NORMAN – The Oklahoma wrestling team held its first official practice of 2018-19 Wednesday, joining programs around the country in ushering in the new season.
“I’m looking forward to watching our young guys progress and seeing where they’re at mentally and getting them into some high-profile matches and seeing how competitive they really are,” said third-year head coach Lou Rosselli. “It’s one thing to be good on paper and be talented, but it’s another thing to go out and produce.”
Oklahoma returns eight starters from the 2017-18 season, including NCAA qualifiers Christian Moody and Davion Jeffries. The OU squad also welcomed 13 freshmen.
“Each year, you have a different team, different guys, you have different chemistry that comes into play with it,” said redshirt junior Moody. “This year, we’ve got a lot of good young guys coming in who can help the program. Everyone’s excited to wrestle and practice all the time.”
Three Sooners enter the season ranked in FloWrestling’s preseason release: Moody is No. 15 at 125 pounds, while Justin Thomas is No. 15 at 157 and Jake Woodley is No.14 at 197 pounds.
Three OU wrestlers made WIN magazine’s top 20 in their respective weight classes: Moody is No. 20 at 125 pounds; Jeffries clocks in at No. 19 at 149 pounds; and graduate transfer Kayne MacCallum is No. 20 in the 184 pounds division.
A pair of Sooners gained experience on the international stage over the summer. Redshirt freshmen Dom Demas and Anthony Mantanona competed on the US Junior World Team, with Demas representing the nation and Oklahoma at the World Championships held in Trnava, Slovakia. Mantanona competed at the Junior Pan American Championships in Fortaleza, Brazil, where he captured a gold medal in the 79 kg division of the Freestyle event and the bronze in the Greco-Roman’s 77 kg division.
The Sooners will host the annual Red-White Scrimmage on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. CT at McCasland Field House. Admission to the event is free.
OU officially opens competition Nov. 3 at the Michigan State Open, the first of three consecutive road tournaments for the Sooners.
The Sooners’ first home dual will take place Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. when they host South Dakota State.
Season tickets are set to go on sale Tuesday, Oct. 16. Fans can put down their deposit now, either online or by calling the OU Athletics Ticket Office at (405) 325-2424.