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NCAA Wrestling Day 2 Recap: Fix, Plott Make Finals, Olejnik Still Alive in Consolation

The Cowboys end Day 2 in eighth on the team leaderboard.

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[Devin Wilber/PFB]

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Two Cowboys have a shot at an individual national championship on Saturday, but both have their work cut out for them.

Daton Fix and Dustin Plott each started their journey at the NCAA Wrestling Championships 4-0 and will compete Saturday night for an individual title. The Cowboys haven’t had an individual champion since AJ Ferrari won the 197-pound bracket in 2021. But both Fix and Plott will have to avenge losses to obtain their glory.

OSU’s first five-time All-American, Fix wrestled a pair of tight matches Friday to make the final. Both of those bouts went to tiebreakers. He bested Iowa State’s Evan Frost 2-1 in the early session before inching past Michigan’s Dylan Ragusin 3-2 in the semifinals.

For his efforts, Fix will wrestle defending world champion Vito Arujau in Saturday’s final. Fix and Arujau met in the semifinals last season, where Arujau beat Fix 11-3. It was the only time in Fix’s career he was beat before the NCAA final at this event.

“We’ve gotta go execute,” OSU assistant Coleman Scott said. “… If he goes and executes and stays disciplined, he will change the result of last time. Daton, no matter what’s gone against him, what’s happened, he’s found ways to win.

“He’s gonna have to do better tomorrow. We know that, and he knows that.”

Plott has been on the other side of offensive firepower, as he scored 61 points in his four matches this weekend and secured bonus points in all of his wins.

He started his Friday with a 16-6 major-decision victory against Penn State’s Bernie Truax before steaming past 2 seed Isaiah Salazar of Minnesota 11-2 in the semifinals.

But like Fix, Plott will have to exercise some demons to stand atop the podium Saturday. He’ll wrestle Northern Iowa’s Parker Keckeisen in the final. Keckeisen has beaten Plott twice this season, including a 14-5 major-decision win in the Big 12 final.

“Parker’s a great opponent,” Plott said. “Gotten the better of me the first two times, for sure. Super excited to get to wrestle him again. That one at Big 12s, I did not want to be the last match with him this year. I put myself in the opportunity to go compete with him again. Just going to be myself, let everything hang out there and go compete.”

Izzak Olejnik will be the only Cowboy wrestling in Saturday’s morning session. Olejnik earned All-America status Friday and won four matches.

His blood-round bout with 5 seed Dean Hamiti was one of the best matches of the day. Olejnik entered the third period down 5-2 before escaping and taking Hamiti down in the frame. A Hamiti escape in the final minute sent the bout to sudden victory. And in that extra period, Olejnik took Hamiti down again to become a two-time All-American.

Olejnik then beat Nebraska’s Antrell Taylor in the next round. He’ll face Iowa’s Mike Caliendo on Saturday morning. A win moves Olejnik to the third-place bout. A loss puts him in the fifth-place match. Caliendo beat Olejnik 7-2 in the Cowboys’ dual against the Hawkeyes.

“His matches today, that blood-round match takes a lot of heart getting a third-period takedown and another one in overtime,” Scott said. “It’s not easy to do against a tough competitor. Just happy for him and where he’s at. We’re looking forward to getting a couple more wins. Won’t get easier tomorrow, I’ll tell you that.”

No one is catching Penn State in the team race, as the Nittany Lions end Day 2 with more than double the points of second-place Michigan. OSU is in eighth place on the team board going into the final day.

Coleman Scott Recaps the Day

Team Standings

Team Points
1 Penn State 148
2 Michigan 64.5
3 Iowa 60
T4 Arizona State 59.5
T4 Iowa State 59.5
6 Cornell 58.5
7 Ohio State 57
8 Oklahoma State 55
9 Virginia Tech 53
10 Nebraska 52

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