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March 23, 2014

Bedlam grudge match goes to Cowboys’ Perry

Sooners leave NCAA tourney with three All-Americans

OKLAHOMA CITY — Andrew Howe wanted one more shot. The Oklahoma senior endured multiple surgeries to earn another chance to win a national championship.

Howe got his shot Saturday in his own backyard when he faced Oklahoma State’s Chris Perry for the 174-pound title at the NCAA Wrestling Championships. Unfortunately for Howe, it didn’t go as planned as he fell 3-0 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

“It’s not what I came here to do,” Howe said. “It was a tough one.”

Perry took home his second consecutive national championship. But this one meant more because of who it came against.

“I haven’t beat a guy like an Andrew Howe-quality in an NCAA Finals or an NCAA Tournament,” Perry said. “That’s the best guy I’ve ever wrestled in an NCAA Tournament. Hands down, one of the best competitors I’ve ever competed against, counting even guys overseas. He’s a tough dude, man. I have so much respect for Andrew, and maybe we’ll meet again one day or we can train together some day for the Olympics or something.”

This was the third meeting of the season between Perry and Howe. Each had handed the other their only loss on their record.

Because the two know each other so well, the first period was a wash. They circled the mat for three minutes without making a move.

Perry scored the first point when he got an escape to start the second period. After he got a warning for stalling, he took Howe down and led 3-0.

Howe, a native of Cedar Lake, Ind., was unable to get an escape and trailed heading into final two minutes.

“I needed to get an escape that period,” Howe said. “Needed to get some more offense on my feet. Just didn’t happen.”

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