Felix Takes Runner-up, Continues to Compete

By Ira Green
WVU Sports Information Office

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (February 11, 2009) – West Virginia University assistant wrestling coach Danny Felix recently competed at the 2009 Dave Schultz Memorial International Open in Colorado Springs, Colo., with the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club, and took runner-up at the 55kg/121-pound division. The field of competition consisted of some of the best wrestlers in the world and competitors from approximately 15 countries.

Felix, an accomplished wrestler who won the 2004 Dave Schulz Memorial International Open, has been training with the Mylan Olympic Development Program and said he has stayed true to his regimen even with the enhanced competition in this year’s field.

“My training hasn't changed. I've always known how to train,” Felix said. “I've added an aspect of diet and that's made a world of a difference. I also started working on my mental game with Enrique Montiel at the Olympic Training Center. We're trying to figure out how to not just have the physical strength and quickness, but have the whole ball of wax. We're trying to get everything out of my performance. I think I have lacked that a little bit in the past. I want to use every resource I have.”

In his opening match, Felix, a No. 3 seed, was faced with the test of competing against a younger wrestler in Carlos Vasquez of Ecuador, a 2007 bronze medalist at the Junior World Championships in Beijing at 121 pounds. Felix started the competition off right, posting a 2-0, 3-0 victory.

Continuing his winning ways, Felix won by decision over France’s Lokman Kaplanbaba, a successful competitor in the wrestling community. Kaplanbaba recently took seventh place at the 2008 Olympic Games at the 55 kg division. Prior to that, Kaplanbaba, had earned runner-up at the 2008 Freestyle France Championships and tied for third at the 10th International Juniors Freestyle Wrestling Tournament in 2007. Nevertheless, Felix was able to use experience to defeat Kaplanbaba, 1-0, 3-0.

“I haven’t wrestled these particular guys that I did this weekend, but I've wrestled enough internationally to know what to expect,” Felix said. “Their styles are different - smart, mat saavy. Your tactics really don't change - you do what you do. You stay solid, stick to the basics and hopefully what you're doing in practice works.”

In the quarterfinal match, Felix took on Germany’s Tim Schleicher, who earned the bronze medal at the 121-pound division at the 2007 Junior World Championships in Beijing, China. Felix had no problems working his way to a 3-0 mark in the tournament, registering a 1-0, 2-0 decision to advance the finals.

Rightfully so, Felix drew the best wrestler in the bracket in the championship match, Russia’s Makhmud Magomedov.

Magomedov won the 2008 New York Athletic Club International Open, took third in the last year’s Shamil Umakhanov International tournament and is the 2003 European Cadet Champion and 2006 European Junior Champion. He reached the finals after pinning India’s Rahul Bala Aware in 58 seconds.

Despite Felix winning the first period, 1-0, Magomedov went on to take the next two sessions (3-1, 5-1) for the title. “This was my first tournament,” Felix admitted. “It's put me on track. It's given me a marker to see where I'm at right now. It's built my confidence and I did gain some confidence from the experience.”

Felix will return to action for two weeks overseas; one week in Bulgaria and then will follow that with a week of competition in Russia.

Felix, who is in his first season as a full-time assistant coach at WVU, took third place at the 2008 U.S. Nationals and placed sixth the year before.

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