The Border Axe will be up for grabs as OSU looks to extend its winning streak against the Broncos to four-in-a-row
CORVALLIS, Ore. – The No. 15 ranked Oregon State wrestling team will look to retain possession of the coveted Border Axe as it takes on No. 18 Boise State, Saturday, Jan. 5 at 4:30 pm inside Gill Coliseum. The Beavers have had the axe in their grasps for the past 14 months and hope to extend their winning streak over their border rivals to four, dating back to the 2011-12 season.
The meet which will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks will be the second between these two schools this year, but the first in Corvallis since Nov. 2011, when the OSU winning streak began. A Pac-12 Conference meet is always competitive, but as Oregon State head coach Jim Zalesky knows, there is added emphasis when it is the Beavers and Broncos taking to the mats.
“It (the axe) is a traveling trophy which we started about four years ago and the winning team gets to take the axe with them,” Zalesky explained. “You take the axe, it’s out there so it’s one of those things where the winning team wants to keep it at their place.”
Since the fall of 2011, the axe has resided in an entry way above the OSU coaches’ offices inside Gill Coliseum. The Beavers hope that is where it will stay at least until next fall with a victory on Saturday.
Tickets to home Beaver wrestling events can be purchased online by going to beavertickets.com or by calling 1-800-GO-BEAVS. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Oregon State ticket office inside Gill Coliseum, which is open from 9a.m. - 5p.m., Monday through Friday.
*MEET NOTES OREGON STATE The Beavers enter the second installment of the Border War fresh off of their performance at Ken Kraft Midlands Championships, where they saw two wrestlers place in the top three of their weight classes and one (Chad Hanke) win an individual title. Hanke went 5-0 en route to his second weight class title of the year. The other two OSU wrestlers placing in the top three were 141 pounder Mike Mangrum who posted a 7-1 record on his way to third place honors. 197 pounder Taylor Meeks also brought home the bronze, posting a 5-1 mark.
Oregon State boasts a No. 15 ranking in the nation according to the latest Intermat poll. Jim Zalesky’s OSU squad stands at 2-2 on the year with a 1-0 Pac-12 mark, having defeated Boise State in November. The Beavers currently have a total of five wrestlers ranked nationally and those are Chad Hanke (HWT), Mike Mangrum (141), Taylor Meeks (197), RJ Pena (157) and Scott Sakaguchi (149). The highest rated wrestler is Mangrum at No. 5, followed by Hanke (No. 6), Sakaguchi (No. 9) as well as Pena and Meeks, who each have a No. 10 ranking in front of their names.
BOISE STATE The Broncos are still searching for their first win of the year after dropping duals with Wyoming (26-12), North Dakota State (24-15), and No. 1 Minnesota (30-6). Boise State also dropped its first meeting with then No. 15 Oregon State (21-16) in the first of two Border War meetings in Spokane Valley, Wash., in November. BSU has also competed in a total of three tournaments this season including Cowboy Open in Laramie, Wyo., the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invite where it finished sixth and lastly the Reno Tournament of Champions, where a second place finish (119 pts) was one worse than its rival OSU who compiled 145 team points. The Broncos are currently ranked 18th in the nation according to the latest Intermat poll, which was the same rating they earned entering the first Border War matchup last year.
Boise State claims a total of six different wrestlers who are nationally ranked, the top of which is senior Jason Chamberlain (149 lbs.), who is ranked third in the nation. Next highest on the list for the Blue and Orange is junior heavyweight JT Felix who boasts a No. 10 ranking according to the latest Intermat poll. Junior 184 pounder Jake Swartz is the next highest at No. 11, followed by senior Brent Chriswell (197 lbs.) at No. 15. Rounding out the list of ranked Broncos is senior 133 pounder Brian Owen, who is 18th. and 157 lb. senior George Ivanov at No. 19.
HANKE HITS THE CENTURY MARK Chad Hanke’s performance last weekend at the Midlands Championships was significant for a number of reasons. Not only did the senior heavyweight take home first place honors in his weight class, but his five triumphs propelled him to the 100 win plateau during his OSU career, making him only the second active Beaver wrestler with at least 100 career victories. The other is fellow senior Mike Mangrum who has 119-32 (.788) career mark, while Hanke boasts a 100-42 (.704) record. Hanke is 20-3 (.870) as a heavyweight and 75-38 (.664) as a 197 pounder. Hanke joins a select group of Orange and Black grapplers who have reached the century mark during their times in Corvallis. A total of 21 Beavers who have taken the mats inside Gill Coliseum have reached the coveted plateau, led by Howard Harris (1977-80) at 190 lbs. and heavyweight who amassed 169 career victories. Hanke is now tied with Chad Renner (1993-96; 166/177 lbs.) with 100. He is just four wins shy of passing Cliff Berger (1981-82, 1984-85; 126/134/142) for 19th all-time. Mangrum is tied with Marvin Seal (1983-86; 158 lbs.) for 10th and is just two victories away from tying former teammate Clayton Jack (2009-12; HWT) for ninth.
GOING STREAKING A number of Oregon State wrestlers have sizeable winning streaks heading into the Border War Saturday afternoon inside Gill Coliseum. HWT Chad Hanke has won five in-a-row following his individual weight class championship at the Midlands Championships, while 141 pounder Mike Mangrum is one behind with four straight. Mangrum wrapped up third place honors at the Midlands as did Taylor Meeks (197 lbs.) who has won a pair en route to his third place finish last weekend.
PAC-12 NETWORKS DEBUT Head Coach Jim Zalesky’s Oregon State squad will make its debut on the Pac-12 Networks in a big way as it looks to hold onto the Border Axe for the fourth straight time, Saturday in Gill Coliseum. The meet will start at 4:35 p.m., with coverage beginning at the bottom of the hour. Play-by-play duties will be handled by JB Long and color commentary will come courtesy of former US Olympic wrestler Ken Chertow.
BORDER WAR The Border War is a special wrestling rivalry that involves Oregon State and Boise State. The two schools have met a total of 44 times with the Beavers taking 28 match-ups and the Broncos claiming just 15. One tie is included in the rivalry since the schools first met in 1975. Both programs have squared off twice a season since 2009, the first time the Border Axe trophy was introduced into the rivalry. OSU has a .647 winning percentage in the series and has taken three in-a-row against its natural rival, while BSU holds a .352 winning percentage during that same time frame. The two teams met earlier in the season in Spokane Valley, Wash., with Oregon State taking the contest 21-16, with the meet coming down to the very final match between 174 pounders Austin Morehead and Scott Bacon. Morehead, the junior transfer pinned BSU’s Bacon within 2:30 for the walk-off OSU victory.
THE BORDER AXE The coveted Border Axe is a trophy created for the winner of the Border War between the Oregon State and Boise State wrestling teams. It was created in 2009 by a former Bronco wrestler with wood working skills to give the winning squad in this rivalry extra bragging rights. Since its creation the Axe has changed hands just two times as BSU won five out of the first six meetings with an 18-18 tie wedged in the middle. The Beavers have dominated the past three match-ups winning them by a combined 71-42 score and are looking for their fourth in-a-row this afternoon. When the axe calls Corvallis home it sits atop a wooden perch among the wrestling offices in Gill Coliseum for all visitors to see. When it is temporarily in Boise, the axe rests above the television which the Broncos use to watch film to prepare for upcoming meets. Before each Border War meet, the axe is held up to the crowd by the team who currently has it in its possession. This time it will be Oregon State showing it off in front of the Gill Coliseum crowd, so cheer loud as OSU looks to retain possession of this unique symbol of one of college wrestling’s most heated rivalries.
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