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Big 12 wrestling: Daton Fix leads Oklahoma State into championship round, but Sooners carry Day 1 lead

Oklahoma State's Daton Fix, right, wrestles against Kellyn March of North Dakota State on Saturday in the opening round of the Big 12 wrestling championships at the BOK Center in Tulsa. [Photo provided by the Big 12 Conference]
Oklahoma State's Daton Fix, right, wrestles against Kellyn March of North Dakota State on Saturday in the opening round of the Big 12 wrestling championships at the BOK Center in Tulsa. [Photo provided by the Big 12 Conference]

TULSA — With a year to think about himself and his wrestling, Oklahoma State’s Daton Fix dove in deep.

Serving a one-year suspension for performance-enhancing drugs — a penalty that was reduced from four years after the investigation showed that the drug ingestion was unintentional — Fix looked for ways to make himself better.

Already one of the best wrestlers at his 133-pound weight class and an Olympic hopeful, Fix was determined to be a different wrestler by the time his suspension ended on Feb. 10.

“I was getting in the room and trying new things,” Fix said. “Anytime you start putting yourself in different positions, you’re gonna learn new stuff. I wrestled with a bunch of different people over that year that I sat out.

“I feel like I developed some skills that I didn’t have before.”

It has shown in his performance, with Fix reeling off three straight bonus-point victories on Saturday to reach the finals of the Big 12 championships, with the title on the line Sunday. Consolation matches begin at 10 a.m. and the finals are set for 5 p.m. at the BOK Center, televised by ESPN2.

On Saturday, Fix won his first two matches by major decision, and advanced to the finals with a 20-5 technical fall over Mosha Schwartz of Northern Colorado.

For the season, Fix is 8-0 with four pins.

“Going through high school, I never really tried to pin people,” Fix said. “I wanted to put a lot of points on the board. That’s what I wanted my style to be. And I still want to score points, but to win team titles, we have to have guys who are gonna go get falls.

“That’s something that I feel I can do. I have the ability to go pin people. And it’s something that I decided I wanted to work toward more during my matches.”

Fix has added tools to his belt and he’s using them to dominate each opponent he faces.

“He takes a lot of pride in his preparation,” OSU coach John Smith said of Fix. “He’s wrestling and doing some things that he’s never done. He looks really good right now. He’s added to his offense on his feet, and I see a better wrestler than I’ve ever seen from Daton.”

Fix was one of three Cowboys to advance to the finals, along with 149-pound senior Boo Lewallen and 197-pound true freshman AJ Ferrari.

Fourth-seeded Ferrari upset top-seeded Tanner Sloan of South Dakota State to advance. Ferrari will face Wyoming’s second-seeded Stephen Buchanan.

Sooners in lead with two Bedlam finals coming Sunday

The BOK Center will get a pair of Bedlam showdowns for titles, at 133 pounds and 149 pounds, on Sunday, and they could have huge implications on the team standings.

On the strength of multiple bonus-point victories late in the night, OU jumped into the lead in team points with 107. Wyoming was in second at 97, OSU third at 96 and Iowa State fourth at 94.

Wyoming has the most finalists of any team with four.

The Sooners’ Troy Mantanona had three pins on the day at 165, including two in consolation matches to stay alive. Anthony Mantanona at 174 and Darrien Roberts at 184 each had pins in their final consolation matches to add bonus points as well.

At 133, Fix will face OU’s Tony Madrigal, an unseeded wrestler who pulled three upsets to reach the finals, including an 8-3 decision over No. 7 seed Zach Redding of Iowa State in the semifinals.

In their only meeting this season, Fix pinned Madrigal in Stillwater.

At 149, OSU’s top-seeded Boo Lewallen will face third-seeded Mitch Moore of OU in the title match. Lewallen owns a pair of close decisions over Moore this season, 4-0 and 6-4.

OU’s Demas looking for another title

In addition to their two Bedlam finals appearances, OU has 141-pounder Dom Demas on the hunt for a championship.

The second-seeded Demas is set for a rematch with No. 1 seed Ian Parker of Iowa State, who defeated Demas in the finals last year. In 2019, Demas defeated OSU’s Kaid Brock for the title.

Scott Wright

A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and... Read more ›