Parker, Carr win gold at Big 12 Championships

Iowa State’s Ian Parker has his arm raised in victory after he defeats Oklahoma’s Dom Demas 4-2 in sudden victory in their 141-pound championship match March 8 at the Big 12 Championships inside the Bank of Oklahoma Center in Tulsa.

Zach Martin

TULSA, Okla. – When Iowa State’s Ian Parker and Oklahoma’s Dom Demas wrestled in their dual matchup on Feb. 9, it was tied at one after three periods and Demas won in sudden victory.

Parker flipped the script Sunday night.

After a full seven minutes, two 30-second ride outs and 90 seconds of overtime, Parker finally found an opening, shot in and delivered the match-winning takedown near Iowa State’s corner to triumph over Demas 4-2 in SV-2 to win the 141 pound Big 12 Championship inside the Bank of Oklahoma Center.

It’s Parker’s first conference title and the Cyclones’ first 141 champ since Nick Gallick in 2008.

“This is going be a very short-lived victory,” Parker said. “He connected more with his moves [at Cliff Keen]. Other than that, my mindset is always the same, my game plan is always the same.”

Oklahoma State clinched its eighth straight Big 12 crown with a dominating performance, placing nine in the top-eight and eight in the top-5 to go along with three champions.

Iowa State, on the strength of four top-five finishers, finished runner-up for the second consecutive year. Northern Iowa, South Dakota State and North Dakota State rounded out the top-five in the team race.

“You gotta set the bar high and the expectation is to win the Big 12 Championship,” Head Coach Kevin Dresser said. “The challenge is to go win, take down Oklahoma State, so we didn’t accomplish that. You learn a lot from it.”

Tied at one after regulation, the fun was just beginning.

In the first sudden victory, Parker went in on a high crotch shot in the final 20 seconds that Demas fended off and send it to the ride outs.

“I thought I was going to have it, I even scooted in on my knee and got his foot off the air, he’s got some heavy hips,” Parker said. “I was surprised a little bit.”

After Demas escaped in TB2, he went for a shot and Parker scrambled out of it. Once the redshirt junior got the takedown a few minutes later, the Iowa State corner went into a frenzy.

Parker avenged his previous two losses to Demas earlier this year. Prior to his victory, Parker finished fourth at 133 two years ago and fifth at 141 last season in Tulsa.

“We had a strategy, the longer this thing goes, the better off we are,” Dresser said. “Let’s just stay in there for as long as we can.”

Thirty minutes later, Iowa State doubled its conference titles.

David Carr used two takedowns and 1:15 of riding time to outlast Oklahoma State’s Wyatt Sheets 6-4 to claim his first Big 12 championship at 157 in his redshirt freshman year.

“That’s pretty impressive in that environment,” Dresser said. “Sheets had a great month, he’s a guy that can get on the podium. We needed that test going into the NCAA Tournament.”

It was scrambles won by the Ohio native that led him to the win.

In the first period near the Cowboys’ corner, Carr ended up on top of Sheets for his first takedown to increase his lead to 3-0. Then, in the third, he somehow got out of a Sheets shot, went underneath and took him down for the 5-2 lead.

“I’ve had that duck since, I don’t even know if I can remember. That’s one I really like and it’s an exciting takedown,” Carr said. “I could feel him coming towards me, coaches told me to ice it.”

Things got dicey in the final minute.

Carr was dinged for his second stalling call that crept Sheets within 5-4, but was not called again and had the riding time point in his favor to celebrate in front of a heavy Oklahoma State crowd.

After missing the last five weeks due to a nagging knee injury, Carr ran through the bracket and only trailed once in four matches. Following the podium, he went up and embraced his family in the stands.

Carr is the first redshirt freshman for Iowa State to win a Big 12 title since Lelund Weatherspoon in 2014.

“I was messing with [Jarrett] Degen telling him ‘I’m gonna hit the Degen, let him get the first takedown, ease the nerves,'” Carr said of the strategy for his first match on Saturday. “After that match, kind of felt like myself. Mentally, I was there.”

The finals opened up at 125 pounds and for the second time this year, Iowa State’s Alex Mackall faced Oklahoma State’s Nick Piccininni.

After the first couple of minutes in the opening period, one mistake proved to be the match decider.

Mackall slipped on the mat and Piccininni was in the right place at the right time, registering the only takedown of the match to go up 2-0 after one.

Each scored a point on an escape. Trailing 3-1 in the final minute of the bout, Mackall was in on multiple shots that Piccininni fended off to win his fourth conference title.

Mackall’s runner-up finish this season is the highest of his career, topping his third place finish last year.

“It looked like Mackall got knocked to his hip, Piccicinni ran around the corner; it was quick,” Dresser said. “He’s really improved from last year, scoring on [top tier] guys takes a lot of work in the room. We wrestled him tougher than we ever have.”

In the final match of the day, Iowa State’s Gannon Gremmel was defeated by Wyoming’s Brian Andrews 3-2 to finish runner-up, the highest finish in his career at Big 12s.

Tied at one, Andrews was called for stalling in the third and immediately took down Gremmel for the 3-1 lead. Gremmel nearly had a takedown in the final 30 seconds of the match, but it was not called. The Cyclones challenged and it was upheld.

“He’s got to be more committed to getting a takedown,” Dresser said.

With Parker and Carr winning, it marks the first time since 2014 that the Cyclones have had multiple Big 12 champs in the same season.

Piccininni was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the two-day tournament and Northern Iowa’s Doug Schwab was named the conference Coach of the Year.