We’re inching closer to the start of the Oklahoma State’s wrestling season and — with a few graduations, some incoming blue-chip talent and a few weight changes — there are some weights and starting jobs that will be challenged this season.
Here are three weight classes that will be a battle to determine the starter for this season.
This was a tough one to watch for Oklahoma State fans last season. Many had high expectations for Kaid Brock before an injury in practice ended his season and ultimately his career. Then he was replaced by Dusty Hone, who ended up suffering a season-ending injury himself.
Dusty, who was the starter for part of last season and the entire season in 2019-20, opted to come back for his final year of eligibility and is a strong candidate for the job here. Dusty was really solid in that 2019-20 season, qualified for the NCAA tournament (before it was canceled due to COVID-19), and his maturity makes him a strong candidate to hold down the spot for his final season.
Carter Young came into the Cowboys’ lap late. A graduate from Stillwater High School, many hoped Carter would wind up in orange. He originally committed to Northwestern, but late in the game flipped to Oklahoma State. Young was a big-time recruit while still in high school, but put the whole country on notice when he took out two former NCAA champions at the Senior World Team trials this summer.
To the shock of many who felt Travis Mastrogiovanni would come in around the 157-pound range, Mastrogiovanni came in much lighter and is certified at 141. Like Young, he is a big-time recruit with a very high ceiling and could compete for the 141-pound job immediately.
Ultimately, I think for either of these freshmen to not use a redshirt and take the job from Hone, they’ll have to show that they’re clearly better. If they’re splitting ranking matches or finishing around the same at open tournaments, it makes the most sense to go with the senior, but if one emerges as comfortably better, they could take the job and forego a redshirt.
Teague Travis and transfer Andrew Bloemhof are two others who could find themselves in the mix here as well.
You don’t have to go far to find the next open weight. After the graduation of Boo Lewallen, Oklahoma State will need to fill the 149 spot.
Kaden Gfeller has started at this weight class in previous seasons and even won a Big 12 title but has been a little quiet the last few years. Oklahoma State landed a huge transfer in the offseason with Austin Boone from Penn State, and Victor Voinovich and Brevin Balmeceda are both others that should contend.
The buzz out of the room indicates that Voinovich has been very impressive since he arrived on campus and has even made a bit of a leap since starting to work out and practice with the team.
This is one where I really think you could see any of these four finding a way to win the starting job.
Austin Harris returns after a blood-round finish last season at the NCAA tournament and is certainly the leader in the clubhouse to win this job. But there are two young freshmen that are going to fight for this spot, as well.
Luke Surber has been bulking this summer and is now up into the 230-pound range. Surber is super talented and, with that added size, may be able to handle the heavyweight spot.
Konner Doucet is the biggest of the three and had some really tight battles with Harris last season. That extra year of maturity and adjustment to college wrestling could change the game a bit for him and put him over Harris.
Harris still has to be the one to knock off for the job but these two younger guys could undoubtedly inject themselves into the conversation and potentially win the spot here.
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