Fresh off his Southern Scuffle championship, Oklahoma State redshirt freshman Kaden Gfeller is heading into a 1-2 punch.
Gfeller, who has bumped up from his 141-pound backup role to 149-pound starter due to Boo Lewallen’s injury, will face the top 2 ranked wrestlers at the higher weight on consecutive days this weekend in New Jersey. First up is Princeton’s Matthew Kolodzik, who is ranked No. 1, on Saturday then Rutgers’ Anthony Ashnault on Sunday.
The No. 5-ranked Gfeller is 19-0 (14 bonus) this season with six tournament victories, including a 3-2 decision over No. 6 Mitch Finesilver of Duke in the Scuffle finals.
The Cowboys will be without Lewallen and two other All-Americans when they wrestle No. 25 Princeton and No. 19 Rutgers for the first time in program history.
Chandler Rogers (165) and Preston Weigel (197) are out with injuries, but OSU has a plan in place as those two try to work their way back.
Dakota Geer, who is projected to move up to 197 next season, has filled in for Weigel at the weight while Jacobe Smith, an All-American at 174, slides up to 184. Rogers, who’s ranked No. 10 and is a two-time All-American, suffered an injury at the Scuffle. Cowboys head coach John Smith said earlier this week he’ll have Andrew Shomers, Jonce Blaylock and even Wyatt Sheets available for 157 and 165.
The No. 13-ranked Geer, like Gfeller, will wrestle two ranked opponents this weekend in No. 3 Patrick Brucki of Princeton and No. 12 Nick Gravina of Rutgers.
Joe Smith, a former two-time All-American, will make his season dual debut this weekend at 174. Joe Smith competed at the weight at the Reno Tournament of Champions and Scuffle. He took second at the Scuffle to No. 1-ranked Mark Hall of Penn State. Hall, a two-time NCAA finalist and 2017 NCAA champion, scored a takedown and nearfall in the final 20 seconds for a 5-1 decision over Joe Smith.
The No. 6-ranked Daton Fix (133) will meet No. 2 Nick Suriano, the NCAA runner-up at 125 last season, in a highly-anticipated rematch of the longest high school match on record at 32:52 minutes at Who’s Number One in 2015. Fix is ready, and Suriano is too as evidence by the Rutgers grappler hyping up his home crowd after winning a match Friday night against Wisconsin.
Breaking News: He’s already here. pic.twitter.com/NjnbpWEK2S— OSU Cowboy Wrestling (@CowboyWrestling) January 12, 2019
Ranked vs. Ranked matches
125: No. 4 Nick Piccininni vs. No. 12 Patrick Glory
149: No. 5 Kaden Gfeller vs. No. 1 Matthew Kolodzik
197: No. 13 Dakota Greer vs. No. 3 Patrick Brucki
133: No. 6 Daton Fix vs. No. 2 Nick Suriano
149: No. 5 Kaden Gfeller vs. No. 2 Anthony Ashnault
184: No. 13 Dakota Greer vs. No. 12 Nick Gravina
Opponents: No. 25 Princeton (3-3, 1-0), No. 19 Rutgers (6-2, 0-1)
Time: Noon, Central
Dates: Jan. 12 and 13
Location: Jadwin Gymnasium (Princeton), Rutgers Athletic Center (Rutgers)
Watch: ESPN+ (Princeton), FloWrestling (Rutgers)
Radio: Princeton-Pete 94.3 FM & Rutgers-93.7 KSPI-FM
Live Stats: Trackwrestling.com