Big 12 wrestling journal: Sooners fourth, in hunt for more points
TULSA — Oklahoma will wrestle for titles in a pair of weight classes Sunday at the Big 12 championships at the BOK Center.
Dom Demas at 141 pounds and Justin Thomas at 157 each advanced to the championship round with strong performances Saturday.
With 56.5 points, the Sooners are in fourth place, with third-place Northern Iowa at 62.5.
“We’ve all got something to prove,” said OU 149-pounder Davion Jeffries. “The brand OU — we have seven national titles, and we haven’t been wrestling up to par. Our coaches let us know, and it lit a fire under us to keep us going and keep us motivated.”
Jeffries, 125-pound Christian Moody and 197-pound Jake Woodley will wrestle in consolation semifinals on Sunday.
OSU freshmen Fix, Gfeller start strong
After redshirting last season, OSU freshmen Daton Fix and Kaden Gfeller had successful debuts at the Big 12 championships, each advancing to the finals in their respective weight classes — Fix at 133 and Gfeller at 149.
“It’s a big atmosphere, but a lot of the fans are Oklahoma State fans, so that was pretty cool,” said Gfeller, a product of Heritage Hall. “I’ve come to this event a lot, and it’s something I always wanted to wrestle in. It feels good getting some wins under my belt.”
Battling injuries, Gfeller lost his final two matches of the regular season, and he got cut just on the edge of his right eye in Saturday’s semifinal win over Fresno State’s Khristian Olivas that left Gfeller swollen and bleeding. But neither the past injuries or his cut eye slowed him down.
“Those are things you gotta fight through,” Gfeller said. “You gotta score points for your team. Team success is what matters most.”
Smith in position for NCAA berth
Wrestling at 165 pounds for the first time all season, OSU’s Joe Smith went 2-1 Saturday, but has himself in position for one of five automatic NCAA championship bids allotted to the Big 12 Conference.
Smith, who went 14-4 at 174 pounds this season, must win one of two matches on Sunday to finish fifth or better and earn one of the automatic berths. With his 8-2 decision over Fresno State’s Isaiah Hokit in the second round of the consolation bracket, Smith kept himself in position to potentially finish as high as third.
Pair of all-Okie finals
Two championship matches will be all-Oklahoma pairings, but of different kinds.
At 141 pounds, it’s a Bedlam showdown between OSU’s Kaid Brock will face OU’s Demas for the title. Demas won their meeting in December with a 7-6 decision.
The 133-pound title will be Fix for OSU vs. Wyoming’s Montorie Bridges, an Altus native. Fix, from Sand Springs, won a 3-0 decision in November.