Houdashelt was a 2013 All-American after reaching the semifinal round in Des Moines, Iowa
March 12, 2014
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The NCAA has announced all 330 qualifiers for the 2014 NCAA Championships to be held in Oklahoma City, Okla., starting next Thursday, March 20. Eight bids out of the 330 have been awarded to University of Missouri grapplers.
Like last year, the NCAA began announcing the Division I Championship fields by weight class starting at 12 p.m. with the 285-pound qualifiers. Weight classes were announced in descending order every 30 minutes. After securing its third consecutive conference championship this past weekend, Missouri had seven Tiger grapplers receiving automatic bids to the national tournament. Redshirt freshman Matt Manley also received an At Large bid for this year's tournament.
Junior Drake Houdashelt will enter as the top-seed overall at 149 pounds in weight class with a lot of talent in the top-five. Houdashelt has posted an impressive 34-1 record on the season. He was voted MAC Wrestler of the Week twice this season and captured his third-consecutive conference championship as a Tiger this past weekend at the conference championships. This will be Houdashelt's third straight NCAA appearance after automatically qualifying in 2012 and 2013.
True freshman J'den Cox has had an outstanding in his first year on the Missouri squad going 33-2 overall and wrestling his way to an MAC Championship title at 197 pounds. It became official Wednesday evening that Cox will own the No. 2 seed for his weight class as he looks to be the first freshman in Mizzou Wrestling history to be a national champion.
Freshman Joey Lavallee picked up a No. 14 seed for the 157-pound weight class. Lavallee went 27-9 this year and 3-1 at the MAC Championships earning him a third place title. This will be Lavallee's first NCAA appearance.
Redshirt freshman Matt Manley squeezed his way into the 133-pound bracket with an at-large bid after his sixth place finish at the MACs. This bracket features four of Manley's conference foes including Mack McGuire of Kent State. Manley will get a rematch with McGuire in round 1 of the NCAA tournament. Manley is 1-2 against McGuire this year losing by decision to him in their January and February matchups before defeating him by decision at the MAC Championships.
Lavion Mayes (141), Mikey England (174), and Devin Mellon (HWT) will also be suiting up for the Tigers in their respective weight classes. Senior Zach Toal (165) will be making his fourth NCAA appearance for the Tigers and competing one last time for All-American honors.
FIRST ROUND MATCHUPS (Thursday Morning, March 20)
133- Matt Manley (23-14) vs. Mackenzie McGuire, Kent State, (27-13)
141- Lavion Mayes (23-11) vs. No. 2 Logan Stieber, Ohio State, (25-1)
149- No. 1 Drake Houdashelt (34-1) vs. Alex Kocer, South Dakota State University, (29-11)
157- Joey Lavallee (27-8) vs. Immanuel Kerr-Brown, Duke, (25-11)
165- Zach Toal (26-5) vs. Pierce Harger, Northwestern, (23-5)
174- Mike England (19-14) vs. No. 2 Andrew Howe, Oklahoma, (24-1)
197- No. 2 J'den Cox (33-2) vs. Mario Gonzalez, Illinois, (10-4)/Blake Rosholt, Oklahoma State (12-8)
HWT- Devin Mellon (24-10) vs. No. 9 Connor Medbery, Wisconsin, (24-7)
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