The biggest question surrounding Oklahoma State’s wrestling team last offseason was whether or not Daton Fix would take an Olympic redshirt.
Fast forward to today and the same question exists for the 2020-21 season.
Fix met the requirements to take an Olympic redshirt for 2020, but USA Wrestling’s Olympic Trials and the Tokyo Olympics were postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus. The redshirt sophomore was looking to claim the 57-kilogram [125 pounds] spot on USA Wrestling’s men’s freestyle team for the Olympics.
The NCAA hasn’t made a decision on whether they’ll allow athletes to take an Olympic redshirt for 2021, OSU coach John Smith said on the Pistols Firing podcast Thursday. Even if the NCAA is willing to grant Fix another Olympic redshirt, Smith doesn’t think it’d be beneficial for Fix to take it.
“For Daton, I don’t see anyway he needs to be taking another Olympic redshirt,” said Smith, who won six consecutive World titles [two Olympic, four World Championships] at 62 kilograms [136 pounds] in men’s freestyle from 1988 to 1992. “You can count the number of matches pretty much on one hand where he’s wrestled since the World Championships last year.
“It’s real important if you’re going to make an Olympic team, you’re going to need 30 matches [in] folkstyle, build your body and make weight several times and get back into a routine. Because he’s been off of it for so long and that really concerns me. For the health of his wrestling and where he needs to be mentally, [he] definitely for sure needs to go through a folkstyle season next year.”
Fix went 34-2 at 133 pounds during the 2018-19 season and lost 4-2 in a second sudden victory in a controversial NCAA championship match to Rutgers’ Nick Suriano.
With Fix out of the lineup this past season, true freshman Reece Witcraft stepped into the 133 spot and went 18-10 and qualified for the NCAA tournament. If Fix returns to OSU’s lineup next season, he could cut down to 125 pounds or return to 133. A return to 133 would likely open the door for incoming freshman Jakason Burks to start at 125 and have Witcraft redshirt.