Daton Fix has competed in a multitude of World Team events over the years, but this week’s will be a little different.
Three-time NCAA finalist Oklahoma State won’t have to go far to try and earn their ticket to another senior world team for USA Wrestling. In fact, it will only be a short walk up the stairwell from what has served as his practice room for the past five years.
” It’s awesome. I’m grateful it’s here,” Fix said Tuesday. “It’s a great opportunity to make another world team, and to do it in my home country, hopefully there will be a lot of people here to support me. It’s going to be exciting.
The Cowboy said he handed the reins to this father when it came to ticket requests from friends and family vying to watch him compete at the senior level of freestyle wrestling.
Fix will face a familiar foe in former NCAA champion Seth Gross.
The pair faced off at the 2021 World Team Trials, with Fix claiming an 11-0 victory – courtesy of a takedown and a turn in the opening 10 seconds.
“He’s a great competitor and someone who has the potential to score a lot of points,” the Sand Springs native said. “I can’t wait to fight him.”
Victory was on the way for Fix to secure his spot on the World Team, where he went on to finish second at 61kg in his first Senior World Championships.
While Fix won gold at the World Junior Championships in 2017 – with bronze medals at the World Juniors in 2016 and 2018 – he is still on the hunt for his first world gold medal at the senior level. His only gold medals at the senior level come from the 2019 Pan American Games and the 2022 Pan American Championships.
“If I don’t win those two matches, there’s no gold medal,” Fix said. “So there are two matches that are really important. I don’t neglect anyone. »
After a winter collegiate season in which he was constantly frustrated with his lack of goals in folkstyle competitions, Fix favors practicing freestyle as it plays more into his desire to push the offense.
In freestyle, a wrestler is automatically penalized for leaving the circle – which is smaller than the circled wrestling area on college mats. The action can also be forced by an official who can put a passive wrestler on a “timer” – forcing the passive wrestler to score within 30 seconds.
“I think that’s one of the reasons I love freestyle so much, it really forces people to struggle,” Fix said. “…I think that plays directly into my game and promotes activity. I think it’s good for sports.
Although the Cowboy won’t be wearing an Oklahoma State jersey for this tournament, there will obviously be some interest in OSU with their fight at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
So if he were to land a spot on the World Team inside the Cowboys’ home, would he retire the “OSU Cowboys!” sing like he traditionally does after winning big games at the GIA or the Big 12 Championships in Tulsa?
“Maybe. We’ll see after the fight,” Fix said. “If I’m lucky enough to win the second game, we’ll see. second game under my belt.
Fix won’t be the only Oklahoma State-bound wrestler vying for a spot on the World Team this Friday.
Former two-time NCAA national champion Jordan Oliver will also compete at Gallagher-Iba Arena at 70kg against Zain Retherford.
“(Oliver) was one of my favorite guys to watch growing up,” Fix said. “He’s someone who scored a bunch of points and really embodies what Oklahoma State wrestling is all about. He was just awesome to watch, so it’s really nice to have him back here.
“It would be nice if he came a bit more, but we’ll see. We’ll see if we can convince him.
Oliver – who is already back in Stillwater – and Fix never qualified for USA Wrestling in the same year, so the pair of Pokes are looking to change that this week inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.
The Final X competition will feature 15 matches in a best-of-three series with freestyle and Greco-Roman practices.
But it won’t just be men competing in the GIA to try their luck on the World Team.
Like the 2013 World Team Trials held at the Gallagher-Iba Arena, the women’s freestyle will also be featured.
That inclusion makes a little more sense this time around as Oklahoma State has since certified women’s wrestling as a high school sport and Oklahoma State wrestling coach John Smith, has spoken in recent years about the university possibly starting a women’s wrestling program — which rival Iowa already announced last year.
“I think this is a great time for women’s wrestling in Oklahoma,” Fix said. “Some of the best girls in the world are going to be here, and I think there will probably be a lot of young girls here to watch them compete. I think that’s huge for the sport.
Wrestlers who qualify this year will compete in the 2022 World Championships to be held September 10-18 in Belgrade, Serbia.