With a quick move, Minnesota heavyweight Cole Konrad finished off Oklahoma State’s Steve Mocco and sealed off the evening with a two-point reversal.
No. 2 Konrad’s 4-1 win over No. 1 Mocco was the Gophers senior’s first career victory over the archrival who beat him 3-1 in sudden-victory overtime in last year’s NCAA Championships finals.
A 5-3 win for No. 4 Matt Nagel over defending 165-pound NCAA Champion and top-ranked Johnny Hendricks of Oklahoma State, and the term “two-point reversal” was very fitting for Monday night’s National Wrestling Coaches’ Association All-Star Classic in Stillwater, Okla.
“It feels really good, very exciting,” Konrad said “It was really actually more of a relief than anything. It felt good to get past that little hump.”
Konrad lost to Mocco three times last season and Nagel lost twice to Hendricks. Before reversing the tide at the Classic, neither had ever beaten their respective opponents before.
So Monday’s upsets were more than just victories ” they were sweet reversal redemption.
“Our team was all together tonight at the football film room watching it on the Internet, live,” Konrad said. “Its huge for our team and a lot of teams around the Big Ten ” letting us know that (Oklahoma State is) beatable. They’re not untouchable like everyone was saying they are.”
Minnesota had one more wrestler in Monday’s Classic. But No. 3 Mack Reiter lost his 133-pound match 6-3 to Cal Poly’s fifth-ranked Darrell Vasquez.
Nagel’s victory was the most dramatic. Tied 3-3 with only four seconds remaining in the second sudden-victory overtime period and only his toes remaining in bounds, Nagel earned the decisive takedown points by pulling Hendricks’ leg back in bounds for the victory ” then pumped his fists in celebration.
Konrad and Mocco were tied 1-1 going into the first tiebreaker overtime period. Mocco was nailed with a locked hands call, then moments later Konrad whipped the defending national champion around with a two-point reversal for the victory.
“He started to cut me there because I was up by a point,” Konrad said. “And I was down underneath, so he needed to get me on my feet so he could take me down. He didn’t really let me go, then when he dove in, I just did a basic go-behind, got him in a front-head, used my head to block him off there at the arm and just ran around behind.”
The All-Star Classic attempts to pit the top two wrestlers in the country at each weight class against each other.
Minnesota’s next competition is the Northeast Duals in Albany, N.Y. The event lasts much of Saturday.