In a time without any new or recent results, we are continually forced to look back in time. That’s not a bad thing, as I love to review old results and make hypothetical “Best of” teams that have been prevalent throughout the sporting world over the last month and a half. For the next couple of weeks, we’ll be looking at the best teams of the 2000s (2000-2020) conference-by-conference.
The ground rules for this exercise are as follows: Wrestlers must have competed for at least one year between 2000-20 to be eligible. Wrestlers are judged by which conference their school was affiliated with at the time they were competing. For instance, in the ACC, wrestlers from Pitt that never wrestled in the ACC will be considered for the EWL. Maryland left the conference before the 2014-15 season, so many of their wrestlers that competed before then will be considered for the ACC. Generally, wrestlers that had a longer resume trumped those with only one big year; however, there are a couple of exceptions, especially when NCAA finals are involved. Also, wrestlers that competed at multiple weight classes were only eligible once.
Today we are focusing on the Big 12. For a large portion of this time, the conference was the smallest in the nation, with only five teams. Since then, the conference has undergone a transformation. Gone are Nebraska and Missouri and in are a host of teams from the old West Region or Western Wrestling Conference. Even with increased numbers, team-wise, the bulk of this team is comprised of wrestlers from the mid-2000s when Oklahoma State was winning multiple team titles and Iowa State and Oklahoma were routinely contending for team trophies. Out of all of the conferences we’ve covered thus far, this one has the most star power, by far. Only one of the ten weight classes features a wrestler that was “only” a one-time national champion. Also, five wrestlers captured more than one national title, yet are not on the first team.
Here are the Big 12’s 2000’s (2000-2020) first, second, and third teams:
125 - Coleman Scott (Oklahoma State)
Coleman Scott spent his first two years in Stillwater competing at 125 lbs for the Cowboys. Scott was pulled from redshirt halfway through the 2004-05 season and got onto the NCAA podium, taking eighth. He was part of an OSU team that lapped the field in capturing the NCAA title later that season. That year, Coleman knocked off an undefeated Sam Hazewinkel to win the first of his two Big 12 titles. Coleman had another in 2007 after he moved up to 133 lbs and made the finals for the first time. With his last chance at a title hanging in the balance in 2008, Scott wasted no time and pinned Joey Slaton in under :50 seconds after grabbing a cradle while the Hawkeye was fighting off a takedown attempt. That moment and Scott’s ensuing celebration remain one of the most memorable moments of the last 20 NCAA finals. Coleman finished his career with a 117-24 record and was at the time, the 12th Cowboy wrestler to All-American four-times.
Second Team - Jason Powell (Nebraska) 3x All-American (5th, 3rd, 1st), 2001 Big 12 Champion
Third Team - Sam Hazewinkel (Oklahoma) 4x All-American (3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd), 3x Big 12 Champion
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