Wrestling clinches MAC Regular Season Dual Championship with impressive 29-6 win

The Tigers won eight of their 10 matches to remain undefeated.
Junior wrestler Daniel Lewis. courtesy of Mizzou Athletics

It was another routine night for Missouri wrestling.

The 125-pound and heavyweight classes — or the “bookends,” as head coach Brian Smith referred to them in a postgame interview — struggled in their matches, and everyone in between simply dominated. After winning eight of the 10 matches, the No. 3-ranked Tigers clinched the MAC Regular Season Dual Championship with a 29-6 win over No. 17 Central Michigan.

Smith said he was proud of the team for winning the Regular Season Dual Championship, a feat last year’s team fell short of accomplishing.

“Most coaches wouldn’t do it, but I reminded the team of the feeling last year after we didn’t win the dual title, how much of a letdown that was and how much it hurt,” Smith said in a press release from the team. “We didn’t want that to happen again. It was a team goal of ours to win the dual title.”

The Tigers are undefeated with 15 wins and only four duals left until the MAC Championships in March.

In terms of losses, redshirt senior Barlow McGhee lost on a takedown in the last few seconds, which started the team off in a 3-0 hole. The McGhee match was slow and devoid of action for most of the match, with Mizzou even gaining two points for stalling. Heavyweight redshirt freshman Jake Bohlken lost 9-2 after starting the third period down only 2-1.

Two losses sandwiching the victories of the dual did not matter overall for the Tigers when the rest of the lineup performed so consistently. Similar to McGhee’s match, No. 3 redshirt junior John Erneste’s match was determined in the final minutes of the match. Erneste scored a late takedown and then a point for riding time, winning 6-4.

Redshirt sophomore and Columbia native Jaydin Eierman proved why he is ranked No. 2 in the 141-pound weight class with a dominant 6-0 win against Central Michigan’s No. 10 Mason Smith. Smith, a lanky wrestler who used his legs as his main tactic against Eierman, seemed to tire in the third period from Eierman’s physical strength.

Three matches earned bonus points toward the team score: No. 3 redshirt senior Joey Lavallee with a pin, No. 4 redshirt junior Daniel Lewis with a major decision and No. 16 redshirt freshman Canten Marriott with a major decision. Redshirt junior Grant Leeth also earned a key 3-1 victory in the final minute of his match with a takedown right at the end.

Smith praised Lavallee’s senior leadership.

“When he keeps shooting the way he has been, he puts a lot of points on the scoreboard, and is really tough to beat,” Smith said in the press release.

Lewis, who is the only undefeated wrestler on the team, improved to 23-0 on the season. According to the team, Lewis’ 14 falls this season tie him for 10th in program history.

The Tigers’ next dual is Jan. 27 at Oklahoma State.

Edited by Bennett Durando | bdurando@themaneater.com

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