OSU routs CS Bakersfield
Published: Monday, February 4, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 4, 2013 01:02
Though No. 9 Oregon State was tied for second in the Pac-12 standings with Cal State Bakersfield going into Saturday’s dual at Gill Coliseum, there wasn’t much doubt about which was the better team.
If any doubt existed, it was erased early Saturday night as Oregon State (8-3, 2-1 Pac-12) got out to a 35-0 lead, winning the first eight matches of the dual, before dropping two late matches for a 35-7 final score.
The dominating win over Cal State Bakersfield (7-5, 1-3 Pac-12) was a statement performance for the defending Pac-12 champion.
Considering Oregon State is wrestling the best it has all year approaching the postseason, it looks as though the Beavers are primed for a deep run.
“If we had the last couple of matches go differently it would have been totally complete,” said No. 4 Mike Mangrum, a 141-pound senior. “But we feel good, we look good, we’re wrestling good and we’re ready to go to national duals.”
“We’re coming off of a good road trip in New York [wins over Lehigh and No. 10 Cornell] and I think we’re just using that momentum,” added No. 4 Chad Hanke, a heavyweight senior. “One hundred twenty-five all the way through heavyweight, I really think we’re finding our stride and will be ready for regional and national duals.”
No. 8 Taylor Meeks, a 197-pound sophomore, got Oregon State out to a hot start with a pin in the first 52 seconds of the match. The early fall proved to be a tone-setter for the rest of the dual.
“I think it fired us up and got the crowd fired up,” Meeks said. “It was a good way to start the meet, putting points on the board and getting everyone excited.”
Mangrum provided the Gill Coliseum crowd with more to cheer about in the 141-pound matchup with Cal State Bakersfield’s Timmy Box.
It looked as though an aggressive Box had Mangrum pinned early, but Mangrum showed why he’s ranked No. 4 in the nation, getting a reversal and pin in 1:58 to put OSU up 22-0.
“[Mangrum] got hit with a move he wasn’t ready for early and got caught on his back,” said head coach Jim Zalesky. “But he came back, got a takedown to get back in the match and then got a pin, so that was good for us.”
“Being up in the rankings, kids are always gunning for you, so that was one of the guys that was gunning for me,” Mangrum added. “He’s in our conference and I’m sure that he wants the higher seed. It’s good to see guys wrestle me so aggressive.”
Oregon State also got a lift from No. 18 Ty Vinson, a 184-pound senior, who returned to the lineup for the first time since injuring his hamstring on Dec. 29. Though Vinson lost by a 6-4 decision, getting the team captain back could be pivotal entering regional and national duals.
“It’s good to get him back,” Zalesky said. “He’s not where he needs to be, but hopefully next week and the week after he keeps looking better and better.”
Oregon State has two home duals next Friday and Saturday before hosting regional duals two weeks later. Riding a seven-dual winning streak, the Beavers hope to close out the regular season on a winning streak before the postseason begins.
“We’re just trying to finalize our weights now and figure out who we want to wrestle in what spots,” Meeks said. “I think we’ll figure that out next weekend.”
With so little time remaining before regional and national duals, and the Pac-12 Championships after that, it’s gut-check time for the Beavers.
“I think we’re starting to find out just how good we are,” Hanke said. “We’re at that point now where we need to decide if we want to be just a normal team or if we want to be a great team. And I think we’re going to turn that corner.”
Andrew Kilstrom, sports reporter