EAST LANSING, Mich. — Eight Oklahoma wrestlers earned top-five finishes at the Michigan State Open on Sunday. The OU wrestling team’s season-opening event took place at Jenison Field House on Michigan State’s campus.
The Sooners were led by senior Mike Longo's runner-up finish in the 141-pound bracket. Fellow seniors Yoanse Mejias (174 pounds) and Andrew Dixon (197 pounds) each earned third place, while redshirt freshman Justin Thomas (157 pounds) and senior Dawaylon Barnes (165 pounds) took third. Redshirt sophomore Christian Moody (125 pounds), redshirt junior Jake Rubio (133 pounds) and junior Davion Jeffries (149 pounds) each placed fifth in their respective weight classes.
"Our team's made some improvements," OU head coach Lou Rosselli said. "Some are getting a lot better, and we just need to keep working, keep growing and improving and learning as we go. I think the competition was good. A lot of guys got a lot of matches. Next week's a new week, and we've just got to keep grinding, getting better, and improving."
Longo opened his senior season with four consecutive wins to advance to the final match in his bracket. He downed Manchester University's Chase Wilson by a 9-2 decision followed by a 13-3 major decision over Dylan Thurston of Illinois. A 5-4 decision in the third round sent him to the semifinals, where he defeated Central Michigan's William Mason Smith, 6-3, to reach the finals. He narrowly fell to Michigan State's Javier Gasca III by a 4-3 decision to finish second.
After starting the day with a first-round bye, Mejias claimed a 5-3 decision over Johnny Sebastian of Northwestern in the quarterfinals. He lost by a 10-2 major decision in the semifinals before downing Wisconsin's Ryan Christensen in a 9-3 decision. In the third-place bout, Mejias won by 3-2 decision over Christian Brucki of Central Michigan.
Dixon also received a first-round bye. He downed Mason Reinhardt (Wisconsin) by 3-1 decision in the first match of his senior season, but Dixon fell in the quarterfinals, 4-3, to Central Michigan's Jordan Atienza. He won his next three consolation matches with a 6-0 decision, 3-1 decision, and 3-1 decision in sudden victory to advance to the third place match, where he faced a rematch with Atienza. The match went to overtime, where Dixon won by fall in 7:12.
Justin Thomas claimed fourth, beginning with a 15-6 major decision over Arizona State's Andres Gandara. Justin Thomas dropped his second bout to Cole Wysocki (Purdue) by 6-4 decision. He claimed 4-2, 3-1, 8-3 and 8-6 decisions in the consolation bracket to advance to the third-place match, where Arizona State's Christian Pagdilao won by rule.
Barnes opened the tournament with back-to-back wins, the first a 3-1 decision over Anthony Daily (Notre Dame Ohio) and the second a 5-1 decision over Michael Sepke (Northwestern). He dropped his quarterfinal match to Evan Wick of Wisconsin but earned two more consecutive wins (8-0 major decision, 6-3 decision) to qualify for the third-place bout, which Wick won by rule.
After receiving a bye through the first round of the 125-pound bracket, Moody earned an exciting 3-1 win in sudden victory over Drew Hildebrandt (Central Michigan). In the semifinal bout, Moody narrowly fell to Purdue’s Devin Schroder, 9-8. Moody placed fifth after injury defaulting in his first consolation match followed by his opponent forfeiting the fifth-place match.
In the 133-pound bracket, Rubio also received a first-round bye. He defeated Wisconsin’s Michael Cullen by 2-1 decision in the second round before falling in a 6-4 decision to Ashland University’s Jerry Fenner III. Rubio won his first two consolation matches with a 9-0 major decision and a 6-2 decision, but was pinned in 6:35 in his next match with Ali Naser (Arizona State). He earned fifth after his final opponent forfeited.
After a first-round bye, Jeffries stormed to a 13-0 major decision over Roger Devin (Findlay) followed by a 10-2 major decision over Austin Thompson (Michigan State). Jeffries dropped matches to Justin Oliver (10-3) and Joshua Maruca (Arizona State) to move into the fifth-place bout, where his opponent forfeited.
Redshirt junior Noah Teaney went 3-2 at the tournament, opening the event with a 7-1 decision over Purdue’s Kyle Todrank. After dropping a 6-3 decision to Zander Wick of Purdue, Teaney won two matches in the consolation bracket: a 16-1 technical fall over Purdue’s Austin Singer and a 11-9 decision in a competitive match with Jordan Napier of Manchester University. Teaney’s run was ended when he was pinned by Michigan’s Malik Amine.
Redshirt freshman Jeremy Thomas opened the event with a sudden-victory 5-3 decision over Alonzo Turner (Findlay) before he pinned Tyler Grimsley of Olivet College in 55 seconds. He then dropped back-to-back decisions (10-6, 6-1) and was eliminated.
Sophomore Dalton Duffield dropped two decisions on Sunday, the first coming to Purdue’s Devin Schroder, 7-1. That afternoon, Duffield fell 8-5 to Indiana’s Liam Cronin.
Redshirt freshman Clay Vincent competed in the freshman/sophomore division on Sunday. He was defeated by a 22-6 technical fall in his first bout against Paul Konrath, an unattached wrestler from the University of Wisconsin. In his consolation match, Vincent was defeated by unattached Indiana wrestler Michael De La Pena, 5-2.
Redshirt junior Jared Schieber, who opened his day with a bye in the first round, narrowly dropped two overtime matches. In the second round, Arizona State’s Oliver Pierce recorded a takedown in sudden victory to defeat Schieber, 3-1. In Schieber’s first consolation match, he was taken down by Beau Minnick to fall 3-1 in the first sudden victory period.
In his first collegiate match, true freshman Connor Webb was defeated by Central Michigan’s Newton Smerchek in a 3-1 decision. In his consolation bout, Webb fell to Ben Stone of Wisconsin, 7-1.
The Sooners return to action on Saturday, Nov. 11 when they head to Troy, N. Y., for the Journeymen/ASICS Collegiate Invitational.