Adams becomes WVU’s second Big 12 champ

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Photo courtesy WVU Athletics

TULSA, Okla. Redshirt sophomore Noah Adams became the second West Virginia University wrestler to win a Big 12 title, as he defeated South Dakota State’s Tanner Sloan in the 197-pound finals of the 2020 Big 12 Wrestling Championship at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Sunday.

Adams, the No. 1 seed at 197, earned a 5-1 decision over Sloan, who entered the tournament ranked No. 14 in the nation and the No. 2 seed. Adams became the first WVU grappler to win a Big 12 Championship since Dylan Cottrell secured the 165-pound title in 2017.

The Coal City, West Virginia, native moved to 32-0 and tied the program-record for the most wins in a sophomore season with the win. He has now defeated 13 ranked opponents this year.

“Noah’s win is big for the program, but more importantly, it’s big for him,” Second-year coach Tim Flynn said. “He didn’t win this tournament last year, so I know he was pretty hungry to win it this year. We’re going to enjoy this one for a little bit and then focus on the national tournament, but it was a huge accomplishment.”

Adams struck first in the bout, scoring a takedown a minute into the first period. He remained in control for a minute and eight seconds, as Sloan managed to earn an escape to cut the lead to 2-1 at the end of the period. Following a scoreless second period, Adams chose to start the final period of the bout from the bottom. Sloan remained on top for just over a minute, before Adams recorded a reversal to extend his advantage to 4-1. He would stay in control for the remainder of the match, accruing 3:38 of riding time to earn a 5-1 victory.

Including Adams, the Mountaineers ended with five podium finishers as redshirt sophomore Joey Thomas (125), sophomore Caleb Rea (141), sophomore Lucas Seibert (133) and redshirt freshman Alex Hornfeck (157) placed in the top eight of their respective weight brackets.

In the morning session, Rea placed seventh at 141 after he earned a 14-2, major decision over Lenny Peterson of Air Force. Thomas, Seibert and Hornfeck dropped their seventh-place matches to finish eighth at the Big 12 Championship.

Prior to the start of the final session of the tournament, Seibert faced No.1-seed Taylor Lamont of Utah Valley for the conference’s last automatic bid to the NCAA Wrestling Championship in the eighth-place challenge match. Seibert narrowly missed his first NCAA tournament, as he suffered a technical fall to Lamont in the fifth minute of the bout.

“Lucas Seibert was put in a pretty unusual and difficult situation and he handled it with dignity and class,” Flynn said. “It was everything that you would expect out of a Mountaineer. I’m proud of him.”

West Virginia finished the championship in 10th place with 41 points. Oklahoma State took home the team title with 147.5 points. Iowa State placed second with 116.5 points, followed Northern Iowa in third with 111.5 points.

Adams qualified for the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, which will be held March 19-21 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Wrestlers who did not earn a bid at their qualifying tournament may still be eligible for one of 47 at-large bids, which will be announced on March 10, followed by brackets and seeding on March 11 at 6 p.m. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers. The at-large selections will be made based on the following criteria: head-to-head competition, quality wins, coaches’ panel rankings, results against common opponents, RPI, qualifying event placement and winning percentage.

197 Championship:

197: Noah Adams (WVU) dec. Tanner Sloan (SDSU), 5-1

Seventh-Place Match:

125: Daniel Vega (SDSU) major dec. Joey Thomas (WVU), 12-4

133: Reece Witcraft (OSU) tech. fall Lucas Seibert (WVU), 21-7 (7:00)

141: Caleb Rea (WVU) major dec. Lenny Peterson (AF), 14-2

157: Dewey Krueger (WYO) dec. Alex Hornfeck (WVU), 7-5

True-place match:

133: Taylor Lamont (UVU) tech. fall Lucas Seibert (WVU), 17-2 (5:00)

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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