Missouri wrestling stays perfect against Cornell

Two wrestlers moved up a weight class to help the team.
Junior J’den Cox celebrates after defeating Cornell’s Jeramy Sweany 24-9. Cox’s technical fall pushed the No. 4 Missouri Tigers over the No. 14 Cornell Big Red on Jan. 10, 2016, in Jesse Hall.

In a tight dual Sunday afternoon, No. 4 Missouri prevailed over No. 14 Cornell thanks to a technical fall from junior J’den Cox.

With two matches to go in the dual, the Tigers trailed Cornell 17-10. If sophomore Willie Miklus and Cox won by two major decisions, the team would walk away with their 35th consecutive dual match. However, Miklus’ match didn’t go as planned. He won but only by a decision, making the score 17-13. Cox would need to score all the points he could in order for the Tigers to win.

And he came through, beating Cornell’s Jeramy Sweany 24-9.

Cox said after the match that his technical fall was only possible because other teammates helped to put him in that position. Cox wrestled at heavyweight, moving up from his usual 197 pounds. Miklus moved up as well to 197. Coach Brian Smith gave the wrestlers a heads up the night before that they might change weight classes if the dual wasn’t going as planned.

Smith changed the lineup after the 174 match in which senior Blaise Butler, ranked No. 2 by WIN Magazine, lost 3-2 to No. 6 Brian Realbuto. The defeat put Missouri down 12-10 in the dual score, so Miklus and Cox moved up and redshirt freshman Tim Miklus took the mat at 184 to face national champion Gabe Dean. Miklus lost 18-1 but did not get pinned. Smith called his effort to avoid the pin “heroic.”

Other Notes

Team Effort Cox wasn’t wrong when he said that Sunday’s win was a team effort. The Tigers won five of the duals. Redshirt freshman Daniel Lewis pulled out a victory in the third overtime.

“I knew today would be tight … Daniel had to win a tight match like that,” Smith said.

Lewis’s win put the Tigers ahead by a point.

Junior Matt Manley won by major decision at 141. Manley has been a consistent wrestler for the Tigers and his 9-1 victory helped to boost the team. Junior Lavion Mayes remained undefeated after beating Cornell’s Joey Galasso 9-2.

The Streak Missouri wrestlers hasn’t lost a dual meet since January 2014, but Smith said the team’s dominance is more about their love of winning rather than sustaining the streak.

“When we step on the mat, we want to be the team to win,” Smith said. “One of our goals this year is to be the top non-Big 10 school. To do that, we have to beat Cornell.”

Jesse Hall For the second time ever, the Tigers wrestled in Jesse Auditorium. They are now 2-0 at that venue. Around 1,200 people attended the dual.

“It’s an awesome place to wrestle a match when it gets rocking like that,” Smith said of the atmosphere during Cox’s match. “We are definitely giving them exciting matches.”

Missouri wrestling takes on Eastern Michigan next at 7 p.m. Friday in the Hearnes Center.

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