Senior 197-pounder J’den Cox, redshirt junior 157-pounder Joey Lavallee and redshirt sophomore 165-pounder Daniel Lewis all picked up decisions for No. 5 Missouri wrestling on Thursday night, but it was not enough to stop the Tigers from falling to No. 4 Ohio State, 30-9.
The loss is the first the Tigers have suffered in a dual meet in over a year. The meet was also the first in collegiate wrestling history to feature two Olympic medalists — Cox, who earned a bronze medal for the U.S. in the 86 kg weight class in the 2016 Olympic Games, and Buckeye junior heavyweight Kyle Snyder, who earned gold in the 97 kg weight class.
Mizzou entered the match battling a significant injury bug, with four starters unable to compete against the Buckeyes due to injury. Redshirt junior 184-pounder Willie Miklus was sidelined with a knee injury that head coach Brian Smith said Wednesday will cause him to “be out for a while.” It remains to be seen if Miklus, who was an NCAA All-American in 2015 and 2016, will be able to compete again this season.
Other starters missing for the Tigers included redshirt senior 149-pounder Lavion Mayes, who was held out due to a concussion, redshirt senior 141-pounder Matt Manley and redshirt junior 125-pounder Barlow McGhee.
The Buckeyes took advantage of the Tigers’ injury woes early, winning the first four matches to jump out to a 15-0 lead. Lavallee, who is No. 3 in the 157 pound class in the nation, then picked up a 12-5 decision over No. 19 Jake Ryan to stop the bleeding for the Tigers. He scored six takedowns in the match and just missed the seven needed for a major decision.
Lavallee is now 8-0 on the season. Coach Smith said Tuesday that he has been quite impressive of late.
“Joey Lavallee is on a roll right now,” Smith said. “He looks real tough.”
Following Lavallee’s decision, No. 4 Lewis picked up a win of his own, handling Cody Burcher, 6-1. Lewis jumped out to an early lead with a takedown 15 seconds into the match before going on the defensive the rest of the match to pick up the victory and improve to 7-1 on the season.
No. 1 Cox picked up a 6-4 decision over No. 6 Kollin Moore to improve to 6-0 on the season. Cox has won three matches by fall and defeated his other three opponents, all of whom are top 10 in the country in the 197 pound weight class, by decision. He continues to cement his status as the best wrestler in his weight class in the country.
The Tigers will wrestle again at 9 a.m. Sunday against Ohio in a conference dual meet matchup.
Edited by Eli Lederman | firstname.lastname@example.org