Sep. 17—A two-time state champion wrestler from Bixby is the latest highly-touted recruit to choose Oklahoma State.
Zach Blankenship, a senior who also plays football for the Spartans, announced Thursday on Twitter that he has committed to the Cowboy wrestling program. Blankenship said he recently had a conversation with coach John Smith and associate head coach Zack Esposito, and he received a good offer from them.
Although he shared the news on social media Thursday, he had already been leaning toward OSU before then.
"I've had an idea for the better part of this week," Blankenship said in a phone interview with the News Press.
Blankenship has multiple ties to the Cowboy community. He said his sister is an OSU sophomore, and his father is the interim dean of OSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Along with those family connections, the Cowboy wrestling program's historic prestige and promising future drew Blankenship to OSU. Blankenship said Gallagher-Iba Arena boasts "the best wrestling atmosphere in the country," and the locker room will soon undergo renovations to make it even more appealing for recruits.
On Tuesday, OSU announced plans for a $1 million upgrade of its wrestling facilities. One day later, the Cowboy wrestling Twitter account shared a video of Smith himself taking a hammer to one of the lockers, marking the beginning of the construction process.
"It's the best wrestling team ever, and it's gonna have some of the best facilities ever," Blankenship said. "...That made it very enticing, as well."
Blankenship won his first Class 6A individual state championship as a 120-pound freshman, and he claimed his second title as a junior at 132 pounds. His success also carries into the classroom — he is the class president and has a 4.7 GPA.
As a committed member of OSU's 2022 recruiting class, Blankenship looks forward to the opportunity to work with the Cowboys' stars.
"The wrestling room is hard to beat," Blankenship said. "There's so much talent in there."