The Maneater

Myers’ decision takes down Virginia, Mizzou wrestling stays unbeaten

The Tigers rallied from down 9-0 to complete their road trip one day after a signature win against No. 10 Virginia Tech.

Austin Myers smiles for his team picture. Courtesy of Mizzou Athletics

Austin Myers doesn’t get many chances to play the hero.

A transfer from West Virginia at the heavyweight weight class, the redshirt sophomore closes out duals for Missouri, often competing in irrelevant situations with the team’s outcome already determined.

That was not the case Sunday.

Myers toppled Virginia’s Tyler Love 8-3 behind a go-ahead, second-period takedown in the final match of the day to deliver a tie-breaking decision and give Mizzou (6-0) an 18-15 win over the upset-hungry Cavaliers.

The Tigers, wrestling just one day after a premiere victory at No. 10 Virginia Tech, came back to win after falling behind 9-0 to unranked Virginia three matches into the dual.

Mizzou didn’t take its first lead until the 184-pound match, when redshirt freshman Canten Marriott landed four third-period points to steal a major decision from Michael Battista and catapult the heavy favorites from down 12-11 to up 15-12.

With nationally third-ranked 197-pounder Willie Miklus sidelined despite earning a crucial fall in the win at Virginia Tech a day earlier, redshirt freshman Wyatt Koelling lost a dual-tying decision that set the stage for Myers’ heroics.

Though Mizzou’s fatigue after facing a landmark opponent may have factored into the slow start, the three straight losses to start the dual could indicate indecision around the personnel at the front end of the team’s lineup moving forward. It took 149-pound redshirt junior Grant Leeth and a match-winning takedown with 15 seconds left to kick the tired Tigers into gear.

Redshirt senior Joey Lavallee and redshirt junior Daniel Lewis added critical major decisions to cut into the Virginia lead. Lewis’, over No. 15 Will Schany at 174 pounds, pulled Mizzou within one point late and helped set up the dramatic finish.

After surviving this harrowing road trip to Virginia with its undefeated season still intact, Mizzou will now return home to open MAC play against Old Dominion on Saturday, Dec. 2. The Tigers are projected to be conference champions, a title they have claimed every season since joining the conference in 2012.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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