By Christian Potts
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — It’s the little things that make all the difference in a wrestling match, dual and ultimately a season.
Finding a way to win a match on paper you shouldn’t. Getting a late takedown to turn a fall into a major decision. Scoring a fall and adding up bonus points.
While those little things weren’t the difference in two Oklahoma dual wins Sunday - 36-6 over Hofstra and 38-6 over Bucknell - it’s still important to have that mentality as important days lie ahead on the schedule.
“As a wrestler, you have to focus on your individual match and what you need to do,” said Sooner freshman Danny Chaid, who scored a fall in the nightcap win against Bucknell. “But consciously you also know that you getting those bonus points could be the difference in winning and losing.”
Chaid and sophomore All-American Cody Brewer each scored falls in the Bucknell dual, while senior national champion Andrew Howe added an 18-3 technical fall for the 5th-ranked Sooners.
Chaid has impressed in an 8-2 start to his first season of collegiate wrestling. The San Jose, Calif., native credits the work he’s gotten in the Sooner wrestling room, where he sees a lot of the All-Americans on either side of him in the lineup in Andrew Howe, ranked No. 1 at 174, and Travis Rutt, No. 5 at 197.
“Just being sandwiched between those two guys is so big,” Chaid said. “Iron sharpens iron, and those guys have helped me a lot.”
As usual they were sharp on Sunday. Each scored falls in the Hofstra dual, and Rutt added a final-minute takedown to finish with a 12-3 major decision against Bucknell’s Tyler Lester.
Also enjoying a strong night for the Sooners was junior Justin DeAngelis, who scored a pair of major decisions at 157, 19-8 against Hofstra’s Nick Terick and 17-3 against Bucknell’s Logan Kerin.
Heavyweight Ross Larson added a fall against Hofstra, and while the fate of the dual was long since decided when he wrestled the final match against Bucknell, his heavyweight bout with Joe Stolfi of the Bison might have been the night’s best.
Both entered ranked - Stolfi at No. 13 and Larson at No. 16 - and they put on a good battle, particularly during a wild exchange in the closing seconds of the end of the first period that Larson had mostly dominated.
The Sooner redshirt freshman finished that period up 4-2, led 4-3 after two and extended to an 8-3 edge with a reversal and takedown in the third. But he had to hang on after Stolfi’s late reversal in the final period to move to 6-1 and in the process score his second win of the year against a ranked wrestler.
It’s a good chance for the newcomer to move further up the rankings in his first action after a redshirt year that now is showing benefits.
“It was great to sit out last year, to be able to put on that weight,” said Larson, who wrestled at 195 his senior year in Ankeny, Iowa, but now is wrestling at about 225 as a heavyweight for OU. “And to have All-Americans like Kendric Maple, Andrew Howe in the room, it just lifts everyone’s level.”
The Sooners are off until the end of the month, when they’ll face a busy weekend at the Oklahoma Open Nov. 29-30 in Tulsa and the first edition of Bedlam for this season at Dec. 1 in Norman.
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