The Norman Transcript

Sports

December 7, 2012

Sooners surrounded by Cowboys

NORMAN — No. 10 Oklahoma is on the mat against Wyoming tonight in Arkansas City, Kan. The Laramie Cowboys (1-1) are no joke. Ranked No. 20, their lone dual loss was a narrow 22-15 decision against ninth-ranked Nebraska.

But it is another group of Cowboys that really has the Sooners’ attention this weekend. After returning from Kansas tonight, OU will have one day off before hosting Stillwater’s Cowboys.

No. 2 Oklahoma State (2-0) will enter Howard McCasland Field House at 2 p.m. Sunday. Strangely, the Pokes will walk in also having just met Wyoming, which is at Stillwater on Saturday, a day after facing OU (4-1) today.

While that may be strange, Bedlam shouldn’t be. It should be what it always is.

“It’s hyped up, the rivalry’s crazy, the fans are crazy,” 141-pound Sooner Kendric Maple said. “The environment gives us a glimpse of what nationals are like. Everybody’s screaming, the stakes are high, it’s just a great environment to wrestle in.”

Maple may also hold the distinction of being the only prohibitive favorite on the Sooner side once Sunday rolls around. Ranked No. 1 much of last season, he’s 7-0 and ranked No. 1 in this one. His closest bout to date has been a 4-0 decision over Hofstra’s Luke Vaith. Maple has secured bonus points in the other six.

For OU coach Mark Cody, what happens in Arkansas City and how the Sooners handle it will have plenty to do with what happens Sunday against the Pokes.

First, he said, OU must stay on its nutrition program in the day between matches, because cutting weight at the last hour is a great way to bring nothing to the mat. Next, Cody looks forward to a lineup that includes five freshmen — Kyle Garcia (125), Cody Brewer (133), Matthew Reed (174), Greg Wilson (184) and Brad Johnson (197) — using one dual to propel toward the next one.

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