TULSA — For the first time, a college wrestling season will end before the championship match for Daton Fix.
Fix fell 11-3 in his semifinal matchup to Cornell’s Vito Arujau, meaning the best Oklahoma State’s best wrestler can do at the NCAA Championships in the BOK Center is third place. This is the first NCAA Tournament since 2018 where the Cowboys won’t have a wrestler in the finals. It’s just the fourth time since John Smith took over at OSU ahead of the 1992 season that OSU hasn’t had a wrestler in the finals.
Fix fought off a takedown for what seemed like an eternity in the first period before Arujau was finally able to secure it. Fix fought it off so long that it left him little time to score an escape, and Arujau went into the second period with a 2-0 lead. Arujau scored a reversal to start the second, which OSU’s corner unsuccessfully challenged. This time Fix was able to get on the board with an escape, but the bout went into the third period with Fix down 4-1.
Fix escaped to start the third but was taken down again, a rare sight all season. He escaped again, but down 6-2, Fix needed points quickly and wound up on his back with Arujau scoring another takedown and a pair of back points.
This was a matchup Seth Duckworth called to watch out for entering the tournament. A junior from New York, Arujau was 20-1 entering the tournament and had beaten Fix in freestyle a few years back.
Fix falls to 101-5 in his career. Three of those losses have come in the NCAA finals. Fix still earned All-American status Friday, becoming just the 15th four-time All-American in program history. He’ll wrestle Minnesota’s Aaron Nagao, the 8 seed, Saturday morning. A win will have Fix wrestling for third; a loss sees him wrestle for fifth.
After losing his quarterfinal match, OSU 174-pounder Dustin Plott earned All-American status with a 7-5 win in sudden victory against Utah Valley’s Demetrius Romero. It’s the second time in as many seasons Plott earned an All-American nod.
That win set the 5 seed Plott up for another match Friday night, where he beat Ohio State’s Ethan Smith, the 6 seed, 8-4. Plott scored a trio of takedowns in the match to advance.
Plott will start Saturday with a match against Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Lewis, the 3 seed. Plott went about it a different way, but like Fix, Plott can finish as high as third low as sixth. Plott finished sixth last season.