Saturday, November 13/2 p.m. CT / Morgantown, W.Va. / WVU Coliseum
NORMAN – The Oklahoma wrestling will be in its first game of the season on Saturday when it faces West Virginia in Morgantown at 1 p.m. CT. It will also be the first conference action for the reigning Big 12 champions.
The duel will air on Big 12 Now on ESPN +.
Oklahoma sent 16 wrestlers to the Michigan State Open last weekend and came home with three titles from six finalists for a 38-23 record in their first regular-season tournament in two seasons. Newcomer Joey prata, Senior Tony madrigal, and senior redshirt Jake woodley all brought back season opener gear after winning their weight class. It was Woodley’s second career title at the Michigan State Open.
Senior Mitch mooresenior red shirt Antoine Mantanona, and redshirt in second year Josh heindselman all also reached the last game of their group, winning second place. Junior Darrien roberts fought in the consolation bracket at 184 pounds to take third place.
West Virginia traveled to the Clarion Open last weekend, where they took second place as a team, falling to eight points behind the Navy for the tag team title.
165-pound No. 14/16 star Peyton Hall won the title in his weight class, while eight other climbers finished in the top six of their respective segments. Hall was an NCAA qualifier last season.
WVU is led by head coach Tim Flynn, who is between 15 and 29 years of age at the helm of the mountaineers program. He is entering his fourth season on the heels of the program’s first winning season since 2013-14.
Saturday’s duel marks the 12th meeting between the two programs, which first met in 2003. Oklahoma leads the all-time series 9-2.
Our last duel against the mountaineers
The Sooners last faced West Virginia on Jan. 17, 2021 in Morgantown, W.Va., and came away with a 21-9 win in what was their first Big 12 action of the season.
Oklahoma started the duel on a five-game winning streak with Tony madrigal, Dom demas, Mitch moore and Justin thomas all pickup decisions win to put the Sooners in the driver’s seat. Antoine Mantanona won the most lopsided victory of the day, claiming a 13-7 decision over West Virginia’s Scott Joll. The two could face off again this year.
For Oklahoma Head Coach Lou rosselli and West Virginia head coach Tim Flynn, Saturday’s duel is personal. Flynn was an assistant coach at Edinboro for Rosselli’s last two years as a wrestler for the Fighting Scots. Rosselli then spent 11 years as an assistant in his alma mater, working under Flynn, who was Edinburgh’s head coach from 1997 to 2018.
Saturday will be the fourth time the duo face off as head coach, with Rosselli having a 3-0 advantage over his former mentor. Both men were inducted into the Edinboro Athletics Hall of Fame.
Rosselli’s side all return except one of their starters from last season in 2021-22. The OU’s planned lineup includes seven NCAA playoffs from a season ago, three All-Americans and a two-time Big 12 champion at Demas.
Sixth year senior Justin thomas leads a team loaded with years of elite experience. All expected entrants except one are upper class students.
The Sooners also added a Virginia Tech transfer for the second straight season. Senior red shirt Joey prata joins Hokie’s former teammate Mitch moore on this year’s Sooner squad and will start in place of the 125-pounder. Oklahoma also added Joe grello by Rutgers and Keegan Moore from northern Iowa.
The future is bright
Despite Sooners’ team loaded with experience for the 2021-22 season, the head coach Lou rosselli set the program up for future success after compiling four Top 15 recruiting classes during his six years at Norman.
The Sooners have landed 11 Top 100 rookies since Rosselli took over, including 2022 signers Joey Cruz (# 13-120), Christian Forbes (# 3-106) and John Wiley (# 9-160).
In 2021, the inked signatories of Rosselli Tate Picklo (# 1 to 195) and Alejandro Herrera-Rondon (# 4 to 145). Herrera-Rondon won the title in the 157-pound freshman / sophomore division of the Michigan State Open.
Dom demas traveled to Belgrade, Serbia, on November 4 to represent the United States at the U-23 World Championships. He reserved his place in the team by winning the UWW U23 65kg category at the U23 Nationals in May.
It was the fifth time he was part of the World Age Group team, twice being a part of the World Cadet Team (2014, 2015), the Greco-Roman World Junior Team (2017) and of the World Junior Freestyle Team (2018). In Serbia, Demas was beaten by Azerbaijani Ziraddin Bayramov by a 6-2 decision.