MU wrestling goes 1-1 in ranked tri-dual against Northern Iowa and Virginia Tech,
No. 3 MU wrestling hosted No. 17 Northern Iowa and No. 10 Virginia Tech on Saturday at the Hearnes Center, defeating the Panthers 25-16 and falling to the Hokies 18-16. With plenty of competition throughout the day, here’s a rundown of how the duals went.
Missouri comes from behind to beat Northern IowaMissouri started the day by defeating conference opponent Northern Iowa 25-16.
The Tigers did not have it easy, however. Northern Iowa got victories in the first three matches, including a fall victory from Brody Teske over Missouri’s Noah Surtin in the 125-pound match, to take a 13-0 lead.
“We knew they would come out physical, but we didn’t respond to it well,” Missouri coach Brian Smith said. “We were just not doing our game plan, and it was frustrating.”
Missouri bounced right back with three wins in a row. After decision victories by Josh Edmond and Jarrett Jacques, freshman Keegan O’Toole further aided the Tigers’ comeback with a fall victory over Cayd Lara in the 165-pound bout to make the score 13-12.
Northern Iowa didn’t back down easily, as an 11-10 decision victory from Patrick Schoenfelder over Peyton Mocco in the 174-pound match brought the Panthers’ lead up to four.
Redshirt sophomore Jeremiah Kent changed that. In the 184-pound bout, the Columbia product got the fall victory over Dajun Johnson to put Missouri up 18-16.
After a major decision victory by Rocky Elam and a 5-2 decision victory by Zach Elam, the Tigers secured their fourth victory against a Big 12 opponent this season.
Virginia Tech upsets MU in back-and-forth dualIn the highest-ranked matchup at the Hearnes Center since 2019, Virginia Tech (3-1, 0-0 ACC) pulled off an upset over the Tigers in an 18-16 victory.
The Tigers found the board first after Surtin scored a fall victory over Sam Latona to put Missouri up 6-0.
Over the next four matches, Virginia Tech got three decision victories over the Tigers, with Missouri’s only win during that stretch coming from Allan Hart in the 141-pound match, to even the score at 9.
Missouri quickly grabbed the lead back after O’Toole secured a 12-4 major victory over Clayton Ulrey to put the Tigers up 13-9. O’Toole is the only Tiger to score bonus points in all five of his matches this season.
“That’s what he does,” Smith said. “And it was tough because the kid (Ulrey) was really just told to go out there and not give up bonus points. And O’Toole finds ways to keep scoring and scoring.”
The match of the day was in the 174-pound bout between Mocco and Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Lewis. Mocco and Lewis brought the match to a 5-5 tie to force a sudden death.
With time running out in sudden death, Mocco made a move on the 2019 NCAA champion that Smith thought was a takedown. After the refs didn’t call the takedown, he threw the challenge block on the mat but said he regretted it as soon as he threw it.
“I know the refs never change their calls,” he said. “And we gave Lewis a three-minute break, and I felt like he was on the ropes.”
After the end of the period, Lewis rallied for four points to secure the 9-6 sudden victory over Mocco, closing the gap to one.
“He (Mocco) kept himself in it and gave himself an opportunity to win,” Smith said. “He was wrestling one of the top kids in the country and really had him on the ropes and came close to beating him.”
Virginia Tech took the lead after Hunter Bolen recorded a 6-3 decision victory over Kent, but Missouri took it right back after Rocky Elam’s 8-2 decision victory against Dakota Howard. With one match left, Missouri led 16-15.
It all came down to the 285-pound match between Zach Elam and Nathan Traxler. The two ended regular time with one point apiece, forcing another sudden death.
In the sudden death, Traxler got the match and dual-winning takedown to secure the 3-1 sudden victory and 18-16 victory over the Tigers.
“That was a tough battle,” Smith said. “They’re a good team. I knew it coming in, and I knew we had to get some big wins. Just lost some tough ones today.”
Missouri (4-1, 4-0 Big 12) will next face No. 6 NC State on Dec. 20 in Niceville, Florida, to wrestle in the Journeyman Duals.
Virginia Tech makes easy work of Panthers
Virginia Tech got its night started off on the right foot, winning nine of its 10 matches en route to a 39-3 victory over Northern Iowa (0-2, 0-1 Big 12).
The Panthers got on the board first, when Teske got a 7-4 decision victory over Latona. Teske was the only Panther to win both of his matches on the day.
After that match, it was all Hokies. Virginia Tech won its final nine matches, including four matches ending in falls.