It has been awhile, but we are still looking ahead to next season. Now we look at Oklahoma State who placed seventh at the 2015 NCAA Wrestling tournament. Oklahoma State returns the second most points next season (65). With the bulk of their roster returning and some key wrestlers coming off redshirt the Cowboys need to be considered a serious threat in 2016.
The Cowboys scored 59 points this past year and return four All-Americans.
All four All-Americans for the Comboy’s return as does the majority of their line-up. At 125 pounds three-time NCAA qualifier and All-American Eddie Klimara returns. Klimara was 24-7 on the season and looked solid most the season. He was an AA this year but when you look at his matches he did not earn any top five type of wins. He also dropped a match to Zeke Moisey (West Virginia) whom he beat for the Big 12 title. Each season he has moved forward so we have to believe he will do the same again next year. True freshman Gary Wayne Harding (133) was a nice surprise for Oklahoma State posting 30 wins a solid 3-2 record at his first national tournament. Look for him to add some size next year which should make him all that much better. Another young wrestler stepped up in redshirt freshman Dean Heil (141). In his first year he 27-10 and placed fourth in the country. During the regular season he had some struggles against ranked opponents, but he stepped things up in March and that should prove to be valuable experience for him heading into 2016.
There is a reasonable chance that we see Anthony Collica (149/157) slide back down to 149 pounds after spending a productive season up at 157. Collica went 26-11 and had a 3-2 record at the national tournament. A move down should benefit him and make him a real threat at the weight. There will most likely be a new face at 157 pounds in either Chance Marstellar or Ryan Blees. Both were blue chip recruits coming out of high school and both have had success at each age group they have competed. Marstellar went 14-4 during his redshirt season and did earn several wins over ranked opponents along the way. Blees posted 22 wins as a redshirt competing at both 157 and 165 pounds. Based on wins against ranked opponents last season we lean Marstellar, but we also would not be surprised to see Blees crack the line-up. Either way the Cowboys are in good hands at this weight.
Two-time NCAA champions Alex Dieringer (165) returns in 2016. Some believed that he was maybe the best wrestling in the country this year at any weight. He is fun to watch and wrestles with an intensity that cannot be coached. He will be an odds on favorite to capture his third straight title in 2016. Kyle Crutchmer (174) put together a strong sophomore campaign earning All-American honors after placing fifth at the national tournament. Crutchmer showed improved as the season went on and that should be good news for the Oklahoma State staff. If he continues down that path he will considered a possible finalist next spring with the top guys graduating. Sophomore Nolan Boyd (184) used his different style to put up 26 wins on the year and 1-2 record at the NCAA tournament. This season Boyd showed promise and with a step in the right direction he should be in contention to make the podium next spring.
At 197 pounds it is a bit unknown what will happen here. Last year Austin Schafer saw the bulk of the action only going 10-8. Preston Weigel will be fighting for a spot and could be an interesting choice. The guy can ride and tilt making him dangerous with his ability to rack up points in a hurry. Rounding out the possible line-up for Oklahoma State next year is Austin Marsden (285). Marsden only had four losses all season in 2015 and will be considered a contender for a national title despite failing to make the stand this year.
We already spoke about Marstellar and Blees, both of which can help the Cowboy’s, who ends up starting and where is another question. Weigel also comes of redshirt and should push for a starting spot early. Jonce Blaylock (141) went 26-7 last year. Mike Magaldo (133) and Chandler Rogers both had excellent redshirt campaigns as well.
The Cowboy’s return a strong deep team in 2016. There is no reason to not think that they will not be in the title hunt. They have the chance to actually be better with some of their guys coming off redshirt and remember Marsden should dramatically improve his points from nationals (3). Some other teams may take the headlines early, but I would not count these guys out.
Possible 2016 Line-up
125: Eddie Klimara
133: Gary Wayne Harding
141: Dean Heil
149: Anthony Collica
157: Chance Marstellar/Ryan Blees
165: Alex Diereinger
174: Kyle Crutchmer
184: Nolan Boyd
197: Austin Schafer/Preston Weigel
285: Anthony Marsden