The Missouri wrestling program upset No. 2 Iowa and No. 5 Ohio State as the Tigers wrestled to third place in the NWCA National Duals finals this past weekend in St. Paul, Minn.
The Tigers also wrestled No. 1 Oklahoma State but lost 22-9, marking the second loss to the Cowboys this month. The host school, University of Minnesota, won first place at the tournament, which featured eight top-10 teams. The Tigers moved to 16-3, finishing their dual season with the team's best record since the 2008-2009 season.
"Any time you can beat a team, no matter who they are, ranked as high as (Iowa), it's a great thing," assistant coach Joe Johnston said. Johnston is an Iowa alum.
The Tigers won six matches in the dual with the Iowa Hawkeyes. However, they fell behind early after a forfeit in the 133-weight class. Senior 133-pounder Nathan McCormick lost in an earlier match on Saturday.
"I talked to McCormick and he was hurting," Smith said. "He was upset about it." The Tigers gave up six points by forfeiting that match.
Juniors 125-pounder Alan Waters and 157-pounder Kyle Bradley upset top-ranked wrestlers in their respective weight classes to help the Tigers to victory.
Waters kicked off the dual with a victory over No.1 Matt McDonough, winning 4-0.
“That’s a match I’ve been looking forward to for the past three years,” Waters said. “I haven’t had the chance to wrestle him in my college career yet, and it’s a big win for me. But I go out there expecting to win so it isn’t anything that I didn’t expect from myself.”
Bradley had a much closer match. He secured a takedown with 27 seconds left to beat No.1 Derek St. John.
Despite those upsets, a late push by three seniors was crucial to the victory over the Hawkeyes. The Tigers were down seven points with 184-pounder Mike Larson, 197-pounder Brent Haynes and heavyweight Dom Bradley on deck.
Larson and Haynes both won their matches by a point setting the stage for a heavyweight showdown.
Top-ranked Dom Bradley suffered his first loss of the season to the Cowboy's No. 3 Alan Gelogaev. Bradley rebounded against the Hawkeyes' No. 11 Bobby Telford.
With the dual on the line, Bradley and Telford went into overtime. After over nine minutes of wrestling, Bradley secured a takedown in the final 28 seconds of the second sudden victory period to win the match and send the Tigers home victorious.
"The kid wrestled a smart match," Smith said of Bradley. "I'm proud of him."
This weekend's victory over the Hawkeyes was a first for the Missouri Wrestling program since it started in 1923.
“This was a big win for the program," coach Brian Smith said. "We’ve never beaten Iowa, and to go out there and get it and win six matches, that was good. That was a good win for us."
The Tigers also avenged a loss to Ohio State at the tournament. The last time the Tigers wrestled Ohio State they lost by a point. This time, they won 28-6.
Waters is now the only undefeated wrestler for the Tigers this season. He is nine wins away from entering the 100-win club.
"Waters is a good kid," Smith said. "He snapped the head and hit the low singles."
The Tigers will take a couple weeks off until they wrestle in the Mid-American Conference Championships on Mar. 10.