A banged up cowboy wrestling squad is making the trip up to New Jersey to wrestle Princeton and Rutgers this weekend.
There are some monster matchups in both these that have big implications for the duals, but also have major impacts down the road and into NCAA tournament seeding.
Rutgers isn’t til Sunday, but we’ll start there as one of the more anticipated match-ups in all of wrestling will be going down. Daton Fix is taking on NCAA runner up Nick Suriano. These are two of the biggest young names in the sport and two of the best 133 pounders in the country. They had this marathon match in high school that many consider one of the best high school matches of all time.
In 2014, Nick Suriano and Daton Fix met in the longest match in high school history.
Sunday they will meet live at Noon CT for the first time since that match. pic.twitter.com/yFL0XsjGJ0
— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) January 9, 2019
The margins in that first match were razor thin. It will be no different in this one Sunday, but Daton has improved a lot and may be the better wrestler now. The one thing that will be interesting to see is if Fix can finish his shots. I think he’ll be able to get to legs on Suriano, but Suriano is physically really strong and he uses that strength to make himself hard to finish on. If Fix can figure that out I think he takes it. Either way it should be a great match.
Another young freshman with a big weekend is Kaden Gfeller. He’ll wrestle the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked wrestlers in the country back to back with Matthew Kolodzik up first on Saturday and Anthony Ashnault on Sunday. The betting odds favor Kolodzik, but I wouldn’t write Gfeller off. Gfeller is up from 141 so his weight cut is not really an issue. Kolodzik on the other hand has a big match Friday and will have to get back down after. That helps Kaden. Gfeller is also a gamer that gets up for big matches. With the style that he brings these are definitely going to be fun, regardless of the outcome.
Nick Piccininni will be wrestling Princeton’s stud freshman Pat Glory on Saturday. Glory’s good and the line-makers at BetDSI have this as a pick em. I don’t see it that way. I think Nick has improved a lot this season. These three things I think have really helped him.
- He didn’t place at NCAA’s last year. I think that has given him a little extra motivation for this year.
- He was the main guy prepping Daton Fix in the room as he got ready for Final X and Junior Worlds last summer. Those two pushing each-other does a lot for both of them
- He’s visibly bigger and stronger.
That combination along with some technical improvements in his game has him wrestling at a very high clip this season. I actually think he rolls here.
Andrew Shomers will return to the lineup for the first time since going down with an injury at the Reno tournament. With Chandler Rogers out look for Jonce Blaylock to jump to 165. Shomers will take on Quincy Monday on Saturday vs. Princeton. Quincy is the son of Oklahoma State legend Kenny Monday. He’ll follow that up with John Van Brill of Rutgers who’s ranked in most polls. John Smith has said they’re still sorting out who will be the starter at this weight, so this is audition time for both these guys as they’re both looking to claim that spot.
Keep an eye on is the transition of Jacobe Smith and Dakota Geer to their new weight classes. Geer has a chance to make a major statement at 197 if he can knock off Pat Brucki vs. Princeton. Smith can do similar with Rutgers Gravina.
Here’s a little from coach Smith on it from Tuesday
Both duals will be at 12:00 with Princeton on Saturday followed by Rutgers on Sunday.
How to watch
How to listen
- Stillwater radio will broadcast both. Princeton will be on 94.3 with Rutgers on 93.7.