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Oklahoma State sends 3 wrestlers to Big 12 finals

Daton Fix is one of three finalists for Oklahoma State (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

TULSA, Okla. -- The No. 6 Oklahoma State wrestling team wrapped up the first day of the 2021 Big 12 Wrestling Championships Saturday in third place with 96 team points, sending three Cowboys through to Sunday night's championship bouts.

Top seeds Daton Fix and Boo Lewallen both reached the finals with wins in the 133-pound and 149-pound semifinal bouts, respectively, and freshman 197-pounder AJ Ferrari joined them with an upset win over the No. 1 seed in his bracket.

"We got started off pretty good in the first round with nine of our 10 guys wrestling extra matches," coach John Smith said. "I thought we did good getting six of them through. I didn't think our effort in the semifinals was what I was hoping for. We're in a fight now and we're going to have to show up tomorrow and be ready to challenge for this title."

A sophomore who aims for his second Big 12 title tomorrow, Fix cruised to a 20-5 technical fall victory with seven takedowns and a nearfall against fifth-seeded Mosha Schwartz of Northern Colorado. The win improved Fix to 8-0 on the season, as all of his wins have come with bonus points attached.

Lewallen was the next OSU semifinalist on the mat, knocking off fourth-seeded Triston Lara of Northern Iowa, 7-4. The Cowboy senior traded a takedown for an escape in each period against Lara to earn a shot at his third Big 12 championship.

Oklahoma State's last finalist was Ferrari, who turned in one of OSU's most impressive wins of the tournament thus far. Facing top-seeded and No. 5-ranked Tanner Sloan of South Dakota State, Ferrari scored on two takedowns and a reversal before riding out the third period to secure a 7-1 win. It was the first loss of the year for Sloan, who entered the match with a 14-0 record. Ferrari will try to become the 13th true freshman in OSU history and the first since 2016 to win a conference title.

"I thought he wrestled well," Smith said. "He did a good job dictating the pace of the match and did a good job on top putting some pressure on his opponent. One of the areas they thought they could win was on top of AJ and he took that away and the match swung in his direction because of his effort."

Three other Cowboys reached the semifinals but fell just short of the title match, as Trevor Mastrogiovanni fell 5-3 at 125 pounds, Travis Wittlake came up just short in a tough 5-3 sudden victory decision at 165 pounds and Dakota Geer fell at 184 pounds, 6-2. They each move on to Sunday morning's consolation semifinal and can finish as high as third place.

They will be joined in the consolation semifinals by 174-pounder Dustin Plott, who won a pair of decision to advance through the wrestlebacks. Kaden Gfeller nearly made the round as well, but after a win in the first consolation round, he dropped the next match to move into Sunday morning's seventh-place match.

Only two Cowboy were eliminated on the first day, as Wyatt Sheets (157 pounds) and Austin Harris (heavyweight) fell in the first consolation round.

The second and final day of the Big 12 Championships begins with Session III at 10 a.m. Sunday morning, where third through eighth place finishers will be determined. It wraps up with the championship bouts in Session IV at 5 p.m. at the BOK Center in Tulsa.

Fans can follow live results on trackwrestling.com, live updates on Twitter via @CowboyWrestling and watch each mat live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and the championship matches on ESPN2.

Team Standings:
1. Oklahoma - 107.0
2. Wyoming - 97.0
3. Oklahoma State - 96.0
4. Iowa State - 94.0
5. North Dakota State - 69.0
6. Northern Iowa - 68.0
7. Northern Colorado - 57.5
8. South Dakota State - 52.0
9. Utah Valley - 49.0
10. West Virginia - 43.5
11. Air Force - 25.0
12. Fresno State - 22.0

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