Call it déjà vu… or Groundhog Day. Or Bedlam at NCAAs.
In a rematch of the 2014 Big 12 Conference Championships featuring intense cross-state rivals, top-seeded Chris Perry of Oklahoma State shut out No. 2 seed Andrew Howe of Oklahoma, 4-0, to retain the 174-pound title at the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City Saturday night.
At the Big 12 finals two weeks earlier, the second-seeded Perry defeated No. 1 seed Howe, 3-2, in a match that both the Cowboy and Sooner wrestling websites described as “controversial,” thanks to a number of video reviews that led to taken-away takedowns. It was Howe’s first loss of the season. Perry’s only loss of the season? To Howe, at the Dec. 1 regular-season Bedlam Series dual meet. (For fans outside the Sooner State, the Bedlam Series has been a twice-a-season event on the Oklahoma and Oklahoma State wrestling calendars for nearly a century.)
Perry won the 174-pound crown at the 2013 NCAAs, defeating Penn State’s Matt Brown, 2-1, TB1, in the finals to claim his first national title.
To say wrestling runs in Chris Perry’s family is an understatement. His dad, Mark Perry, Sr., was a four-time NCAA All-American for Oklahoma State… while his elder brother Mark, Jr., was a two-time NCAA champ for the University of Iowa. Chris’ uncle is none other than his head coach John Smith, who earned superstar status in college and international competition.
How Perry (30-1 season record) got to the finals: Rd. 1: maj. dec. unseeded Scott Liegel (Wisconsin), 8-0; Rd. 2: maj. dec. unseeded Tony Dallago (Illinois), 11-3; Qtrfinals: dec. No. 9 Elliott Riddick (Lehigh), 4-0. Semifinals: dec. No. 4 Mike Evans (Iowa), 3-2 TB1
How Howe (28-2 season record) got to the finals: Rd. 1: tech fall unseeded Mike England (Missouri), 19-4, 5:59; Rd. 2: maj. dec. No. 15 Billy Curling (Old Dominion), 18-7; Qtrfinals: dec. No. 7 Tyler Wilps (Pitt), 5-2; Semifinals: dec. No. 6 Logan Storley (Minnesota), 6-3.
- 1st Period: No scoring.
- 2nd Period: Perry takes bottom, escapes. No other scoring. 1-0 Perry.
- 3rd Period: Start in the neutral (standing) position. Perry gets a takedown. With riding time, Chris Perry wins the match 4-0, and successfully defends his 174 title.
Quotes from the champ:
- How it feels to be a two-time champ? Great. Kinda still not there yet. You kinda don’t realize it for a second. I really don’t feel like I wrestled Andrew Howe.
- What he wanted to do vs. Howe: I told everyone I was going to set the tone for the match. I told them I would make adjustments from the last time I wrestled him as I did. I hand-fought him a little more last time. This time I knew he thought I was going to not shoot on him, and I wanted to let him know right off the whistle ‘I’m coming for you.’”
- The takedown: I went back and reviewed some tape and watched how Kyle Dake took him down at the Trials. He swam him and digs hands on the hooks and I knew I could swim him. You’re not going to swim him in the first period because he’s pretty intense with his hands. But I felt his hands go soft for one second and felt a swim and I let it go.
- On Howe: I haven’t beaten a guy like Andrew Howe-quality in an NCAA finals or NCAA tournament. That’s the best guy I’ve ever wrestled at NCAAs. Hands down one of the best competitors, counting guys overseas.
2014 NCAA All-Americans – 174 pounds
- Chris Perry (Oklahoma State)
- Andrew Howe (Oklahoma)
- Logan Storley (Minnesota)
- Robert Kokesh (Nebraska)
- Matt Brown (Penn State)
- Michael Evans (Iowa)
- Tyler Wilps (Pittsburgh)
- Bryce Hammond (CSU Bakersfield)
Take a look back: For all College Wrestling Examiner articles on the 2014 NCAAs, click here... and check out Mat Bracketology, College Wrestling Examiner's weight-by-weight analysis of seeded wrestlers, by clicking on the Mat Bracketology link.
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