After being awarded championship rings for its Big 12 Conference championship from one year ago, Missouri wrestling came out swinging in its first home duel Wednesday. The No. 6 Tigers throttled the Baker Wildcats 37-0 with four major decisions and one pinfall victory.
Senior 133-pounder Nathan McCormick started the momentum for the Tigers with a quick pin in the first period.
In the 149 class, sophomore Trevor Wiest faced heavy opposition in Nick Haugen, who was ranked No. 9 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. But through careful strategy, Wiest was able to pull ahead early via takedowns, then allowed his opponent back to his feet in order to prevent a reversal from the ground. Wiest pulled off the upset 7-6 in the closest match of the night.
Junior Zach Toal at 165 pounds proved why he was ranked No. 9 in the nation by putting on an offensive clinic against Baker’s Nathan Somner. Toal, who missed last week’s matchups against Purdue and Old Dominion, earned two near falls and three takedowns to win 16-2.
“It feels good to be back,” Toal said after the match.
No. 5 senior Brent “Wildman” Haynes made his impact at the 197 class with a 7-0 shutout against Robert Shadrach, ranked No. 5 in the NAIA. The match was close after two periods with Haynes landing the only takedown. Then in the third, Haynes locked in modified chicken wing to choke out Shadrach while scoring three near fall points, securing the win.
In the finale, No. 2 senior heavyweight Dom Bradley was matched up against the NAIA’s No. 2 heavyweight, Brandon Gebhardt. Bradley started out dominant, with Gebhardt scampering out of the ring in order to avoid a takedown. A minute later, Bradley delivered a thunderous double-leg takedown. Gebhardt responded with two escapes in the first two periods to tie the match, but Bradley responded to Gebhardt with an escape of his own at the start of the third period to win the match 3-2.
Whether it was because of exhaustion or lack of position, Bradley did not attempt a takedown in the second half of the match.
“That was a big, athletic kid,” coach Brian Smith said. “(Gebhardt) didn’t do much, but he kept good position. Dom got his takedown, but in the last period he’s not going to risk taking a bad shot. It’s tougher to score with heavyweights, and I would’ve liked to have seen work some other positions, but we’ll talk about that. He keeps winning, and that’s what’s important”
Smith said he was pleased with how the Tigers performed overall.
“We wrestled pretty good," he said. "(We) still have to work in some areas, still have to score more in different situations. But the thing I liked is that we wrestled with a lot of intensity."