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OSU Wrestling: A Look at Kaden Gfeller as He Takes Over for Boo Lewallen at 149

The new starter at 149 is pretty good for OSU.

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Boo Lewallen unfortunately opened his season with an injury that John Smith has said will keep him out from 3-6 weeks.

Kaden Gfeller will be taking over in place of the injured Lewallen, so I thought I’d take a look at what the Cowboys are getting with Gfeller.

Gfeller is a four-time state champion out of Heritage Hall High school in Oklahoma City. He came in as the No. 15 overall recruit in the 2017 class. Last year he took a redshirt year behind two-time NCAA champion Dean Heil.

His redshirt year and first few weeks of this season have been pretty impressive. The Open Mat ranked him as the top redshirt freshmen last season. These are some of his top wins so far (he went 21-4 in his redshirt season … and 133-0 in high school):

  • Nick Lee (Penn State All-American)
  • Tommy Thorn (Minnesota All-American)
  • Kanen Storr (Michigan)
  • Luke Karam (Lehigh)

Storr and Karam have been nationally ranked off and on throughout their early careers, and his win over Nick Lee in the finals of the Southern Scuffle really woke a lot of people up to what he could do at this level. Lee finished fifth at the NCAA tournament last season and was an All-American.

These are his only losses so far in his college career!

  • Kevin Jack (NC State All-American)
  • Jaydin Eierman (Missouri All-American)
  • Dean Heil (OSU two-time NCAA champ)

That’s it! A two-time NCAA champ, and two All-Americans are the only wrestlers that have beat Gfeller in an official college match so far.

I’ve spoken with some of his former coaches, and others that have wrestled with him and know him well. The general consensus seems to be that he’s a guy that really steps it up when he’s actually out on the mat and under the lights. He jumps levels when he goes from wrestling in the room to being out in the spotlight.

Some may see that as a negative and that he needs to be doing more in practice. Some may see it as a positive and that he just knows himself and how to build up and put it all out when it really counts. Personally, I think it’s a bit of a wash that could go either way. At the high level these guys are at, knowing how to peak at the right time and wrestle well when it counts is crucial, but they also need to get all they can out of practice. So it really could go either way.

To start the season there was serious concern about depth almost being a bit of a problem because there was so much of it and it would be tough to find a spot for everyone. Now, as Gfeller has shown at 149, it’s a key positive that the Cowboys would be struggling without.

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