Oklahoma brings talented wrestling team into Junior National Duals at Oklahoma City University

This week, the state will have a chance to display some of its top prep talent against the best from around the country during the Junior National Duals at Oklahoma City University.
by Trent Shadid Published: June 24, 2014
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photo - Stillwater's Chandler Rogers celebrates his win over Lawton's Taylor Wattenbarger in the class 6A 170-pound match during the Oklahoma State wrestling championships at the State Fair Arena, Saturday, March 1. 2014. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Stillwater's Chandler Rogers celebrates his win over Lawton's Taylor Wattenbarger in the class 6A 170-pound match during the Oklahoma State wrestling championships at the State Fair Arena, Saturday, March 1. 2014. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

The brightest standouts among the underclassmen are Sand Springs’ Daton Fix (120 pounds) and Heritage Hall’s Kaden Gfeller (106 pounds). Both went undefeated and claimed state titles as freshman last season.

“(Fix and Gfeller) are not only representing Oklahoma, but they represented their age group for the United States in the Pan American Games this summer and won some gold medals,” Cook said. “Daton Fix is going to wrestle at the Cadet World Championships this year in Slovakia. Kids like those two don’t come along very often.”

Oklahoma’s strength as a team has traditionally been in freestyle, but Cook expects to compete with the best in both styles this week.

“In the past we’ve taken multiple teams in freestyle and sometimes in Greco,” Cook said. “This year we decided to change things up a little bit with bringing just one team to compete in both styles. We think we can perform a lot better than we have in Greco, which we’ve really never emphasized a whole lot from a team perspective.”

One area of concern for the Oklahoma team is depth. Competing in a dual tournament with teams from California, Minnesota, Michigan, New Jersey, and defending freestyle and Greco-Roman champion Illinois presents a challenge.

“To put things in perspective, there are more schools that offer wrestling in the city of Pittsburgh than in the entire state of Oklahoma,” Cook said. “So we don’t necessarily have the depth of the other states with bigger populations. But I feel like our top tier guys, our state champions can compete with anybody else’s state champions. As far as our tradition and our top guys, we’re second to none.”

by Trent Shadid
Copy Editor
Trent Shadid is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Weatherford, Okla., and attended Weatherford High School. Before joining The Oklahoman, he spent two seasons as an assistant wrestling coach at Weatherford High...
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