Bonus Points Power Tigers to Third-Straight Conference Title

MUTIGERS.COM J'den Cox was named the 'Most Outstanding Wrestler' after claiming the 197-pound title
MUTIGERS.COM
J'den Cox was named the 'Most Outstanding Wrestler' after claiming the 197-pound title
MUTIGERS.COM

March 9, 2014

KENT, Ohio - For the third time in as many years, the Tigers are conference champions. Mizzou posted 118.5 team points en route to the 2014 Mid-American Conference title, their second title since joining the MAC as an affiliate member last year. The squad placed all 10 grapplers in the top six, and crowned two individual champions in Drake Houdashelt and J'den Cox. Seven Tigers booked their trips to the NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City throughout the tournament.

"I'm really proud of the way this team kept fighting," said Head Coach Brian Smith following the Championships. "To have five freshman in the lineup and to keep competing at a high level really shows our maturity as a program. I'm shocked, but I shouldn't be. We believe in this team. They showed everyone why today."

After a couple of tough losses early in the placement rounds for first, third and fifth, Houdashelt turned the tide with an overtime win against Alex Richardson (ODU) in the championship bout. The victory clinched his third individual title since entering the Tigers starting lineup in 2012. His takedown with 16 seconds left in sudden victory gave the Tigers some life.

With Northern Iowa holding a comfortable lead in team points, Mizzou needed a lot of help. They decided to create their own, winning placement matches at 157, 174 and 184 with bonus points, closing the gap on their new MAC-rivals.

True freshman Joey Lavallee followed up Houdashelt's title with a pin over Tristan Warner (ODU) at 4:13. Then, after a Zach Toal decision over Shaun'Qae McMurtry (NIU) in a rematch from Saturday, Mikey England pinned two-seed Caleb Marsh from Kent State, a guy he fell to just a couple of weeks ago 2-0. Suddenly, the Tigers were within striking distance.

 

 

"I honestly thought we were out of the team race after the first few weight classes, said Smith. "We started to focus on getting guys to qualify for NCAAs, and we really thought it was over. But they never stopped battling."

Down two team points to UNI, Cody Johnston took the mat against Ryan Garringer of Ohio in the 184-pound fifth place match. On the adjacent mat, UNI had All-American Ryan Loder wrestling in the 184-pound championship. A win by decision and a Loder loss would tie the scores up, however a win in bonus points would make things interesting. Johnston, who was notified Wednesday that he would replace the injured Johnny Eblen, would proceed to tech fall Garringer in 5:21, 18-2. And then, Loder lost to ODU's Jack Dechow in sudden victory. Mizzou had taken a 115.5 - 114.0 lead over UNI, their first lead of the tournament.

J'den Cox's major decision in the title match over Phil Wellington (Ohio) closed the door on the rest of the nine-team field. Cox dominated Wellington in a 10-1 bout to avenge his lone MAC loss from back in December. His major gave Mizzou an extra team point to seal it, giving the Tigers their second-consecutive MAC title. Cox went a perfect 3-0 on the weekend winning by a technical fall and two major decisions. The conference named Mizzou's true freshman the tournament's `Most Outstanding Wrestler' following his performance.

Junior Devin Mellon would finish second at heavyweight after falling to Ohio's Jeremy Johnson. Johnson ranks No. 11 in the nation at 285 pounds.

All 10 Mizzou starters placed in the top-six in their respective brackets. Seven grapplers are headed to the NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City later this month following their MAC finishes. The other three still have a shot to get a wild card bid, which will be announced later this week by the NCAA.

Last year at the Mid-American Conference tournament, the Missouri Wrestling program dominated the eight-team field on their way to being crowned MAC Champions in their first year as an affiliate member of the conference. The Tigers dethroned Central Michigan, who had been MAC Champions for 11-straight seasons. Mizzou shattered the previously held team score high at the Championships, posting 136.0 points while crowning four individual champions.

TEAM SCORES

1. Missouri .........................118.5
2. Northern Iowa ................116
3. Old Dominion .................97

4. Ohio ...............................94.5
5. Central Michigan............85.5
6. Kent State ......................67
7. Eastern Michigan ...........57.5
8. Northern Illinois..............50
9. Buffalo............................12.5

RESULTS
125 - Barlow McGhee (Record: 1-3) - 6th Place
Quarterfinals: No. 4 Corey Keener (CMU) decision over No. 5 Barlow McGhee (MIZZ) in SV1, 3-1.
Consolation Rd 2: No. 5 Barlow McGhee (MIZZ) decision over No. 8 Del Vinas (KSU), 4-2.
Consolation Semis: No. 3 Brandon Jeske (ODU) decision over No. 5 Barlow McGhee (MIZZ), 5-3.
5th Place Match: No. 6 Kevon Powell (OU) decision over No. 5 Barlow McGhee (MIZZ), 3-1.

133 - Matt Manley (Record: 1-3) - 6th Place
Quarterfinals: No. 5 Matt Manley (MIZZ) decision over No. 4 Mack McGuire (KSU) in SV1, 5-3.
Semifinals: No. 1 Joe Colon (UNI) major decision over No. 5 Matt Manley (MIZZ), 13-5.
Consolation Semis: No. 6 Nick Smith (NIU) fall over No. 5 Matt Manley (MIZZ) at 4:08.
5th Place Match: No. 3 Vincent Pizzuto (EMU) decision over No. 5 Matt Manley (MIZZ), 6-2.

141 - No. 18 Lavion Mayes (Record: 2-2) - 4th Place - AUTOMATIC QUALIFIER
Quarterfinals: No. 4 Lavion Mayes (MIZZ) decision over No. 5 Tyler Small (KSU) in SV1, 4-2.
Semifinals: No. 1 Chris Mecate (ODU) decision over No. 4 Lavion Mayes (MIZZ), 4-3.
Consolation Semis: No. 4 Lavion Mayes (MIZZ) decision over No. 7 Nick Flannery (UB), 4-3.
3rd Place Match: No. 2 Zach Horan (CMU) fall over No. 4 Lavion Mayes (MIZZ) at 1:27.

149 - No. 1 Drake Houdashelt (Record: 3-0) - CHAMPION - AUTOMATIC QUALIFIER
Quarterfinals: No. 2 Drake Houdashelt (MIZZ) major decision over No. 7 Scott Mattingly (CMU), 15-6.
Semifinals: No. 2 Drake Houdashelt (MIZZ) major decision over No. 3 Mike DePalma (KSU), 8-0.
CHAMPIONSHIP: No. 2 Drake Houdashelt (MIZZ) decision over No. 3 Alex Richardson (ODU) in SV1, 3-1.

157 - No. 18 Joey Lavallee (Record: 3-1) - 3rd Place - AUTOMATIC QUALIFIER
Quarterfinals: No. 3 Joey Lavallee (MIZZ) decision over No. 6 Brandon Zeerip (EMU), 6-4.
Semifinals: No. 2 Luke Smith (CMU) decision over No. 3 Joey Lavallee (MIZZ), 1-0.
Consolation Semis: No. 3 Joey Lavallee (MIZZ) decision over No. 5 Spartak Chino (OU), 6-1.
3rd Place Match: No. 3 Joey Lavallee (MIZZ) fall over No. 4 Tristan Warner (ODU) at 4:13.

165 - No. 12 Zach Toal (Record: 4-1) - 3rd Place - AUTOMATIC QUALIFIER
Quarterfinals: No. 7 Shaun'Qae McMurtry (NIU) decision over No. 2 Zach Toal (MIZZ) in SV1, 5-3.
Consolation Rd 1: No. 2 Zach Toal (MIZZ) fall over No. 8 Jake Campana (UB) at 1:47.
Consolation Rd 2: No. 2 Zach Toal (MIZZ) major decision over No. 6 Devin Geoghegan, 10-2.
Consolation Semis: No. 2 Zach Toal (MIZZ) decision over No. 4 Nick Becker (CMU), 8-2.
3rd Place Match: No. 2 Zach Toal (MIZZ) decision over No. 7 Shaun'Qae McMurtry (NIU), 8-2.

174 - Mikey England (Record: 3-2) - 5th Place - AUTOMATIC QUALIFIER
Quarterfinals: No. 2 Mike Ottinger (CMU) decision over No. 7 Mikey England (MIZZ), 5-4.
Consolation Rd 1: No. 7 Mikey England (MIZZ) major decision over No. 8 Rrok Ndokaj (UB), 10-2.
Consolation Rd 2: No. 7 Mikey England (MIZZ) fall over No. 6 Jacob Davis (EMU) at 2:53.
Consolation Semis: No. 4 Cody Caldwell (UNI) decision over No. 7 Mikey England (MIZZ), 3-2.
5th: Place Match: No. 7 Mikey England (MIZZ) fall over No. 2 Caleb Marsh (KSU) at 6:05.

184 - Cody Johnston (Record: 2-2) - 5th Place
Quarterfinals: No. 4 Cody Johnston (MIZZ) major decision over No. 5 Anthony Lock (UB), 10-1.
Semifinals: No. 1 Jack Dechow (ODU) decision over No. 4 Cody Johnston (MIZZ), 8-3.
Consolation Semis: No. 6 Craig Kelliher (CMU) decision over No. 4 Cody Johnston (MIZZ), 8-4.
5th Place Match: No. 4 Cody Johnston (MIZZ) technical fall over No. 2 Caleb Marsh (KSU) at 5:21, 18-2.

197 - No. 2 J'den Cox (Record: 3-0) - CHAMPION - AUTOMATIC QUALIFIER
Quarterfinals: No. 2 J'den Cox (MIZZ) technical fall over No. 7 Jackson Lewis (CMU) at 6:25, 21-6.
Semifinals: No. 2 J'den Cox (MIZZ) major decision over Shawn Scott (NIU), 11-1.
CHAMPIONSHIP: No. 2 J'den Cox (MIZZ) major decision over No. 1 Phil Wellington (OU), 10-1.

HWT - Devin Mellon (Record: 2-1) - 2nd Place - AUTOMATIC QUALIFIER
Quarterfinals: No. 2 Devin Mellon (MIZZ) decision over No. 7 Mimmo Lytle (KSU) in TB1, 3-2.
Semifinals: No. 2 Devin Mellon (MIZZ) decision over No. 6 Matt Tourdot (ODU), 4-1.
CHAMPIONSHIP: No. 1 Jeremy Johnson (OU) decision over No. 2 Devin Mellon (MIZZ), 7-1.

WHAT'S NEXT
Following this weekend's MAC Conference championships, stay tuned with the program as the squad prepares for the 2014 NCAA Championships. This year's NCAAs will take place on March 20-22, 2014, at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

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