Hale Yeah: UCO Lands OSU Transfer
Mid-season transfer Eli Hale, senior, grips his opponent during a wrestling match for UCO . Hale transferred from OSU, where he was a two-time letterman for the Cowboys wrestling team, among other awards and honors he achieved while in Stillwater. (Provided/UCO Athletics)
Eli Hale, a wrestler who transferred to the University of Central Oklahoma mid-season from Oklahoma State University, beat the defending national champion Ivan McClay of Notre Dame College 1-0 in the NWCA Division II National Duels on Jan. 5.
“I’m in a position right now where I feel like [I’ve] got the ability to beat anybody in the country,” Hale said. “I’ve got full confidence in my dedication to this season and the effort I’m putting forward.”
Hale, who wrestles in the 125-pound division, finished the weekend 4-0 and said the win will definitely give him confidence moving forward, but noted that he can’t get caught up in his victory over the national champion.
“I think we’re both going to be better at the end of the season so I don’t really put too much into that victory,” Hale said.
Hale is a senior who spent four years of his college career at OSU. He redshirted his first year, but wrestled as an unattached entry in multiple tournaments where he won the Fort Hays State Open.
Coming off an injury that sidelined him during his sophomore year, Hale had a record of 15-8 in his third year at OSU and went 1-2 against ranked opponents. Last year with the Cowboys, Hale had a record of 10-4, finishing runner-up in the Reno Tournament of Champions and the Outlaw Open.
Hale said he still was on the bench behind some really tough competition, but he wanted an opportunity to compete and decided to transfer to UCO.
“I grew up wrestling here in Oklahoma and a lot of these guys on this UCO team are really tough Oklahoma kids that I grew up wrestling with,” Hale said. “I’ve been in year-round wrestling rooms with these guys, so it’s a really comfortable fit for me.”
Having known a majority of the wrestlers at UCO, Hale mentioned how tough and talented the group is and he hopes he’s the piece that can put the Bronchos over the top.
“I’m as dedicated as I can be to this season and doing everything I can to help UCO win a national title this year,” Hale said.
Hale had to adjust to UCO quickly, as he transferred over Christmas break, but in just a few appearances as a Broncho has already showed the impact he can have when he defeated the reigning national champion. Hale said that he’s looking forward to what he and UCO can accomplish the rest of the year.