Despite early wins from 125-pound junior David Terao Jr. and his 133-pound freshman brother David Terao, the AU wrestling team failed to secure a win against the University of Oklahoma Sooners on Jan. 8, falling 30-13 in Bender Arena.
“We just need a couple of guys to turn their matches around for us,” head coach Teague Moore said. “Unfortunately, we come out the loser tonight, but there’s some things that we can get better at because of this dual.”
The Eagles entered the match after returning from a successful showing at the Aloha Invite in Honolulu, Hawaii where the team recorded five individual Top Three finishes. David Terao earned Outstanding Wrestler Honors after winning the 125-pound weight class, while junior John Boyle finished second at the 157-pound division. Freshman Josh Terao and sophomores Tom Page and Jason Grimes all took home third-place in the 133, 149 and 184-pound weight classes respectively.
However, AU lost several key matches in the dual meet versus Oklahoma that they won against the Sooners during the holiday tournament.
“149 [weight class], we beat them in Hawaii, and we end up getting pinned here, that’s a huge swing, and then 157 again, we beat them in Hawaii and we lose here by a point, so you know those two matches are our key matches,” Moore said. “If we can win the first four [matches], which we are completely capable of doing, that makes a different halftime, and then they’re coming in having to fight.”
David Terao Jr. and Josh Terao created initial momentum for the Eagles, and Josh Terao scored big team points with his major 10-1 victory over Oklahoma sophomore Sean Williams.
Oklahoma freshman Trae Blackwell ended the Eagles winning streak with 7-4 victory against AU freshman Michael Sprague in the 141-pound weight class. The Sooners then surged ahead 9-7 in team points with a pin from redshirt freshman Shayne Tucker in the 149-pound weight class.
“When we’re bringing in teams like Oklahoma, these are chances that you don’t get very often, and so we got to be ready for them,” Moore said.
AU junior John Boyle brought the crowd to their feet in the last match of the first half, battling Oklahoma redshirt senior Justin DeAngelis until the final second. The two wrestlers remained scoreless after the first period, and Oklahoma managed only point in the second period. As the clocked ticked on, the pace increased, and both teams earned takedown points with only a few minutes remaining. Boyle attempted to bring DeAngelis to his knees, but time ran out, and he dropped the match 3-2, giving the Sooners a 10-7 lead heading into halftime.
Oklahoma claimed a decision win the 165-pound weight class from redshirt sophomore Clark Glass, and they continued their hot streak with a quick pin from redshirt sophomore Matt Reed in the 174-weight class.
“Unfortunately, we come out the loser tonight, but there’s some things that we can get better at because of this dual.”
— head coach Teague Moore
AU sophomore, 184-pound Jason Grimes established renewed enthusiasm for the Eagles, however, when he earned his second collegiate pin after taking down Oklahoma freshman Brooks Climmons in less than 90 seconds.
“I was expecting the match to go a little bit longer, but I knew if I pushed the pace, and I took it to him and didn’t let him bring the match to me, I would end up on top,” Grimes said.
He previously defeated Climmons in the Aloha Open last weekend at the Aloha Invite in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the wrestlers have been competing against each other since elementary school in Georgia.
“We were on the same middle school team, trained on the same club from elementary school up,” Grimes said. “We’re real good buddies actually.”
Grimes earned Ameritel Coropration Wrestler of the Match for his performance, but the Sooners claimed the final two matches of the night with a decision win from 197-pound freshman Andrew Dixon and a pin from heavyweight Ross Larson.
While Moore remains frustrated with the overall score of the match, he looks forward to the upcoming home meet against Harvard and Virginia Military Institute as a chance for the Eagles test their skills again and regain confidence.
“VMI and Harvard gives us a chance to get our feet back under us,” said Moore. “We just need to continue refining and doing the things that we are capable of doing.”