OSU hopes to carry momentum over to NCAAs

Two trophies stood on a table set up for Oregon State wrestling coach Jim Zalesky and Mike Mangrum's press conference.

The Beavers won their second straight Pacific-12 Conference championship over the weekend and the hardware represented the two titles.

"It was the first time we've won back-to-back titles since I've been here," Zalesky said. "Anytime you've got a streak going, it means that your wrestlers are doing the right things and they're listening to the coaches and I think we saw a lot of that this weekend."

Winning individual titles were Mangrum at 141 pounds, Taylor Meeks at 197 and heavyweight Chad Hanke.

Scott Sakaguchi (149), RJ Pena (157) and Seth Thomas (165) finished second. All 10 OSU wrestlers finished at least third.

"It was the first time we've placed all 10 guys in the top three, which really helped out," Zalesky said. "They scored a lot of points to help win that tournament."

All the champions will advance to the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, along with Sakaguchi, Pena, Ty Vinson (184) and Cody Weishoff (174).

Mangrum, Hanke, Weishoff and Vinson are seniors.

"They came here when the program wasn't where it is right now, so they've kind of been the building block of the program," Zalesky said. "They've been here for a long time and they've gone through a lot of growth as individuals and they've helped our team grow. They've all worked real hard and I think you're seeing the fruits of their hard work."

Mangrum won the 141-pound title last season as well.

Mangrum will be making his fourth trip to the NCAAs but is looking for his first national title.

"I've got a few weeks more of training and I think I need to get in better shape and work on a few small tweaks on my technique, but I feel ready," Mangrum said.

He is ranked third behind Oklahoma's Kendric Maple and Ohio State's Hunter Stieber.

Tough competition, but Mangrum said he has the experience and training to make a run through the tournament.

"I believe that I can. I just have to go out and I have to do what Jim tells me to do and wrestle as hard as I can for seven minutes or more and just go for it," he said.

"Last year and the years before, I was tentative coming out to wrestle and I think the difference this year is going to be the fact that I'm going to go out there and I'm going to just attack from the whistle until time runs out."

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