The match was already clinched for Oklahoma State in the semifinals of the NWCA National Duals against the Missouri wrestling team going into the heavyweight match. And insult was added to injury when senior heavyweight Dom Bradley fell to Oklahoma State’s Alan Gelogaev 4-3.
This was Bradley’s first loss of the season with a record of 32-1. Even though his bid at a perfect season ended, Bradley is still looking to finish off his career at Missouri with a national championship.
The match was highly contested and nearly got out of hand in the second period as both wrestlers were docked a point for unsportsmanlike conduct. Gelogaev came out with a 4-3 win.
“I came out of my stance for two seconds and it cost me,” Bradley said. “I let the crowd get to me, and I let the refs get into the match, and I should’ve never done that.”
It had been nearly two years since Bradley had lost a match at the collegiate level. His last loss at Missouri came in the semifinals of the 2011 NCAA Championships when he lost to eventual national champion Zach Rey of Lehigh.
Bradley was the only undefeated heavyweight in the country. Assistant coach Sammie Henson said there are some positives to look at after his loss.
“You don’t ever want to lose,” Henson said. “But if you’re going to look at the silver lining, there should be no pressure. You got the loss and now you’re ready to go get a title.”
There was little time for Bradley and the Tigers to bounce back after the Oklahoma State loss. The team wrestled that evening against Iowa, who was ranked No. 2 at the time. Missouri upset the Hawkeyes 18-16, with the match being decided by Bradley’s bout against Iowa’s Bobby Telford.
Bradley and Telford went to sudden death overtime, and Bradley got the takedown to win the match with 28 seconds to go.
“I got to go out there and win against an All-American and win for my team, so I was really excited and it was a great opportunity,” Bradley said. “It just proves that I’m still there and I am capable of winning Nationals.”
The loss dropped Bradley to No. 3 in the rankings. He had been No. 1 since his championship win at the Southern Scuffle on Jan. 2.
“Rankings are some people’s opinions,” Bradley said. “I guess they don’t see how hard I work out every day or who I work out against. It will be much sweeter to rub it in their face at the end.”
The loss has changed some things for Bradley, but he said he is still keeping the same mindset heading into the Mid-American Conference championships and NCAA championships.
“I had to say to myself, ‘Hey, you’re not Superman like you thought you were, and you are no longer undefeated,’” Bradley said. “There’s nothing to lose now. I’m just going to come out there and try to win nationals as a two-seed, or a one-seed or a three-seed or whatever I get.”
Before the NCAA Tournament, the No. 4 Tigers will wrestle in their first-ever MAC tournament on March 10 in Buffalo, N.Y., the same day as Bradley’s 24th birthday.
“I want to go out there and wrestle as hard and as tough as I can,” Bradley said. “I’ll have a couple of good matches there, but I want to go out there and win a team MAC championship. I want to celebrate my birthday with a win and a conference championship.”