The Oklahoma State wrestling program is one of the truly dominant college sports programs in the NCAA, and all Cowboys should recognize that.
The Oklahoma State wrestling program just won their 15th Big 12 title and 51st all-time conference title (when you consider past conferences like the Big 8). Very few schools boast such a dominant sports program as Cowboy wrestling. How crazy is that also that we have the National Wrestling Hall of Fame right next to Gallagher-Iba Arena. That signifies something so much bigger than what people think is just one special sports team…
A little personal anecdote from me
I came to OK State not knowing much about NCAA wrestling. I went to a few matches my freshman year in Stillwater and could have not have more flabbergasted at the atmosphere in GIA for a wrestling match.
Hailing from the great state of North Carolina, you notice that wrestling is not the biggest sport in a state dominated by college basketball, NASCAR, and Minor League Baseball. It’s hard to grasp in your time in school at OK State just how great one team is.
I am a huge hockey and lacrosse fan that also appreciates the camaraderie of other sports like football, basketball, soccer, and volleyball. Wrestling was one of the few sports I did not get the privilege to take part in during my childhood. It was not a big deal at my high school either.
The change to a school that was huge in sports like wrestling and equestrian was a crazy thing to experience for an East Coast kid that had never been to Oklahoma before considering the great school of OK State for my academic interests.
I immediately fell in love with the atmosphere at Boone Pickens Stadium and Gallagher-Iba Arena for football and basketball. And you cannot truly appreciate college baseball until you attend or love a school with a solid program and a good fan base. Seeing your team in person in the College World Series is unlike anything you can do as a college sports fan.
However, the OK State wrestling program is the crown jewel of the Cowboy athletic department. It doesn’t take much time to look up at the rafters in GIA and realize what sport is top dog. Also, seeing more than 10,000 people attend a wrestling match last year when the men’s basketball senior night in Travis Ford’s final season coaching was described as a “silent library” and “quieter than the Edmon Low Library” just describes the energy surrounding the wrestling program.
I came into Stillwater very much overlooking wrestling as a key sport on campus. It took about two weeks into my freshman year to realize that I was dead wrong.
It’s just hard to picture how loyal OK State wrestling fans are that have been fans of the sport and the school all their lives. People that got to really experience the full realm of success seen with the program and all the wrestlers that went through it.
The first real dominant wrestler I got to see was Alex Dieringer, who is now a member of the USA National Wrestling Team. Being able to say that you went to school that had a wrestling program producing athletes like Randy Couture, Dieringer , and the Briscos (just to name a few) is something for me to be proud of.
And now, back to the article
…OK State wrestling is actually like a religion to quite a few Cowboy fans. If you’re an OK State alumni, student, or fan, you should be proud of your school sporting a program that compares to that of the old UCLA men’s basketball teams, UConn women’s basketball right now, Miami football in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, and any other legendary and dominant individual NCAA team.
I feel like I have joined a group of OK State alumni that truly recognizes and appreciates the juggernaut wrestling program we get to consistently witness.