Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
top story topical

Daton Fix upset in NCAA semifinals; Kenny Monday’s son Quincy Monday enjoying trip back to Tulsa for NCAA tournament

  • Updated
  • 0

All week, it was practically pre-ordained that Oklahoma State star and Sand Springs native Daton Fix would reach the 133-pound final of the NCAA Championship and possibly win that first elusive title in his own backyard at the BOK Center.

The storyline continued that a third straight meeting in the finals with Penn State’s Roman Bravo-Young, the No. 1 seed, and this time, finally, No. 2 Fix would win it in his hometown.

Alas, sometimes reality flips the script and maybe this one focuses on Vito Arujau instead. It was the Cornell junior, the No. 3 seed, who delivered a masterful performance and defeated Fix in stunning fashion: an 11-3 major decision.

After taking a 2-0 lead into the second period, Arujau extended it to 4-1 after two. An escape point about 15 seconds into the third period brought Fix to within 4-2, but Arujau got another takedown with about 1:07 remaining to make it 6-2. Another Fix escape made it 6-3 but then a takedown and near-fall with 36 seconds left clinched it. Add another point for the riding time advantage and the final score of 11-3 looked impressive.

“I think he was a strong top wrestler, he was a tough ride,” Arujau said. “And if I didn't score any takedowns in the first, I would have been in real trouble. So at that point I knew I had to generate some action because I was going to be at a disadvantaged. I needed to just get the ball rolling. His neutral just kind of fell into where it was a bad match-up for him. He loves his control ties, and he loves being able to change levels and just guard and get in there.”

Arujau said he didn’t feel slighted that more people didn’t include him in their predictions.

“Roman and Daton did not ignore me,” said Arujau, who won his second straight EIWA Conference championship two weeks ago and is now 24-1 on the season. “They were fully aware I was a threat, and the public may not have been super-aware because, you know, I have been shaky in folkstyle. I have never made the finals before. I'm very happy for myself and my program that I'm able to represent us in the finals now.”

He even seemed to have some sympathy for interrupting the fairy tale storyline for Fix, acknowledging his history.

“It's reality of the NCAA Tournament,” said Arujau, whose previous best here was last year, when he finished third at 125 pounds. “We have to come in here and just do what you can. It's a 50-50 shot, but, yeah, that's just the luck of the draw, the harsh reality of our sport that there are winner and there are losers, and we can't always win.”

For a while, it looked like both sides of the equation would go up in smoke, as Bravo-Young fell behind early as well, also trailing 2-0 after one period of his semifinal match with Michael McGee of Arizona State, the No. 4 seed. It was 2-1 McGee until an escape point by Bravo-Young tied it with 1:10 remaining. Bravo-Young then went up 4-2 with a takedown with 25 seconds left, but an escape point and riding time advantage left the two tied and heading into overtime. Just 20 seconds into the sudden victory period, Bravo-Young executed a takedown to win 6-4.

“Didn't run out of gas, but keep telling myself to find a way to get it done,” Bravo-Young said of his thoughts late in the match. “To keep my head. No one is here to lose. We want to win. So it doesn't matter. It's a tough tournament.”

Bravo-Young reflected on Saturday night’s final being his last collegiate match.

“It's surreal,” said the two-time NCAA champion and five-time All-American. “There have been ups and downs, just a challenge. You know, you have to keep pushing. It's hard when people expect you to win all the time, but I think it's not done yet, but I think it's been a good career so far.”

Monday enjoys sort of homecoming in Tulsa

He never lived here himself, but for Quincy Monday, wrestling at the NCAA Championships is somewhat of a homecoming. Quincy may have grown up in North Carolina, but because his father Kenny Monday is from Tulsa and still has lots of family and friends here, being able to chase his dream of NCAA tournament success at the BOK Center is very special.

With a 10-4 victory over Michigan State’s Caleb Fish Friday, Quincy reached the NCAA semifinals at 165 pounds for Princeton.

“It’s great, it’s an amazing environment, very welcoming,” Monday said of being back in Tulsa. “All my family is here, so it feels like destiny, especially to have this legacy match. It means a lot to me, it means a lot to my family. I’m just grateful for the opportunity, grateful that it’s here in Tulsa for my senior year. It’s actually great too, because I haven’t been back in like five years, too, so for this to be able to bring me back to Tulsa, it’s awesome.”

After reaching the national final last year at 157 pounds, when he also won the EIWA Conference championship, Quincy moved up a weight to 165 this year. He reached the EIWA final two weeks ago, but lost a tough 6-5 decision to Cornell’s Julian Ramirez. Monday was on track to face the No. 4 seed Ramirez in the quarterfinals, but Fish beat Ramirez in the first round.

Monday defeated Minnesota’s Andrew Sparks in a 12-4 major decision in the first round and then took out No. 12 Izzak Olejnik of Northern Illinois, 4-1, in the second round Thursday night.

Of course, his legendary dad – who won four high school state championships for Booker T. Washington from 1977-80 and went on to win the 1984 NCAA national championship for Oklahoma State, as well as a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics and a silver in 1992 among many other accomplishments – has been a major influence on Quincy’s wrestling career.

“I can’t say enough how much of an impact he’s been,” Quincy said. “He was my coach growing up, until high school. He still advises me, gives me advice whenever I have a matchup. He’s instilled a belief system in me – you got to believe in yourself before anybody else does, so I think that’s played a big part in my success.”

In the semifinal Friday night against No. 1 seed David Carr, Quincy jumped out to a quick 5-2 lead in the first period, but Carr battled back to tie it in the second. After earning the riding time edge, a scoreless third period left Carr with the extra riding time point and a hard-fought 6-5 victory.

“What an awesome match with an opponent I respect a lot, Quincy Monday,” Carr said afterwards. “Just finding different ways to win, and my coaches said find ways to win. You're good on bottom, good on top. He's obviously good on his feet. This year I worked on being a complete wrestler, being good on all areas of the mat, scrambling, wrestling, top, bottom.”

Amazingly enough, their epic battle was reminiscent of the ones that each of their fathers engaged in back in the 1980s. Kenny Monday and Carr’s dad Nate had some close ones when they wrestled for Oklahoma State and Iowa State, respectively.

Quincy knows the history and has watched some of the battles. The dads split their matches 3-3, although Nate Carr won two national championships after defeating Kenny Monday in overtime in the finals.

“Really quick, powerful, and they definitely had a little mean streak going, they definitely didn’t like each other that much when they were competing and you could see that,” Quincy said of the dads. “They’re good friends now, of course, but just hard battles. Both guys definitely brought it, so we’re trying to bring the next legacy here, the next generation.”

“Obviously our dads have had some crazy history of matches,” added David Carr, whose father was in the Iowa State corner area during the match. “It's like written out of a movie, two of the most historic wrestlers, Kenny Monday and my dad, they battled in overtime, close matches. And that match came down to close matches. And I mean, you can't write it any better. I think it's God, his script, the way things fall.”

NCAA Wrestling National Championships

At BOK Center

Team Standings after Session 4

1. Penn State, 116.5; 2. Iowa, 77; 3. Cornell, 64; 4. Ohio State, 62; 5. Missouri, 55; T6. Michigan, 51; T6. Nebraska, 51; 8. Iowa State, 44; 9. NC State, 41.5; 10. Virginia Tech, 40.5; 11. Arizona State, 37.5; 12. North Carolina, 34.5; 13. South Dakota State, 34; 14. Minnesota, 29.5; T15. Northern Iowa, 29; T15. Princeton, 29; T15. Wisconsin, 29; 18. Purdue, 27; 19. Oklahoma State, 25; 20. Northwestern, 23.5; T21. Northern Colorado, 23; T21. Pittsburgh, 22.5; 23. Lehigh, 22.5; 24. North Dakota State, 21; 25. Air Force, 20


125: Lee (Iowa) m.d. Noto (Lehigh), 14-4; Ramos (Purdue) dec. Cardinale (West Virginia), 8-7; Cronin (Nebraska) sv-1 Ventresca (Virginia Tech), 3-1; Glory (Princeton) dec. Courtney (Arizona State), 8-4

133: Bravo-Young (Penn State) dec. Nagao (Minnesota), 4-1; McGee (Arizona State) dec. Orine (NC State), 8-2; Arujau (Cornell) dec. Latona (Virginia Tech), 8-5; Fix (Oklahoma State) dec. Byrd (Illinois), 6-3

141: Woods (Iowa) m.d. Hart (Missouri), 9-0; Hardy (Nebraska) dec. Filius (Purdue), 7-0; Bartlett (Penn State) tb-1 Matthews (Pittsburgh), 3-1; Alirez (Northern Colorado) dec. McNeil (North Carolina), 6-4

149: Diakomihalis (Cornell) dec. Murin (Iowa), 8-7; Van Ness (Penn State) dec. Rooks (Indiana), 10-7; Parco (Arizona State) dec. Mauller (Missouri), 4-3; Sasso (Ohio State) dec. Thomas (Northwestern), 2-1

157: O’Connor (North Carolina) m.d. Lewan (Michigan), 10-2: Humphreys (Lehigh) dec. Franek (North Dakota State), 5-2; Robb (Nebraska) dec. Cardenas (Stanford), 6-4; Haines (Penn State) p. Andonian (Virginia Tech), 6:12

165: Carr (Iowa State) dec. Griffith (Stanford), 2-1; Monday (Princeton) dec. Fish (Michigan State), 10-4; Amine (Michigan) dec. Himiti (Wisconsin), 3-2; O’Toole (Missouri) t.f. Kharchla (Ohio State), 7:00, 19-4

174: Starocci (Penn State) dec. O’Reilly (Minnesota), 5-2; Foca (Cornell) p. Plott (Oklahoma State), 1:54; Lewis (Virginia Tech) dec. Brands (Iowa), 2-0; Labriola (Nebraska) dec. Mocco (Missouri), 4-3

184: Keckeisen (Northern Iowa) dec. Salazar (Minnesota), 3-2; Munoz (Oregon State) sv-1 Coleman (Iowa State), 3-1; Brooks (Penn State) dec. Romero (Ohio State), 4-1; Hidlay (NC State) dec. Bolen (Virginia Tech), 5-0

197: Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh) dec. Allred (Nebraska), 5-3; Laird (Rider) dec. Braunagel (Illinois), 3-2; R. Elam (Missouri) dec. Smith (Maryland), 6-3; Sloan (South Dakota State) sv-1 Truax (Cal. Poly), 6-4

285: Parris (Michigan) m.d. Davison (Northwestern), 10-1; Cassioppi (Iowa) sv-1 Schultz (Arizona State), 3-1; Kerkvliet (Penn State), 4-0; Hendrickson (Air Force) m.d. Z. Elam (Missouri), 17-8


125: Ramos (Purdue) p. Lee (Iowa), 6:59; Glory (Princeton) dec. Cronin (Nebraska), 8-2

133: Bravo-Young (Penn State) sv-1 McGee (Arizona State), 6-4; Arujau (Cornell) m.d. Fix (Oklahoma State), 11-3

141: Woods (Iowa) m.d. Hardy (Nebraska), 11-1; Alirez (Northern Colorado) dec. Bartlett (Penn State), 6-2

149: Diakomihalis (Cornell) dec. Van Ness (Penn State), 8-3; Sasso (Ohio State) m.d. Parco (Arizona State), 14-2

157: O’Connor (North Carolina) dec. Humphreys (Lehigh), 4-3; Haines (Penn State) dec. Robb (Nebraska), 5-3

165: Carr (Iowa State) dec. Monday (Princeton), 6-5; O’Toole (Missouri) dec. Amine (Michigan), 6-0

174: Starocci (Penn State) dec. Foca (Cornell), 6-0; Labriola (Nebraska) tb-1 Lewis (Virginia Tech), 3-1

184: Keckeisen (Northern Iowa) dec. Munoz (Oregon State), 5-1; Brooks (Penn State) dec. Hidlay (NC State), 6-3

197: Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh) dec. Laird (Rider), 10-4; Sloan (South Dakota State) dec. R. Elam (Missouri), 7-2

285: Parris (Michigan) t.f. Cassioppi (Iowa), 5:12, 16-1; Kerkvliet (Penn State) dec. Hendrickson (Air Force), 4-2