AJ Ferrari, Oklahoma State’s true freshman phenom, became the third Cowboy to reach the semifinals at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
Ferrari fought off No. 5 seed Jacob Warner of Iowa, securing the riding time point for a 3-2 decision. It set up a matchup with No. 1-seeded Myles Amine of Michigan.
He joins sophomore Daton Fix and senior Boo Lewallen, who advanced to the final four of their respective weights – earning All-American status in the process – but did so in completely opposite ways.
Fix took down No. 8 seed Chris Cannon of Northwestern just 10 seconds into the third period from the top position.
It was his second-straight win by fall – after having never won by pin at an NCAA national tournament – and it was his third bonus-point victory of the tournament.
Fix will face No. 4-seeded Austin DeSanto of Iowa in the 133-pound semifinals, which are scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN 2.
Lewallen needed yet another overtime to reach the semifinals at 149 pounds.
After getting a buzzer-beating takedown for a win – and avoiding an upset – to close out Thursday’s action, Lewallen didn’t take as long in the quarterfinals against Iowa’s Max Murin.
The Cowboy wrestler collected the sudden victory along the edge of the mat in the first minute of overtime for a 6-4 sudden victory – which sparked Murin to throw a bit of a tantrum, throwing his head gear across the mat.
“I’m willing to do whatever to win,” said Lewallen, who had a swollen right eyebrow and lip from his match. “… This tournament’s just going to find out who the toughest guy is. I like to pride myself by the things that I’ve been through that empower me to be in this position that I’m in.”
Advancing to the semifinals guarantees Lewallen no worse than sixth in his final year at Oklahoma State.
Having dealt with multiple injuries during his career, the Yukon native earned All-American for the third time in his career – when counting last year’s NWCA first-team All-American recognition when the NCAA tournament was canceled due to COVID-19.
“It means a lot,” Lewallen said. “It’s not the goal, but it’s a good feeling. So be back tonight ready to rock.”
In consolation action, No. 21-seeded Trevor Mastrogiovanni upset the No. 11 seed by 6-0 decision to remain alive in his first tournament at 125 pounds. However, he lost his next match No. 19 Eric Barnett of Wisconsin by 7-3 decision.
Wyatt Sheets, who was a late addition to the tournament at 157 pounds, knocked off another top 20 seed after going from out of the tournament to the No. 33 seed when a wrestler withdrew. He beat South Dakota State’s Cade DeVos – who finished fourth in at the Big 12 tournament and was the No. 18 seed – by 6-3 decision.
Sheets followed up with a 6-4 decision over No. 26 seed Johnny Lovett of Central Michiga, to move him one win away from being an All-American. And that win may come easier than his past two.
Sheets is scheduled to go against Penn State’s Brady Berge, the No. 12 seed, in the next match, but Berge suffered an injury forfeit in his last match and reportedly had to be carried off the mat.
Travis Wittlake (165) also appears to have locked up All-American honors. With his 7-3 decision over No. 18 seed Izzak Olejnik of Northern Illinois, he advanced to the blood round where he is due to face Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Lewis, who announced Thursday night he would be out the remainder of the tournament after suffering an injury in the quarterfinals.
Senior Dakota Geer advanced to the blood round at 184 pounds with an 8-4 decision over Iowa State’s Samuel Colbray. He must get through Nebraska’s Taylor Venz, the eight seed, to earn All-American status.
At heavyweight, No. 29-seeded Austin Harris picked up a team point for the Pokes with a 7-4 decision over third-seeded Matt Stencel of Central Michigan. But then he got the Cowboys a few more with a pin of No. 11 seed Zach Elam of Missouri to reach the blood round. He faces Penn State’s Greg Kerkvliet, the No. 9 seed, for a shot at becoming an All-American.
The final session is set to start at 7 p.m.