a Freestyle and Greco Junior National champion in 2002.

Burroughs, Jones Help Nebraska Make History Over OK State

February 7th, 2009 by Tom

University of Nebraska Sports Information

LINCOLN -- Jordan Burroughs and Vince Jones notched major decisions against No. 15 Oklahoma State to help the fourth-ranked Nebraska wrestling team claim a historic 17-16 dual victory over the Cowboys in front of more than 2,800 fans at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Thursday. The win was NU's first home victory over OSU since the 1921-22 season, and gave the Huskers back-to-back dual wins over the Cowboys for the first time ever. Nebraska improved to 14-2-1 overall and 2-0 in the Big 12, while Oklahoma State dropped to 12-6 and 0-3 in the conference.

The contest came down to bonus points, as each team claimed five bouts on the night, and Burroughs and Jones, both natives of Sicklerville, N.J., scraped NU by with their two wins. In one of three matches featuring two wrestlers ranked in the top 10, third-ranked Burroughs used 10 takedowns, including four in the final period, to post a 21-9 major decision over No. 10 Neil Erisman of OSU at 157 pounds. The win was the junior's seventh of the year against top-10 opponents, and kept his perfect season alive at 24-0 and 15-0 in duals.

Jones, ranked 11th in the nation at 184 pounds, used two takedowns in the first two periods to amass an early lead, but posted a six-point third period to earn an 11-2 major decision over Oklahoma State's Cody Hill. Jones posted a takedown with a minute left and quickly cut Hill, looking for the bonus-point win. Hill put up a fight, but Jones scored his final takedown with two seconds left for the nine-point margin. The senior now has a team-leading 25 wins on the season with his 25-6 overall mark, and is 11-4 in duals.

The dual started at 133 pounds, with Oklahoma State picking up decisions at the first two weights. Senior Rob Sanders got NU on the board with a 6-3 decision over Luke Ashmore at 149 pounds. Sanders surrendered an early takedown, but rebounded with a takedown of his own in the first period and escaped easily in the second frame. Ashmore earned an escape in the third period to pull within one, but Sanders sealed the match with a takedown with seven seconds left.

Burroughs posted his major decision to give NU their first lead of the night, as junior Stephen Dwyer and senior Brandon Browne followed with decisions. No. 10 Brandon Mason held sixth-ranked Dwyer scoreless in the first period, but Dwyer earned a reversal 32 seconds into the second period and rode Mason out in the third for a 3-1 victory at 165.

On a night when Browne was honored as a Hometown Husker, the Plattsmouth-native did not disappoint. The senior posted three takedowns against No. 14 Newly McSpadden at 174, before the Cowboy claimed a late takedown to lose 7-5. Browne's 15-2 dual mark ties him for the team lead with Burroughs.

Jones' major decision at 184 put NU up 17-6, but No. 8 Clayton Foster upset second-ranked Craig Brester at 197 with a 5-2 decision and No. 3 Jared Rosholt posted a 2-0 decision over NU's Tucker Lane at heavyweight to pull the Cowboys within five at 17-12. OSU's Obe Blanc needed a technical fall to tie the match or a pin to win, but NU's Andy Pokorny held him to a 12-3 major decision at 125 to give the Huskers the victory.

Nebraska continues its conference schedule with a 2 p.m. dual against No. 14 Oklahoma at McCasland Field House in Norman on Sunday.

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