In November 2004, the storied Oklahoma State wrestling squad, led by legendary coach and Olympic champion John Smith, embarked on what some considered the toughest and most grueling schedule in college wrestling history in quest of the unthinkable their third consecutive and 33rd overall national team title. For 18 weeks the Cowboys traveled almost 16,000 miles by bus, plane, van and automobile to 12 different states, through four time zones, in and out of 10 hotels as they wrestled 21 dual matches and three tournaments against bone-hard competition. Cowboy wrestling is truly one of Oklahoma s most masterful historical treasures, with more national collegiate titles than Notre Dame football and UCLA basketball combined. Cowboy Up provides an intimate, inside look at that historic effort. Coach Smith granted author Kim D. Parrish unprecedented access to the Cowboy program for an entire season. He has crafted an enchanting, poignant and revealing story of college wrestling s most storied program - and college athletics most punishing yet gratifying sport. It is a story of glory and heartbreak, sacrifice and betrayal. Wrestlers and coaches will be instructed as they read of Coach Smith applying training techniques and motivational tools in the context of an actual championship season. Wrestling fans will learn how a slight boy from Del City, who was pinned in his first five matches, rose to become arguably the greatest American athlete in the 20th century. All Oklahomans will take pride as they read of perhaps the most successful endeavor, sporting and otherwise, since Oklahoma s statehood in 1907.
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