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OSU Wrestling: What’s Similar in All of Daton Fix’s NCAA Championships Losses

Digging into the details on Fix’s few career losses.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

There’s essentially only one thing Daton Fix hasn’t accomplished during his Oklahoma State wrestling career: win an individual NCAA championship.

Fix, a 133-pound redshirt senior, will compete in his fifth NCAA Wrestling Championships, which starts Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri. He’s reached All-American status in every NCAA tournament he’s appeared in with three trips to the finals and a fourth-place finish last year.

Away from the national stage, Fix is the only five-time conference champion in Big 12 and OSU history, having never lost a match against a conference opponent, let alone at the Big 12 Wrestling Championships. But despite such flawless success in the conference tournament, Fix has slipped up at every NCAA tournament so far.

Fix is 16-5 at the NCAA Wrestling Championships and has made it to at least the semifinals every trip, with last year being the first time he didn’t reach the finals. But those five tournament losses, which account for all but one of Fix’s career losses, are eerily similar.

In all six of Fix’s career losses, he failed to score an offensive point via takedown or reversal. That also means Fix has never lost a match that he scored an offensive point in.

Fix has failed to score offensively nine times in his entire career, with a 3-6 record in those matches. Five of those losses were in the NCAA tournament (three in the finals), with the outlier being Fix’s first career loss as a redshirt freshman in 2018 to then-No. 4 Micky Phillipi of Pittsburgh. Phillipi beat Fix 3-1 in a dual at Pittsburgh thanks to a late takedown.

Two of Fix’s three wins without an offensive point also came during his redshirt-freshman season. He beat then-No. 3 Nick Suriano of Rutgers 3-2 in a second tiebreaker and rode out then-No. 3 Austin DeSanto of Iowa the entire third period to win 2-0. The third such win was this season when Fix bumped up to 141 pounds the only time in his career and beat Missouri’s Josh Edmond 2-1 in a dual at Columbia.

Here’s a look at Fix’s other losses.

March 23, 2019 vs. Nick Suriano (Rutgers) in NCAA final: This is the most infamous match of Fix’s career and is still a touchy subject among Cowboys fans. As a redshirt freshman, Fix made the NCAA final in his first try, ultimately losing to Suriano 4-2 in a second sudden victory. Neither wrestler scored a takedown until Suriano did so to win the title during a controversial sequence. Fix’s points came via escape in the second period and a stalling point in overtime.

March 20, 2021 vs. Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State) in NCAA final: Fix lost back-to-back final appearances with another sudden-victory loss, this time 4-2 to Bravo-Young. Just like Fix’s first finals match, it was a scoreless first period and neither wrestler scored a takedown until it was to clinch the title. Fix scored via two stalling points late in the third period.

March 19, 2022 vs. Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State) in NCAA final: Bravo-Young became the only wrestler to ever beat Fix twice with a 3-2 decision. Bravo-Young scored an early takedown in the first period before Fix quickly escaped. Fix also escaped in the second period. Bravo-Young escaped in the third period to win.

March 17, 2023 vs. Vito Arujau (Cornell) in NCAA semifinal: Fix failed to reach the NCAA finals for the first time in his career after dropping an 11-3 major decision to Arujau in the semis. Arujau was aggressive with nothing to lose, as Fix scored with an escape in the second period and two escapes in the third.

March 18, 2023 vs. Michael McGee (Arizona State) in NCAA consolation final: Fix lost more than one match in a tournament for the first time in his career with a 2-1 decision to McGee. Fix’s only point came from an escape in the third period.

Similarities: You don’t have to be John Smith to notice the common denominator in these matches. Fix’s style is already Dean Heil-esque, but he seemed to be even more conservative in these losses. That’s proven not only by the lack of offensive production, but also the fact Fix scored one point total (via escape) in a first period in every loss. That tends to only happen in instances Fix may not be comfortable, such as bumping up a weight in a dual like he did earlier this season. That win against DeSanto during Fix’s redshirt-freshman season was the only time Fix didn’t score a takedown in a home match at Gallagher-Iba Arena, where Fix never lost at 36-0.

Takeaway: The simple takeaway is that Fix should be more aggressive in big matches, like he’s sure to be in this weekend. But it’s not that easy, or else a seven-year veteran like Fix with the winningest coach in OSU history in his corner would have implemented that game plan by now.

The way Fix wrestles has earned him a 119-6 career record, giving him a .952 career winning percentage. However, Fix did joke last week that winning a few more matches would have made his OSU career even better. Either way, though, getting too far out of his box wouldn’t be smart for Fix. Go with what has won you 119 matches, not with what could win you one.

But if Fix reaches his fourth NCAA final this weekend, scoring a takedown at any point would be huge in things playing out in his favor. Another takeaway from those matches is that even the best guys in the country can’t seem to keep Fix under control for long, as he usually escapes quickly. So giving up takedowns doesn’t seem to be detrimental for Fix, but getting a takedown himself has meant a guaranteed win so far.

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