By Christian Potts
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — While the competition level will keep getting tougher, the No. 4 ranked Oklahoma wrestling team sure looked the part of a national contender Tuesday night, overwhelming Oklahoma City University 50-0 in their on-campus home opener at McCasland Field House.
And a season removed from a perfect record and a national championship, Kendric Maple’s star still is shining bright for the Sooners, even if he won’t be going undefeated this season.
Maple wrestled in one of the feature matches at the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic in Virginia Saturday, facing a fellow defending national champion in Ohio State’s Logan Steiber.
They battled back and forth and into overtime before Steiber claimed a 6-4 victory in the classic’s 149-pound bout.
“He got me early, surprised me with a takedown, then I got a takedown in the second (period) and we ended up in overtime,” said Maple, who is adjusting to a move up from 141 to 149 this season. “And shapewise, I just wasn’t where I want to be yet, and he got me.”
Tuesday was a different story, as Maple rolled to an 18-6 triumph over OCU’s Ricky McCarty to start what he hopes is another long winning streak.
“I had a coach tell me, for every loss, you’re just closer to your next victory,” Maple said. “The last time I had lost was my sophomore year, and then I was able to go undefeated. So hopefully I’m getting started on another run.”
That also applies to his Sooner team, for whom Tuesday’s dual was never in doubt, as the Sooners scored bonus points in all but one match, including falls from Nick Lester at 141, Justin DeAngelis at 157, Travis Rutt at 197 and Ross Larson at heavyweight.
Jarrod Patterson and Cody Brewer scored back-to-back technical falls to start the night, and Derek Geiges added a third at 174.
The Stars will see better days wrestling in Division II, but on this night they managed only one takedown and had only three wrestlers make it the seven-minute duration of their matches.
Sooner senior transfer Andrew Howe made his debut in front of the home fans. Howe was a national champion in 2010 while wrestling for the University of Wisconsin and is coming back from a knee injury sustained at the 2012 Olympic trials.
Coach Mark Cody bumped Howe up a weight class to 184 Tuesday, and he was in total control, taking care of OCU freshman and Moore High product Derek Sivertsen, 22-8.
Howe also wrestled at the NWCA event, defeating reigning Big 10 champion Matt Brown of Penn State, 4-3. Patterson competed in the All-Star event as well, falling 6-1 in overtime to Cornell’s Nahshon Garrett.
Maple said the early-season experience at that event will provide good momentum forward for himself and his teammates.
“It was definitely an honor to be selected, and it gave me a chance to find my strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “Now I’ve got all year to keep improving.”
As, too, does his team.
The Sooners are 2-0 in dual action after a win over the weekend against Shorter University at Southmoore High School. OU is back in action Saturday at the Brockport Classic in Brockport, N.Y., and return to Norman Nov. 17 for duals against Hofstra and Bucknell.
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