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A Look at the Big 12 at Final X and U20/U23's

Oklahoma State's Dustin Plott at the U23 World Team Trials (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)


Several World Teams have been decided in the last few weeks, and a host of Big 12 wrestlers made those teams. We're going to look at who from the Big 12 grabbed some of those spots along with some of the close calls that just missed the cut or placed at some of the tournaments.

Senior World Team

At Final X Stillwater, the Big 12 can sort of lay claim to two World Team spots. Missouri's J'Den Cox, who never actually wrestled in the Big 12, took the 92 KG FS spot and Seth Gross, a former South Dakota State wrestler who finished out his career at Wisconsin, beat out Oklahoma State's Daton Fix for the 61 KG spot. Former Oklahoma State wrestler and 4-time Big 12 Champion Jordan Oliver also competed here, falling to Zain Retherford at 70 KG.

Final X New York saw Hayden Zillmer, who wrestled collegiately at North Dakota State, win the 125 KG spot over Nick Gwiazdowski. Zillmer was the Big 12 runner-up at 184 in 2016.

U23 Trials Tournament

The Big 12 had some flavor at the U23 Trials tournament. Trevor Mastrogiovanni from Oklahoma State was the runner-up at 57 KG. At 61 KG Julian Farber(Northern Iowa) and Jace Koelzer(Northern Colorado) finished seventh and eighth.

South Dakota State became the fourth Big 12 school to medal here with Clay Carlson finishing eight at 65 KG. Some Bedlam at 70 KG as OU's Jacob Butler finished fifth and Oklahoma State's Daniel Manibog finished seventh.

West Virginia joined the party with Peyton Hall finishing as the runner-up at 74 KG. They've got a really solid young star coming up in Hall. Dustin Plott of Oklahoma State then gave the conference their first championship by winning at 79 KG.

Evan Bockman gave Utah Valley their first placer by taking second at 92 KG and West Virginia got a second placer when Austin Cooley took fifth.

Tanner Sloan of South Dakota State was the conference's only wrestler to make the U23 World Team by winning the tournament. Sloan was the 97 KG tournament champion.

Iowa State's David Carr also grabbed a spot at 74 KG, but it was done by winning a spot on the Senior team. He beat Joey Lavallee at Final X to do so.

To close things out, the conference had two placers at 125 KG with Zach Elam (Missouri) finishing second and Josh Heindselman (Oklahoma) finishing fifth.

On the Greco side, Wyoming's Job Greenwood took the title at 67 kg and earned a spot on the World Team. He dropped his first bout to Cayden Henschel, before rallying in the last two.

Juniors (U20)

The Big 12 did well in the Junior Tournament. Four Big 12 commits/signees won here. Wyoming commit Jore Volk kicked things off by winning the 57 KG title. The newest entrant into the Big 12, Cal Baptist had a champion with Mitchell Mesenbrink, who won 70 KG. Then Oklahoma State verbal Brayden Thompson won 79 KG, and South Dakota State's Bennett Berge won 86 KG, giving the Big 12 four world team members.

Oklahoma State's Carter Young finished second at 65 KG as did South Dakota State's Jack Thomsen (74 KG). Oklahoma's Tate Picklo returned to wrestle in one of his first tournaments after a long recovery from knee surgery to finish second in the trials tournament at 86 KG.

All told there were wrestlers from every Big 12 school except Air Force that medaled in Ohio.

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