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Oklahoma State Wrestling

The Double Play by Fix Highlights Bout at the Ballpark for Cowboys

February 12, 2022

The long-anticipated Bout at the Ballpark did prove to be a glorious night for wrestling. The lack of a strong television partner kept it somewhat under the major sports radar. It’s unfortunate that ESPN or even the Texas Rangers, host for the event in beautiful Globe Life Field, their television partner Bally Sports didn’t bring the event to a greater television audience as the event was streamed. Team USA, men and women, finished perfect on the evening as the Iranian Olympic team were a no-show after disagreements over some visas for their party. Oklahoma State got off to a great start in the renewal of college wrestling’s greatest rivalry, but methodical Iowa took a 23-9 win that was blown up by major decisions in the final two weights.

“It was a great experience and I think in the end, the guys that won will remember this as a great experience and the ones that lost and didn’t do a whole lot, they’ve got some thinking to do on the way home,” Oklahoma State head coach John Smith said bringing back again the thrill of victory and the agony, especially in this dual of defeat.

Pokes Report
Mike Gundy at the Bout talking to OSU AD Chad Weiberg

There was some star power on hand with some celebrities such as Cowboys football head coach Mike Gundy.

The start was good for Oklahoma State, but not without some major drama. Coming off an ankle sprain over a week ago in a win over South Dakota State, Trevor Mastrogiovanni made it back for the Cowboys and Iowa went with unranked Jesse Ybarra. The first period was scoreless. The second period Ybarra ducked under and got the first points of the Bout at the Ballpark with a takedown and after Mastrogiovanni escaped it was 2-1 Ybarra after two periods.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Marogiovanni slides down for the first takedown.

In the third period Ybarra went over the top with a tackle takedown and a 4-1 lead. After the escape, Mastrogiovanni got his first takedown with a move on the upper body slide down to the legs and it was 4-4. Mastrogiovanni gave Ybarra the escape for a 5-4 lead. Then at the buzzer Mastrogiovanni, who was working it on top, got the winning takedown. The officials reviewed it and it was clearly in time. Mastrogiovanni had the 6-5 decision and Oklahoma State led 3-0.

The crowd of 12,098 fans in the home of the Texas Rangers made some noise. Most of the fans were down on the field mat side milling around and few up in the stands as they were some distance from the mats in the set up.

As planned, Fix opened the night as the first Cowboy on the mat, but wearing the red, white, and blue singlet of Team USA. He wasted no time taking Giusseppe Rea down and then repeatedly executed moves racking up the points. Fix blitzed the Ecuadorian with a 10-0 win by technical superiority in the first period allowing him to move on to what he called his “most important” object of the event Austin DeSanto and Iowa.

Fix wasted little time on that project as he got in on a single leg and turned it into a first period takedown and a 2-0 lead. DeSanto got the escape, and it was 2-1 lead. DeSanto got an escape in both the second period and early in the third period to push the score to 3-2. Late in the

third period DeSanto tried to get a headlock and Fix moved behind him and got the takedown at the edge of the mat. DeSanto got the escape, but time expired and Fix won the decision 5-3.

“I wasn’t crazy about it, honestly,” Fix said of his win over DeSanto. “I thought I should have had more takedowns. I thought I should have had three or four takedowns. It is kind of the same thing. I can’t accept that either. I have to be able to take more risks.”

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Fix on top of Iowa’s DeSanto in his 5-3 win.

Still, this was the best part of the night for the Pokes as they led the dual 6-0. Fix ranked No. 2 in the nation at 133-pounds made wrestling history becoming the first wrestler to represent his country and his school in the same day! Fix’ double dip came on a mat right around where the major league shortstops and second basemen turn their double plays.

“Anytime I get to represent my country it is an honor,” Fix said of wrestling both for the USA and OSU. “I know not everybody gets the chance to do that. I never take anything like that for granted. I was able to stand up there with guys that are World champions and Olympic champions and they are at the pinnacle of the sport.”

Iowa got their first win in the dual with one they were expected to take as No. 2-ranked John Eierman wrestled conservatively and controlled the match winning a 7-1 decision to make it 6-3 with Oklahoma State still in front.

The match at 149-pounds was highly anticipated as No. 12-ranked Kaden Gfeller and Iowa’s No. 10-ranked Max Murin looked fairly evenly matched. The first period made it feel that way as Murin got a takedown, but Gfeller countered with a roll into a reversal to tie it up 2-2. The period ended with Murin leading after an escape 3-2.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Iowa wrestlers won  matches in a row without a lot of fireworks.

Murin rode out the second period and really cemented the riding point time going to the third. Murin got an escape to open the third and took a 4-2 lead. Gfeller was working hard while Murin wrestled defensively and got away with it. The riding time was 1:57 and the 5-2 decision brought the two collegiate wrestling Godzillas back to even in the dual at 6-6.

Iowa took the lead on another conservative effort. It was almost like Iowa was measuring just how they could win the match and minimize any opportunity to expose themselves to an upset. No. 12-ranked Kaleb Young got an early takedown and then finished out a 4-1 decision to take the lead in the dual for the first time at 9-6.

At 165-pounds Oklahoma State needed a win and instead Iowa’s No. 5 Alex Marinelli, who came in 16-1 for the season used a blast double-leg takedown to go up 2-0 on No. 8 Travis Wittlake, who has been struggling. The match saw a couple of escapes by Wittlake and one by Marinelli and that was the scoring as Iowa took a 3-2 decision and pushed the dual score to 12-6.

At 174-pounds the Cowboys still had a chance to get back in the match but they needed No. 10 Dustin Plott to do something against No. 2 Michael Kemerer. It wasn’t happening as Kemerer got a quick takedown. In fact, the Hawkeyes wrestler that pushed his season record to 7-1 got two takedowns and in between did a lot of riding as there was 3:43 in riding time advantage and a 6-1 decision to take Iowa to a 15-6 lead in the dual.

Dakota Geer came to the rescue for the Cowboys and for the fans, who at this point had to be a little bored. The Oklahoma State No. 11-ranked wrestler scrambled for a first period takedown and then rode out Iowa’s Abe Assad. Geer opened the second period with an escape and then used a double leg takedown for a 5-0 lead.

Geer rode through the second period and had 2:18 in riding time. In the third period Geer added another takedown and pushed his lead to 8-1 and was riding Assad with the riding time assured. It was a major decision, bonus points the Cowboys badly needed until Assad got an escape at the end of the match to make the score 9-2 and just a decision as the score went to 15-9.

“I thought I was going to get the ride out and I let him out,” lamented Geer afterwards. “You have to stay focused for the whole seven minutes.”

There were just two matches left and Iowa a heavy favorite in both of them. The Cowboys needed a miracle. They needed their best and most explosive wrestler but he was at home.

“It’s disappointing that they (fans) didn’t get to see all the best wrestlers,” Smith said of not having Ferrari.

With no top-ranked A.J. Ferrari as he stayed home still recovering from that head-on collision from several weeks ago, the Cowboys were in trouble with young Gavin Stika against Iowa’s No. 4-Jacob Warner. Warner dominated, again methodically, for an 11-3 major decision. It was the first bonus points of the dual and Iowa lead 19-9.

Iowa’s No. 4- ranked heavyweight Tony Cassioppi had the weight advantage over the Cowboys slender big man in Luke Surber and he took full advantage of it with another match full of riding time for the Hawkeyes as Cassioppi was on top for a 9-1 major decision and the final score of 23-9. It went about the way it looked like it was going to on paper and Oklahoma State once unbeaten at 10-0 slips to 11-4 losing four of their last five duals.

Iowa goes to 13-1 and they have now won six of the last eight between the two schools and the all-time series is now 29-24-2.

The Cowboys next wrestle Bucknell on Friday inside Gallagher-Iba Arena at 7 p.m.

Discussion from...

The Double Play by Fix Highlights Bout at the Ballpark for Cowboys

775 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 7 mo ago by TUSKAPOKE
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The Cowboys were competitive. Hawkeyes had more firepower. Obviously Ferrari would have helped.
There's plenty of time for the Pokes to get better before tournament time. Fans need to get out and go
to the home matches coming up.
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