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Recap: Cowboys, Cyclones Tight Atop Team Leaderboard at Big 12 Championships

Iowa State leads the team race 129.5-119.5.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]


TULSA — Big 12 wrestling is full of affiliate members, but the conference’s 2024 title is going to come down to a pair of full-time members: the Cowboys or Cyclones.

Iowa State has a 129.5-119.5 lead on Oklahoma State after the opening two sessions of the Big 12 Championships in the BOK Center, but the title will be decided on Sunday.

“We still want to win it,” OSU coach John Smith said. “Been a few years after Day 1 we had [119.5] points on the board. A lot of progress. A lot of maturity.”

The Cyclones will have five wrestlers in Sunday’s finals. The Cowboys will have four. Only one of those bouts will feature a Cowboy-vs.-Cyclone matchup, and good for the Pokes, it comes at 133 pounds.

Daton Fix will take on Iowa State’s Evan Frost in that 133-pound final. Fix started his day with an 18-3 technical fall against North Dakota State’s Fernando Barreto before pinning Wyoming’s Garrett Ricks in the quarterfinals. Fix’s semifinal match against South Dakota State’s Derrick Cardinal proved more challenging, but Fix still won the bout 4-0.

Fix is already a four-time Big 12 champion and hasn’t lost at this event. He wrestled Frost in dual action in January, where Fix won via an 11-3 major decision.

Troy Spratley, Jordan Williams and Dustin Plott join Fix as finalists.

Spratley advanced to the final off a tightly contested semifinal against Iowa State’s Kysen Terukina. Terukina entered the tournament as the 6 seed but pulled off an upset against 3 seed Stevo Poulin (Northern Colorado) to make it to the semifinals. Spratley’s semifinal bout with Terukina went to sudden victory, where Spratley won 2-1 because Terukina fled the mat.

Spratley will face Wyoming’s Jore Volk in the final. The two met all the way back in December, where Volk beat Spratley 5-1. Based on seeding, though, Spratley is the favorite heading into this rematch, as he is the 2 seed and Volk is the 5 seed.

“He’s going to come out slow, so I gotta put the pace on him tomorrow and go out there to score f—ing points,” Spratley said. “Excuse my language.”

OSU’s big mover of the day was Williams. A redshirt freshman, Williams makes his first Big 12 final as a 4 seed after upsetting Iowa State’s Casey Swiderski, the top seed, in the semis. It was a dramatic match. Williams got a takedown in the first period and entered the third with a 3-2 lead. Williams started the third period with an escape and a second takedown, but in a scramble where Swiderski was trying to escape, Williams got dropped on a shoulder and a lengthy injury timeout ensued. 

That happened with about a minute to wrestle, leading to an action-packed final 60 or so seconds. Swiderski got a takedown, cutting Williams’ lead to 7-5. Williams escaped to build an 8-5 cushion, but with Swiderski pushing the pace, Williams was hit with a pair of stall calls that each gave Swiderski a point. Swiderski kept pushing forward, as the Iowa State fans that made the trip hollered for a third stalling point, but it wasn’t given. Williams survived 8-7.

Williams will wrestle 3 seed Ty Watters, out of West Virginia, in the finals. Williams didn’t wrestle in the Cowboys’ dual with West Virginia earlier this season, but Watters beat Sammy Alvarez 4-2 in that dual.

“Another match,” Williams said. “Not gonna make it too big. Not gonna overlook it. Just keep going at the pace that I’m going at.”

Dustin Plott steamrolled his side of the 184-pound bracket. He pinned OU’s Giuseppe Hoose. He beat West Virginia’s Dennis Robin with a tech fall. Then in the semis Plott mauled Air Force’s Sam Wolf with another tech fall.

The bonus points were great for the Cowboys’ team score, and the results set up a rematch for Plott against Northern Iowa’s Parker Keckeisen. Keckeisen is unbeaten this season, and that includes a 12-6 win against Plott in January.

“I’ve been wanting this one since he beat me in Gallagher, and I get it now,” Plott said. “Super excited.”

Tagen Jamison, Izzak Olejnik and Brayden Thompson all made the semis for the Cowboys but fell in those matches. Teague Travis, Luke Surber and Konner Doucet bowed out before the semis but are still alive in the consolation bracket.

Surber had a disappointing start to his tournament, as he got caught in a headlock and pinned in his opening match, but he battled back to earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Championships. He had a sneaky important win in the consolation bracket against Iowa State’s Julien Broderson.

Surber’s 8-2 win in that match eliminated the first Cyclone from the festivities, meaning ISU can’t score any more team points at the weight. Meanwhile, all 10 Cowboys are still wrestling and have a shot of at least third at their weight.

“We got four in the finals, we got six still left in consolations that doesn’t have a chance to move forward all the way to third — that’s big,” Smith said. “We put ourselves in that position — that’s good. Good to see us get two freshmen in the finals.

“Let’s go win matches — bonus if we can. I think right now it’s still about winning matches with this team.”

John Smith Interview

Team Standings

Rank Team Points
1 Iowa State 129.5
2 Oklahoma State 119.5
3 Missouri 96
4 South Dakota State 92.5
5 Northern Iowa 85
6 West Virginia 73
7 Wyoming 55.5
8 Oklahoma 53.5
9 Air Force 38.5
10 North Dakota State 28
11 Northern Colorado 26
12 Utah Valley 20
13 California Baptist 16

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