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Lindenwood Open Recap: True Freshman Gfeller Impresses, Sophomore Lewallen Wins



OSU sent a group of Cowboys to the Lindenwood Open this weekend with the Minnesota dual on tap on Sunday.  Here’s a bit of a recap.

OSU sent seven wrestlers in the freshman/sophomore division and five in the open division. In the freshman/sophomore division the Cowboys had three third-place finishers. Jet Taylor-125, Austin Harris-184, and Ethan Anderson at HWT. They also had one fifth-place finisher Bear Hughes-184.

In the open division, freshman Kaden Gfeller finished 3rd at 141 with Boo Lewallen taking the title at 149. Blake Andrews also had a good showing finishing 3rd in HWT.

Probably the most intriguing wrestlers at this tournament for Cowboy fans were potential starter at 149 Lewallen and true freshman at 141 Gfeller.

Many know Gfeller as one of the top recruits from last years class and close friend of fellow freshman phenom Daton Fix. As I noted, he ended up finishing 3rd at 141 here. He opened with a bye, then notched a major over Wheeler from WVU.

Gfeller looked solid in the match. He was able to keep Wheeler off balance the entire match and more or less took him down at will. Gfeller’s pressure kept Wheeler pushing forward and over-extended and that opened up some pretty slick ankle picks like the one below.

Gfeller then got a decision over Smith from Mizzou and went into the semis with fourth-ranked and top seed Jaydin Eierman. Gfeller lost that match 7-2.

At the end of the day he was just physically outmatched with Eierman, which is something you expect with a true freshman. Eierman’s fakes kept Gfeller off balance, and he was strong enough to power through and finish most shots.

Gfeller was able to get to legs on his shots and hit some picks and other things on Eierman a few times where it looked as though he was going to score, but he just couldn’t finish. Finishing shots is an area even the most elite freshman usually struggle and should improve for Gfeller.

Just getting older, physically maturing, and being in a collegiate level workout room he’ll naturally close the gap with guys like Eierman. He’s in a good spot to be able to do it by redshirting behind Heil. On the consolation side he received a forfeit into the 3rd-4th match then pinned Storr from ISU for 3rd. It was even on their feet in the first with Gfeller scrambling to avoid a takedown at the end of the first period. Gfeller was on top in the second, got a solid ride for a bit then eventually turned and pinned Storr.

Overall I came away pretty impressed from the first time I’ve seen him wrestle in college. He needs to mature physically, but otherwise was solid.

Consider me impressed with Lewallen, too. He looked good at 141 last year, but seems to have adjusted well to 149. He had a good tournament. The scores didn’t separate into bonus like you would prefer to see, but he dominated his way to a title and pretty comfortably handled everyone he wrestled, at a weight class that included a few ranked guys.

His twitter handle (@IPickAnkles1) is very fitting.  

I think he may have hit 10 ankle picks that I saw. He wrestles very well in all phases. He stays solid and doesn’t get out of position on his feet, he controls ties well, has good offense + he’s athletic and he’s a good, not great, mat wrestler. He gave up a few cheap takedowns (scores that don’t mean much to the end result of the match) from time to time that you would prefer he didn’t, but otherwise he looked really solid this weekend.

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