ST. LOUIS – Jordan Oliver's remarkable junior year ended with a runner-up finish at the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships Saturday night, as he fell to No. 2 Logan Stieber of Ohio State in the championship match, 4-3. As a team, the Cowboys finished sixth with 66 points. Penn State won the national title with 143 points.
Oliver jumped out to a 2-1 lead with a takedown and release in the opening minute of the bout. Stieber then tied it with an escape to start the second and jumped on top with a takedown. Oliver chose down to start the final period and cut the lead to 4-3 with an escape. He took several shots throughout the third period and controlled one of Stieber's legs as he took him to the ground in the final seconds, but was not awarded the necessary takedown as he tried to gain control and the final whistle blew.
"Jordan had a pretty good year," Smith said. "It was obviously a challenging year coming back from winning the national championship and he was so close to winning the second one. It's something he can build on. Defeat, for the most passionate people, helps them move forward. Unfortunately, every now and then we need them in our life to help us kind of shape it. For him, I hope he takes this defeat and shapes himself in a better way."
Oliver's season was one of the most dominant in the country. He finished with an overall record of 28-2, recording bonus points in 26 of his 28 wins. He tallied 18 falls, including 12 in the opening period, three technical falls and five major decisions this year. Those 18 falls are tied for the fourth-most in school history in a single-season. In 18 dual matches, he led the Cowboys with 88 team points, 77 takedowns and 20 nearfalls. He also finished the year with a 12-2 record against ranked opponents.
As further evidence to Oliver's dominant season, 60 percent of his matches ended with Oliver earning a fall. That mark sets a new school record, breaking the previous mark of 58.6 percent set in 1981 by Thomas Landrum. Also, 86.7 percent of his matches ended with him scoring bonus points, even more than the 82.8 percent he had last season on his way to the national title. That mark ranks second in school history, behind only John Smith's 1987 season when he finished at 90.7 percent.
Oliver is OSU's 56th three-time All-American and the first Cowboy to achieve that feat since Jared Rosholt in 2008-10.
Chris Perry and Cayle Byers also wrestled Saturday, each winning two matches in the morning session to finish in third place. It was both wrestlers' highest-ever finish at the NCAA Championships and the first time for each of them to earn All-America status.
"Overall I was pleased with the day's effort," Smith said. "I like the way Chris and Cayle finished. They won two matches a piece this morning against some of the best competition in the country. Both of them finishing in third is a powerful message to the team and the future."
Oklahoma State wrestlers have now earned a total of 428 All-America honors. This tournament marks the third-consecutive year the Cowboys have had at least three All-Americans, and John Smith has now coached at least three wrestlers to All-America honors in 19 of 20 eligible seasons.