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Oklahoma City Expected to Challenge for NAIA Title

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Oklahoma City Expected to Challenge for NAIA Title

Postby Allen Brown » Sat Oct 31, 2015 11:05 am


Stars expect to challenge for NAIA wrestling title
Eight OCU wrestlers make preseason individual rankings

Oklahoma City University enters the 2015-16 season as a bona fide contender for the NAIA wrestling championship.

The Stars boast of their highest ranking ever as well as three top-ranked individuals in the preseason. Second-ranked OCU brings seven wrestlers with national-tournament experience, four returning all-Americans and the defending national champion at 165 pounds into the season.

Oklahoma City tests itself for the first time 9 a.m. Sunday in the Oklahoma City Open at Abe Lemons Arena. Follow the tournament via live results.

Last season, the Stars had their highest NAIA Championships finish at fifth and tied for their most all-Americans with five. OCU went 8-5 in duals.

"We have a shot to win it, we think," OCU coach Archie Randall said. "The kids think they have a shot to win it, and that's important."

Ricky McCarty, Derek Sivertsen and Zach Skates open the season as No. 1-ranked individuals at their respective weights. McCarty highlighted the Stars' national-tournament performance by capturing the 165-pound national title to cap a 35-11 season. McCarty, a junior from Lawton, Okla., takes aim at a repeat national crown. Randall expects McCarty to take advantage of the new four-point near fall.

"He feels confident he can win again," Randall said. "He attacks at all positions. He's explosive. He turns people. He can dominate."

Sivertsen, a junior from Moore, Okla., took fifth in the NAIA Championships at 184 to earn his first all-American nod.

"He's legit," Randall said. "He should have been in the finals. His goal is to be a national champion."

Skates, a senior from Broken Arrow, Okla., will aim to become OCU's first four-time all-American. Skates, who has a 121-31 career record, became the second three-time all-American in OCU history when he snagged fifth at 157 in March.

"His goal this year is to be the national champion," said Randall. "We think he'll make it."

Eight Stars were included in the preseason individual ratings. Here's more about them and the rest of the team:

125 pounds

Alvie Killingsworth returns to the active roster after redshirting last season. Killingsworth, a senior from Vian, Okla., has 38 career wins and the early nod at a competitive weight.
Adrian Gaines comes off an all-American performance at 133 pounds. Gaines, a junior from Lawton, Okla., will sit out the first semester, but attempt to show his form in the spring.
Coulton Parker, a sophomore from Piedmont, Okla., has improved over the off-season and figures to see mat time during the season. Thomas Miller, a freshman from Oklahoma City, brings a desire to wrestle.


Parker Bohannan earned a trip to the NAIA Championships at 141 as a freshman last season. Bohannan, a sophomore from Yukon, Okla., has the No. 5 spot in the individual rankings at 133.
Matt Landgraff, a freshman from Weeki Wachee, Fla., was a two-time state finalist in high school.


Travon Smith took advantage of redshirting last season to increase his strength. Smith, a senior from Shreveport, La., owns the edge in experience at 141.
Lino Gomez, a junior from El Paso, Texas, is a threat to land mat time at this weight. "He could knock everybody off," Randall said of Gomez.
Michael Stamp, a senior from Norman, Okla., has displayed a strong work ethic. James Landoll, a junior from Marysville, Kan., is slated to sit out this season to grow his skills.


Brok Williams, a sophomore from Lawton, Okla., saw valuable experience as a freshman and will be challenged by newcomer Eric Ambriz, a junior from Lake Elsinore, Calif. Ambriz, a junior-college all-American, already has the No. 14 spot in the NAIA 149-pound rankings.
Mitchell Landgrebe, a freshman from Cedar Park, Texas, became a Texas state-tournament placer, while Grant Williams, a freshman from Coweta, Okla., may be limited by injury early this season.


Beyond Skates, freshman Dustin Mason comes off winning three state titles wrestling for Tuttle, Okla. "He is big, strong, quick and athletic," Randall said.


Alongside McCarty will be Tanner Borror, a freshman from Coweta, Okla. "We really like him," Randall said of Borror. "He's explosive."


Jamie Shawver, a senior from Del City, Okla., aims to build on earning a national-tournament berth last season. Competing with Shawver is Aaron Guery, a sophomore from Lancaster, Texas, who showed ability during his freshman campaign. Shawver is ranked 11th among NAIA 174-pounders.


Jacob King, a junior from Rio Rancho, N.M., has outstanding physical ability, while Evan Hudson, a freshman from Oklahoma City, comes aboard with the capability to take his opponent down quickly.


Miguel Tovar, a junior from El Paso, Texas, may have the most strength on the team, and Austin Fielder, a sophomore from Tuttle, Okla., will redshirt in 2015-16. Tovar sits at No. 14 in the 197-pound NAIA ratings.


OCU has two gifted freshman heavyweights in Bryson McGowan, out of Hulbert, Okla., and Korey Walker, from Midwest City, Okla. McGowan comes heralded by holding the 15th slot in the individual rankings.

The Stars will host the NAIA South Qualifying Group Tournament on Feb. 20 with the goal of qualifying as many individuals as possible for the NAIA Championships on March 4-5 in Topeka, Kan.
"We're pretty solid," Randall said. "Because of our competitiveness, we have recruited a talented group. The key to success will be deciding which 12 go to regional. We expect to be in the hunt going into the national tournament. We hope to be competitive for championships."
Allen Brown

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