The Maneater

Missouri gets 23rd consecutive regular season win in 21-10 domination of Virginia Tech

Missouri took a commanding 12-0 lead through the first four bouts via aggressive, tactical play and never looked back.

Designed by Corey Hadfield

There was no better place to be for an MU athletics fan than Hearnes Center on Friday night.

Not Mizzou Arena, where the women’s basketball team was bound for its first loss. Not the Virgin Islands, where men’s basketball was narrowly escaping one of the NCAA’s worst in Kennesaw State. Hearnes Center, where, accompanied by an electric atmosphere and a special guest on the bench, the No. 7 Missouri wrestling team topped No. 10 Virginia Tech 21-8. It was Missouri’s 23rd consecutive regular season team win.

To ring in the home debut, Missouri honored services members before the meet by having different wrestlers walk up with a veteran during the introductions as a part of Military Appreciation Night at Hearnes Center.

Adding to the pre-game festivities, three-time wrestling national champion and Olympic bronze medalist J’den Cox took center stage to sing the national anthem, with bronze medal and championship belt in hand.

Despite what most expected to be a close contest between two nationally-ranked programs, which also included five top-20 matchups throughout the night, Missouri (3-0, 1-0) jumped out to an early lead and never looked back once competition got underway, taking a commanding 12-0 lead.

Redshirt freshman Colby Smith set the tone for the Tigers in the opening bout of the night, scoring key points on takedowns in the beginning of each the second and third periods. Smith would go on to win 11-4, giving Missouri a 3-0 advantage right out of the gate.

That momentum carried through the next few bouts, as redshirt senior John Erneste won 6-2 in the 133 weight class and nationally-ranked, All-American Jaydin Eierman got ahead early on Virginia Tech’s Mitch Moore with two takedowns early in the 1st period.

After Eierman won by a score of 9-2, Missouri had early control, being up 9-0 through the first three bouts.

Missouri’s first real test of the night came in the 149 pound weight class as No. 4 ranked Grant Leeth took on No. 13 ranked Ryan Blees.

After no points between either in the first period, Leeth struck first getting an escape point off the start in the second period. Leeth would add onto this lead with a takedown later in the second. He went on to defeat Blees 3-1, giving Missouri a 12-0 lead through four bouts.

Virginia Tech was finally able to get some team points on the board in the fifth bout with redshirt sophomore B.C. LaPrade besting Missouri’s Jarrett Jacques 9-3.

In one of the most anticipated matches on the card, No. 4 ranked Daniel Lewis secured the victory (7-3) over No. 5 ranked Cody Lewis on a takedown in the final minute of the third period while also increasing Missouri’s overall lead to an insurmountable 18-2 lead with three bouts left in the dual.

Despite two more late victories for Virginia Tech in the 184 and 197 weight classes, Missouri still had a controlling 18-8 lead heading into the heavyweight matchup.

In his first bout as a top-20 wrestler, true freshman Zach Elam wrapped up an excellent team performance from Missouri with a takedown in the third period to defeat No. 8 ranked John Borst 5-4. Elam’s win in the heavyweight division moved the overall team to score to 21-8 in favor of Missouri, and secured Missouri’s 23rd consecutive regular season team win.

Missouri heads to St. Louis for the weekend to partake in the annual Lindenwood Open before its next home meet against SIU-Edwardsville on Dec 9.

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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