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Robb, Jamison providing needed boosts for Oklahoma State wrestling

Jan. 29—The scoreboard placed adjacently to the outstretched black and orange Cowboy wrestling mat displayed an eight-point Oklahoma State lead. With only the 197 and heavyweight matchups remaining, somebody needed to seal the top-five victory.

A job fit for a freshman, of course.

As Jersey Robb strapped up his headgear and neared center stage, Eric Guerrero planted a thought into the mind of the Bixby native, thrown into his second ever team-dual match.

"You're the man. Now go out and show it."

It did not take long for him to do that. Near the tail-end of round one, Robb had the home crowd in a raucous state, the loudest they had been all night.

Robb attacked Iowa State's Julien Broderson with an early takedown and just about wrapped things up shortly after. OSU's coaching staff was looking for a pin, but instead they were awarded with four near-fall points — more than enough separation for Robb to cruise to a dominant victory.

When all was said and done, the result was a shocking 15-6 major decision victory. Upset secured. Moment remembered forever.

"That was awesome," Robb said. "That was a pretty good rush at the end there, hearing everyone yell ... I've been coming to these duals since I was a little kid."

The night before, he was whisked into a bout with Wyatt Voelker of Northern Iowa and ultimately lost the match by a score of 5-1. Robb had appeared in three matches prior, all in early-season tournaments.

Coach John Smith has taken a throw-him-to-the-wolves approach with Robb, but only because he knew how well it would be handled by the Cowboy freshman.

"He's got a spirit to him," Smith said. "He's a competitor."

He went further in-depth on a contagious winning attitude from a kid that was raised around success.

"He's been on a lot of winning teams, both football and wrestling at Bixby," Smith continued. "You like to be around that."

Robb wasn't the only one to prove something on Saturday night.

Tagen Jamison was deadlocked No. 11 Anthony Echemendia with the final seconds counting down on round three during his 141-pound set. Echemendia kept his legs back during most of the match, making things difficult for Jamison to attack. A firm hold of the wrists didn't make matters any easier.

Round three hit zeros, but mentally, Jamison knew he was going to win. He knew exactly what to do in the sudden victory period.

"I knew that if I spent 10 seconds of a burst of energy that I was gonna get my hands on a takedown," Jamison recalls. "So telling myself mentally to sprint for 10 seconds, it's a hard thing to do because it's physically demanding."

Jamison broke the stalemate, shot the feet and dropped Echemendia to win the match. In the grand scheme of things, it was a match that made a huge difference. Not just for the team overall, but individually for a kid that had been struggling prior.

"He might've saw his third loss in a row if he didn't pull one out," Smith said. "What does that do to you?"

During the post-dual press conference, Jamison detailed his struggles offensively and the journey to solving it. It's all a mental thing, the Minnesota transfer said.

"You can get comfortable with where you're at, or you can get scared," Jamison said. "I think I was getting too comfortable."

You could see when things clicked for him during the match. Jamison trailed 1-0 early in the third period and was a bit out of sync. Once he secured the match-tying escape, that's when the mentality changed.

Now it's about keeping it.

"I think I've got my hands on it right now," Jamison said.

Smith has made a point of finding upset wins and bonus points to secure dual wins against the Iowa State's, the Iowa's or the Missouri's of the world. On Saturday, that was on display.

Both Robb and Jamison have faced recent defeat and learned from it.

"You can't drop your chin ever, regardless of what the outcome is," Smith said "Regardless of how you wrestled."

In season's past, a heavy reliance on big names to perform has been a hindrance. Now, it's not a must.

That's the difference.