STILLWATER – Oklahoma State wrestler Daton Fix and former Cowboy Jordan Oliver fell just short of making the United States Senior World Team Friday, dropping close matches in their best-of-three series finales at Final X Stillwater.
Fix, the 2021 world silver medalist at 61 kg, was an automatic qualifier to Final X, while Seth Gross earned the right to challenge Fix by winning the World Team Trials in May.
In the first match, Fix scored the only point of the first period with a push out of Gross. The lead extended to 5-0 early in the second period as Fix forced another step out, which also resulted in a caution call, and added the first takedown of the match. Gross stormed back to tie the match at five with a takedown and three push-outs, including the last one coming with eight seconds to go in the match. With the score tied at 5 after regulation, the caution call on Gross would serve as the criteria factor that was the difference in the match as Fix would take round one.
The second bout was more of the same as Fix got out to a 3-1 lead in the first period. However, Gross would force four more step outs in the second period alone to take a 5-4 decision and tie the series at one win each.
In the deciding bout, Fix got out to another early lead, but Gross responded quickly by tying the match at 4-4 in the second period. Fix took a 5-4 lead after a step out point, but from there it was all Gross as he would go on to take the match 9-5 and secure his spot on the world team.
With no automatic bid into Final X at 70 kg, Oliver and Retherford qualified for Final X by advancing to the finals of the World Team Trials. A two-time national champion for Oklahoma State, Oliver was looking for his first bid to the World Championships.
His return to Gallagher-Iba Arena was met with a large applause from the crowd, but was spoiled by Retherford in the first match. Tied at 3-3 with 22 seconds to go in the match, Oliver and Retherford met with a body lock and headed toward the edge of the mat. Retherford won the position as a four-point throw on the edge of the mat was the difference in the match. An unsuccessful challenge from the Oliver corner resulted in an 8-3 decision in favor of Retherford.
The Cowboy great would bounce back in round two as Oliver broke a 1-1 tie with a takedown after catching Retherford’s ankle. A wild scramble resulted in two points for each wrestler to make the score 5-3, but Oliver was able to hold off a final attack from Retherford to take the second match.
Trailing 4-0 late in the third match, Oliver mounted a comeback with a takedown and push out point, but it was not enough as Retherford would hang on for a 4-3 decision.
The rest of the 2022 U.S. Senior World Team will be decided on June 8 at Final X New York and compete at the Senior World Championships in Belgrade, Serbia in September.