OSU wrestling hosts Oklahoma, Air Force at Gill

Wrestling vs Northern Colorado

Danny Rice, Sports Reporter

Oregon State face No. 7 Oklahoma Thursday, followed by Air Force on Sunday

In the Super Bowl on Sunday, the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10, largely because of the Broncos’ stout defense. They pressured Carolina’s offense all game and the saying “defense wins championships” was once again proven true.

Head Coach Jim Zalesky finds a lot of similarities between the Super Bowl and his team’s dual meets this weekend.

“What I pointed out to our guys was that what won the Super Bowl was defense—good, solid defense,” Zalesky said. “It’s no different in wrestling. You have to do the basics great in order to win the tough matches.”

The Beavers (8-6, 2-2 Pac-12) will have to do the basics great Thursday when they host No. 7 Oklahoma at 7 p.m. Oklahoma will be the highest ranked opponent the Beavers have faced all year.

Oregon State concludes the weekend on Sunday in Corvallis where they welcome Air Force at 5 p.m.

Rodriguez Surging

In what has been an up-and-down year for redshirt sophomore 157-pounder Abraham Rodriguez—with a stretch that included seven straight losses—Rodriguez defeated the number one ranked wrestler in the Pac-12 in the 157 pound weight class and finished 3-0 in last weekends duals.

“He has really picked up his effort,” Zalesky said. “He’s picked up his effort for awhile now, but I think now he’s seeing the dividends and now he’s not losing the close matches—he’s winning them.”

Rodriguez will have the opportunity this weekend to tie his longest wining streak of the season at five.

Thomas Back in Lineup

After losing a close match to Stanford’s No. 18 redshirt junior 165-pounder Jim Wilson on Thursday, senior Seth Thomas had to miss the remaining two duals of the weekend due to medical school interviews.

“I thought it went well,” Thomas said of his interviews. “I won’t hear back for a few weeks though.”

Fortunately for the Beavers, Thomas doesn’t have any medical school obligations this weekend and will return to the lineup.

Giant Killers

While the Beavers are 5-15 all-time against the Sooners (9-4, 4-2 Big-12), Oregon State traveled to Oklahoma last year and upset the Sooners 20-17.

Oklahoma has a plethora of elite wrestlers—headlined by defending NCAA champion redshirt senior 133-pounder Cody Brewer. Brewer is currently ranked fourth in the latest Intermat rankings.

One intriguing matchup includes a top-ten matchup between No. 7 sophomore 125-pounder Ronnie Bresser and No. 8 sophomore Ryan Millhof. Bresser came out on top last year as he defeated Millhof 6-1.  Millhof is one of the hottest wrestlers in the country as he earned his fifth win over a ranked opponent in his last six outings last weekend against Oklahoma State.

“I have to push the pace and be on him the whole time,” Bresser said. “They are coming into our house and I have to set the tone.”

Another ranked matchup will occur at heavyweight between No. 10 redshirt sophomore Amarveer Dhesi and No. 15 redshirt junior Ross Larson. The last time these two squared off came in 2014 when Dhesi won 6-2.

The 165-pound match will feature a rubber match between Thomas and No. 13 redshirt junior Clark Glass. These two went 2-2 against each other last year, but Thomas looks at Glass as just another opponent.

“For me and for everyone, it should just be another match,” Thomas said. “Oklahoma is a good team but we should bring it every time we step on the mat.”

“We have to keep our effort at a high level,” Zalesky said of the key to victory. “There are a lot of crucial matches, but we have to stay consistent in order to win.”

Air Force Flies Into Town

The Beavers will play host to Air Force (5-5, 0-3 Big-12) in Corvallis on Sunday where they are 7-0 all-time against the Falcons.

Common opponents between the two schools include Wyoming and Stanford where Air Force dropped both bouts 16-22 and 16-23, respectively. The Beavers won both bouts 32-7 and 21-13, respectively.

Zalesky made it clear to his team not to sleep on Air Force come Sunday.

“We’ve proven we’re a team that can’t just show up and win,” Zalesky said. “We need to be ready to wrestle.”

Redshirt junior 133-pounder Joey Palmer will conclude his tough weekend with a revenge match against senior Josh Martinez. Palmer fell to Martinez 9-6 at the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas earlier in the year.

“We know they are going to battle,” Bresser said. “But we are at home again so we have to use the crowd to our advantage.”

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