Mizzou wrestling defeats Central Michigan at home

Mizzou stayed perfect in the MAC, dismantling CMU 24-8.
Freshman Jaydin Eierman tries to lock down on his Virginia Tech opponent.

After four straight duals on the road over the past two weeks, No. 8 Missouri returned to the Hearnes Center for the first time in 2017. The Tigers welcomed Mid-American Conference foe No. 16 Central Michigan to Columbia for a 24-8 rout. Mizzou won seven of 10 matches, furthering the Tigers’ undefeated record in the MAC to 6-0.

“This was a battle, every match was tight,” head coach Brian Smith said. “Central Michigan is so well-coached. They believe in the process of what they do. We believe in what we do, and our side won over today.”

For the past 14 years, the MAC has been dominated by Central Michigan and Missouri. The CMU Chippewas previously owned the MAC, winning 11 conference titles from 2002-2012. It was the Tigers who broke that streak, and Mizzou has now won the past four MAC wrestling titles. This dual was affirmation that 2017 would be more of the same.

There wasn’t a better way to start the dual than having No. 1 senior J’den Cox open up with an 11-2 dismantling of No. 19 senior Austin Severn. It was obvious how superior 194-pounder Cox was early in the match, even before Cox had four takedowns and defended any advance by Severn.

Redshirt freshman Austin Myers only added to the momentum for the Tigers, as the 285-pounder won 6-2 with two key takedowns. The first takedown came with five seconds left in the first period, and from that point on, Myers controlled the match. Myers finished junior Newton Smerchek in the third; he got his second takedown with 1:20 left in the match.

This was followed by an upset in the 125-pounder matchup between No. 18 redshirt junior Barlow McGhee and junior Brent Fleetwood. This match began and ended extremely close. After two scoreless periods, all the action occurred in the third. McGhee and Fleetwood both had a takedown and escape, ending the third at 2-2. Fleetwood edged out a tough win 4-2 in the fourth sudden victory period; he took down McGhee in 30 seconds.

Mizzou quickly responded, as No. 12 redshirt sophomore John Erneste defeated No. 19 senior Corey Keener 11-6.

“I’m real proud of John Erneste,” Smith said. “That was a tough kid. [Keener] was in the MAC finals last year. [Erneste] stuck to his gameplan and even gave up points but got the win.”

The match started with Erneste gaining a takedown in the first and second period. But, due to Keener’s multiple reversals, the score heading into the third was 6-4. Then things got interesting. Keener got his only takedown of the match, pushing the score to 7-6. Erneste scored on a escape and takedown with eight seconds left to win.

Mizzou would go on to win four straight matches. No. 9 redshirt freshman Jaydin Eierman defeated redshirt freshman Mason Smith 5-3. Then No. 4 redshirt senior Lavion Mayes dismantled sophomore Justin Oliver 11-4, followed by victories from No. 6 redshirt junior Joey Lavallee and No. 4 redshirt sophomore Daniel Lewis.

“Just keeping wrestling, just keep working my shots,” Lavallee said.

That was his mindset heading into the sudden victory period tied 1-1. Lavallee and No. 7 junior Colin Heffernan were locked in a defensive struggle, both gaining their points from escapes. However, 50 seconds into the fourth period, Lavallee scored his first takedown and won 3-1.

Next, Lewis defeated redshirt freshman Logan Parks 17-0, winning by technical fall.

“I’m going after the first takedown,” Lewis said. “Then getting to where I’m comfortable. Where I can work, and that’s top position… Attacking is my first priority.”

CMU would take the final two matches. No. 17 junior CJ Brucki defeated No. 19 redshirt freshman Dylan Wisman 6-3. Wisman opened the match with a quick takedown. But afterwards, Brucki’s two takedowns were too much to overcome. Then No. 15 junior Jordan Ellingwood defeated redshirt senior Matt Lemanowicz 2-1.

Mizzou takes on No.1 Oklahoma State Friday, Jan. 22 at home.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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