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January 21, 2013

Graham gives Sooners mat example to follow

NORMAN — Oklahoma pinned down West Virginia 25-14 Sunday afternoon at McCasland Field House and it was good for the Sooners to respond with a victory following Friday night’s disappointing loss at Northern Iowa.

So, there’s that.

Also, there’s the fact the Sooners have only three regular season duals remaining, and none of them at home, to get ready for their three most important dates of the season: the National Duals, the Big 12 Championships and the NCAA Championships.

Or, maybe, put another way, time is short to get the entirety of the Sooner roster to take a page out of Bubby Graham’s book.

“There’s an urgency to him,” said OU wrestling coach Mark Cody of OU’s fourth-ranked 165-pounder, “and that’s what we want to get through to the rest of the team.”

Graham was good Friday when many of his teammates struggled, topping UNI’s Jarrett Jensin 9-4, and he was better Sunday, topping Dominic Prezzia 14-3.

Kenny Mossman, who used to run OU’s athletic media relations office before being moved up to senior associate athletic director, has a nickname for Graham.

“The Price of Admission,” Mossman said.

That’s because what distinguishes Graham is his motor. It’s always running and it’s always running hot. Typically, he’s the most active Sooner on the mat.

“It’s fun to wrestle hard,” he said. “It’s fun to come off the mat exhausted.”

An NCAA qualifier last season, Graham did not place. But in his fifth year under Cody’s tutelage — Graham moved to Norman from American University when Cody moved to Norman from American University — he is 16-2 in his final collegiate season after delivering on Senior Day against the Mountaineers.

“It’s only been two years (at OU),” said Graham, a Maryland native, “but it feels like it could have been my whole career … It’s been an amazing experience. Even being in Oklahoma itself. It’s got great people.”

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