Cox looks to be the youngest Tiger to All-American since Ben Askren in 2004.
March 20, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY - After one full day of Championship wrestling in Oklahoma City, five Tigers still remain alive in this year's tournament. Junior Drake Houdashelt and true freshman J'den Cox went a perfect 2-0 on the day and will be featured in Friday morning's quarterfinals with the rest down to their last life in the wrestleback bracket. Mizzou is in for 16th with 10.5team points. Three-time defending champion Penn State sits atop the field with 26.5 points after day one.
Top-seed Drake Houdashelt majored South Dakota State's Alex Kocer 12-3 in the first round at 149 pounds to set up a MAC-title rematch with Old Dominion's Alex Richardson. Mizzou's junior-captain turned in a 13-0 major decision for the fourth victory of the season over his ODU counterpart, scoring four early points on a takedown and two-point nearfall. Houdashelt will wrestle No. 9 Eric Grajales of Michigan in tomorrow morning's quarterfinal, with the winner locking up All-American honors.
J'den Cox showed off his offensive firepower in a 19-6 major decision over No. 15 Braden Atwood (Purdue). Cox built a cozy 5-0 lead just a little over a minute in after a takedown and ensuing backpoints. The Tiger standout would add eight more plus a riding time point in the third period to punch his quarterfinal ticket.
Cox, seeded No. 2 at 197 pounds, has been on a roll in postseason play, posting over 10 points in his past five matches. He looks to become the first freshman in Mizzou Wrestling history to win a national title, and the youngest since Mizzou-great Ben Askren to All-American.
Three Tiger freshmen look to make some noise on the wrestleback side of the bracket after going 1-1 on the day. Matt Manley lost a close match to top-seed Joe Colon (UNI) 5-1 after topping Mack McGuire of Kent State. Joey Lavallee fell by pin to Oklahoma State's No. 3 Alex Dieringer. Lavion Mayes kept his All-American hopes alive with a 15-5 disposal of Avery Garner fromUtah Valley in the second session.
Senior Zach Toal (165) and junior Mikey England (174) saw their seasons come to an end Thursday night. Toal's career as a Tiger comes to a close after four years where the Ohio-native posted a 93-50 career record. England finishes 2014 with a 19-16 record in his first season at Mizzou.
The quarterfinals and wrestleback rounds are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Friday morning and can be seen on ESPNU and through the WatchESPN app on mobile devices. For more news and notes on the Tigers in Oklahoma City, follow the squad on Facebook and Twitter.
149 - No. 1 Drake Houdashelt
Champ. Round 1: No. 1 Drake Houdashelt major decision over Alex Kocer (SDSU), 12-3.
Champ. Round 2: No. 1 Drake Houdashelt major decision over No. 16 Alex Richardson (ODU), 13-0.
HWT - Devin Mellon
Champ. Round 1: No. 9 Connor Medberry (Wisconsin) major decision over Devin Mellon, 11-2.
Cons. Round 1: Ty Walz (Virginia Tech) decision over Devin Mellon in sudden victory 1, 6-4.
SESSION III MATCHUPS
133: (Cons. Round 2) Matt Manley vs. Mark Gray (Cornell)
141: (Cons. Round 2) Lavion Mayes vs. Laike Gardner (Lehigh)
149: (Champ. Quarterfinals) No. 1 Drake Houdashelt vs. No. 9 Eric Grajales (Michigan)
157: (Cons. Round 2) No. 14 Joey Lavallee vs. Johnny Greisheimer (Edinboro)
197: (Champ. Quarterfinals) No. 2 J'den Cox vs. Conner Hartmann (Duke)
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