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White, Fix, Piccinninni and Gfeller win Titles at the Southern Scuffle

The Cowboys finish as runner ups behind Penn State

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What a time to be alive as a Cowboy wrestling fan! The Cowboys fell to Penn State as a team at the Southern Scuffle, but there’s clearly a new energy with this program that is a lot of fun to watch.

OSU went into this down three starters with Preston Weigel, Boo Lewallen, and Andrew Shomers all out. Unfortunately they left down two more as Kaid Brock and Chandler Rogers both suffered injuries as well.

Even with all that adversity the Cowboys wrestled well. The future seems bright as some young faces in Kaden Gfeller and Daton Fix both remain undefeated and some guys that have been in the room a while look ready to challenge as well.

The Winners

I’m starting to believe Kaden Gfeller has never wrestled a boring match in his life, and this tournament may have cemented that thought even further.

Going for his second Southern Scuffle title in as many years, the undersized Cowboy 149 pounder (He’s up from 141 and filling in for the injured Boo Lewallen) took out two ranked wrestlers including No. 6 Mitch Finesilver.

One natural concern with Kaden was how he would handle wrestling bigger guys as he’s up a weight. Finesilver was a good test of that as he actually cuts a lot and was once a 157, probably as big a 149 as Gfeller will see. In one of the stranger matches I’ve seen recently, Kaden got a hands to the face call and was down 1-0 heading into the second. He took top, locked a cradle and got the turn.

The refs gave him two, but it seemed to look as though he should’ve gotten the full four back points. OSU challenged and no additional points were given. Kaden went down and struggled to get out. He escaped just before he gave up riding time, a call that is reviewed and confirmed and he walked away with a 3-2 title.

Derek White wrestled a great tournament. He looked solid all the way to the semifinals where he matched up with Penn State All-American Nick Nevills. He dominated Nevills 4-0, picking up a load of riding time in the process.

In the final he wrestled PSU’s other heavyweight and likely starter Anthony Cassar. After a first period take down for White they exchanged escapes, and White ended up with a 3-2 win over Cassar. A really big win for White that gives him criteria over Cassar for seeding at the NCAA tournament, which is huge.

Daton Fix and Nick Piccinnini dominated 125 and 133. Neither received a ton of resistance throughout the tournament, and the only match where they didn’t get bonus points — something that’s been missing from the program in recent years — was Fix’ final where he picked up a 6-3 decision over Austin Gomez of Iowa State.

OSU has probably the best 125-133 pound tandem in the country right now with these two.

The Placers

Joe Smith is back folks, and he is going to be a force at 174 pounds. He pretty comfortably tore through the bracket and made the final, taking out All-American David Mcfadden in the process.

In the final he matched up with NCAA champion and No. 1 ranked Mark Hall. He gave Hall everything he wanted and then some. He was getting in on some shots and really looked like he might pull the upset early. At the very end of regulation he had this exchange that dropped the match, but Joe seems to clearly be back, and it looks like he will be a big asset for the Cowboys.

Dakota Geer and Jacobe Smith were both wrestling at new weight classes with Jacobe up to 184 and Dakota wrestling at 197. Both didn’t quite wrestle to their seeds and finished fourth. I think with both of these guys there is going to be a bit of a transition period where they are adjusting to the new weight classes. Between putting on a little size and getting used to wrestling bigger guys hopefully they’ll improve.

Jonce Blaylock stepped in at 157 with Andrew Shomers out and wrestled pretty well. Unseeded, he finished sixth dropping a rematch of the Reno tournament final against All-American Paul Fox for fifth place.

The Injuries

The Cowboys are beat up. Not only did they come in with a number of guys out, they suffered injuries at 141 and 165 as well. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious, but Kaid Brock hurt his ankle and Chandler Rogers suffered a hamstring injury.

I don’t know the extent of either injury, but do know Rogers was on crutches the rest of the weekend. This is a deep team, but they can ill afford to lose anyone else.

Results

125: Nick Piccininni (1st)
133: Daton Fix (1st)
141: Kaid Brock (DNP)
149: Kaden Gfeller (1st), Dusty Hone (DNP)
157: Jonce Blaylock (6th) Wyatt Sheets (DNP)
165: Chandler Rogers (6th)
174: Joe Smith (2nd) Christian Bahl (DNP)
184: Jacobe Smith (4th) Bear Hughes (DNP)
197: Dakota Geer (4th), Austin Harris (DNP)
HWT: Derek White (1st)

Team Results

Penn State – 216.5
Oklahoma State – 188.5
Iowa State – 104
Stanford – 82.5
Navy – 75.5