Daton Fix will be having a wrestle off with Brandon Courtney to decide the Junior World team spot at 57 KG on Sunday and a crop of incoming Cowboy freshman will be representing their home states and competing for their own national titles and All American honors.
Here are the Cowboys wrestling in the main tournament at Fargo and what to watch for with them.
Travis Wittlake: Wittlake will be representing team Oregon here and likely the favorite to win this. I’m working on confirming what weight class we’ll see him at, but as I write this I’m not 100% sure where he’ll be. He wrestled at the US Open at 79 KG (174 pounds) and the World Team trials at 74 KG (163 pounds). The weights here around those classes are 160, 170, and 182.
I assume he’ll be 170, but again that’s nothing definitive. He’d likely be the favorite at 170 and I think would probably be at 182 as well. The only guys that finished ahead of him at the World Team Trials were already in college and won’t be wrestling here. Wittlake has made some World Teams and won medals, it’s safe to assume that was his goal this summer. This will be a good opportunity for him to close out his summer and head into his freshman year on a high note. He’s definitely a guy I’d expect to potentially win this.
Jalin Harper: Harper is the lone Cowboy with an opportunity to take home the “Triple Crown” of high school wrestling. That consists of a folk style national title, a freestyle national title, and a Greco national title. Harper is the only Cowboy to go after a folk style title and therefore the only one to win one. I don’t know if he’s going Greco, but being the only guy with a folkstyle title he’ll be the only one with a shot at all three. His weight class is tough though, he should be at 160 and there are some very good wrestlers there. Interesting thing will be how he does comparative to Gavin Stika, who’s coming in at the same weight. That may eventually be a battle in the room for a starting spot.
Gavin Stika: The 152 pound Ohio state champion will be wrestling at 160 here. I spoke with him after he committed and he said he’ll likely be a 165 in college. He hasn’t made it to the podium yet at Fargo and I don’t believe he’s traditionally been a big freestyle guy. He didn’t wrestle here last year. What you’re probably hoping for is an All-American finish. He’s a talented, athletic kid and could definitely do it. I’m just not real clear on how much freestyle experience he has under his belt, so that could make it tough. The experience as a whole will be good for him though.
We have two other incoming freshman that we may see here as well. Two time Oklahoma State champ Colt Denney made the Oklahoma team, but may not be able to attend. We should know in a day or so if he is going.
Update: I’ve confirmed with Colt that he is going to be wrestling here. He’ll be at 160 along with Stika and likely Harper. It’ll be interesting to see how this weight plays out with these three. They’re all almost certainly going to redshirt next year, so it’ll be a bit before they’re really battling to start and they’ll have plenty of time to develop before that time, but it’ll be interesting to know where they are right now.
The other future Cowboy we may see is Conner Wilson. I haven’t had a chance to do a write up on him yet, but he’s a mid to lower weight guy out of Allen, TX. Here’s his highlight video. Again I’m not certain if he’s going, he didn’t wrestle at the Texas Freestyle state tournament, but we may see him here.
You can watch it all on Flo. It does require a subscription. Juniors start on Sunday