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What the US Open Results Mean for Cowboy Wrestling Going Forward



Four current, former, or future Cowboy wrestlers won titles at the US Open over the weekend and a number of others competed. Here’s what the results mean for them going forward.

Senior Level

At the Senior level Austin Schafer picked up a title, Alex Dieringer and Daton Fix finished second, Eddie Klimara finished seventh and Jon Morrison defaulted out. All of these guys qualified for the World Team Trials in Rochester, MN on May 18-20. Top seven finishers at the US Open at each weight class qualify, and Morrison already qualified by virtue of winning the Bill Farrell Memorial.

With Schafer’s win he’s automatically into the finals of the World Team Trials. He’ll wrestle whoever navigates the bracket in a best of three series to determine the winner of the tournament. The rest of these guys will be dropped into the actual bracket and have to make their way through the tournament and into best two of three series in the finals. For any of them that win the trials tournament they’ll move onto Final X which is another best of three series to determine who will represent the US at the World Championships.

With Dieringer, he should be able to win the World Team Trials Tournament fairly comfortably. His biggest test will be NCAA Champ Zahid Valencia, who is a great wrestler, but I really don’t see being able to contend with Alex. If Dieringer wins the trials tournament he’ll have Kyle Dake again at the Final X.

Daton Fix will be a must watch at the World Team Trials Tournament. He’s trying to make the Senior team, which is unheard of for a kid his age. After his loss in the US Open final he’ll now have to get through a bracket that includes NCAA champ Spencer Lee. If he beats Lee his best of three will be against Tony Ramos, who he wrestled in the finals last weekend. Tony won on criteria, but it was a very tight match. Who wins that series? I don’t really know, but it should be fun to watch.

If Daton wins there he moves onto Final X and a series with World Silver Medalist Thomas Gilman. If Daton does not make the Senior team he’s still eligible to wrestle Juniors. He can request a wrestle-off with the Junior Trials champion to decide the Junior rep at the World Championships. Interesting note: If he wins all the way through and qualifies he’ll go Iowa-Iowa-Iowa by beating Lee, Ramos, and Gilman.

Jon Morrison and Eddie Klimara will have to navigate their brackets to make the team. Klimara’s a longshot, but for him to qualify and make it to the trials is pretty solid for him. Jon won the Bill Farrell Memorial and has been ranked as high as third. His weight class here is fairly wide open. He’s wrestled well enough at times that he definitely “could” win it with a good tournament here, but there are 5-6 guys that you could say the same thing about, so he’ll have to wrestle well.

One other interesting saga I would add is Jordan Oliver’s road after a doping suspension. Flo wants him in. I have no idea if it will happen.

Junior Level

With the Junior level guys they don’t have the “Final X” part of their trials. The winner of the tournament in Rochester is the World Team Member, so the three OSU guys that won titles are in a very good spot.

Probably the most dominant guy in the entire US Open at the Junior level was OSU commit Daniel Kerkvliet Jr. He’s still eligible to wrestle Cadets and told us the other day he’s going to try and make both teams.

He really wasn’t touched all weekend, and I’d expect him to dominate his way to a title at the trials and make both the Junior and Cadet World Teams.

The other two Junior Freestyle qualifiers are Kaden Gfeller and Travis Wittlake Jr. Neither wrestled their best at the US Open, but both have qualified. They’ll simply have to navigate their brackets and win the best of three against the US Open champs at their weights and they’ll make the team.

The ability to do that is there with both of these guys. They’ll have to wrestle better than they did this past weekend, but Gfeller is on the level of US Open Champion Dom Demas, and Wittlake was a Junior champ last year. Again the talent’s there, they just have to put it together in a few weeks. You really want to see that happen with all of them because that World level competition can really help develop these guys.

Austin Harris and Bear Hughes both won Greco titles at the US Open, so similar to Kerkvliet they’re automatically into the best of three final and await the winner of the trials tournament. Greco’s a little different than freestyle, it’s all upper body, but the experience of making a World Team for these two young freshman would be huge for them. It opens them up to a lot of training opportunities and other things that could really bring them along over the next few years.


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