No. 5 Missouri wrestling sets new attendance record against No. 2 Oklahoma State

The Tigers lost the dual 19-15 to the Cowboys.
Hearnes Center watches the Missouri vs. Oklahoma State wrestling meet on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019 at Hearnes Center in Columbia, Mo. 4,721 were in attendance, breaking an MU wrestling record.

Redshirt junior Jaydin Eierman stepped onto the mat for the third bout of the afternoon, hoping to be the spark No. 5 Missouri wrestling needed. The team had dropped its first two bouts and was in a 6-0 hole. In the second period, when the Columbia native made his move, the Missouri bench screamed “spin cycle,” and with the sound of the referee’s whistle calling Eierman’s pin, Hearnes Center went ear-ringingly loud.

In the weeks leading up to the anticipated dual against rival No. 2 Oklahoma State, Missouri (15-1, 7-0 MAC) took steps to get as many people to the dual as possible.

The social media marketing and old-fashioned flyers got the job done. Missouri shattered the previous Hearnes Center wrestling attendance record of 2,772 Saturday, bringing in 4,721 fans for the top five dual. So many fans packed Hearnes that two of the hanging banners — which are used in part to create a more intimate environment — had to be pulled up to allow the people in the upper seating bowl to see.

Although the Tigers lost the dual 19-15 in a sudden-death overtime in the heavyweight division, the team was grateful for the fans’ support.

“This is the way it should be every match,” coach Brian Smith said. “It’s fun people got to see that. We’ve had some great teams here, so this is like a legacy of all the people before built up to this moment, and I hope it continues.”

After the dual, Eierman spent time signing autographs for children. Having grown up in Columbia around the wrestling community — his dad Mike Eierman has trained a lot of mid-Missouri’s wrestlers through Eierman Elite Wrestling, including Olympian and world champion J’den Cox — he was competing in front of his friends and family, as well as young people who look up to him.

“It was awesome to go out there and compete in front of my hometown,” Eierman said.

The crowd also gave the team an extra mental push.

“You might feel a little tired, but when you hear the crowd and hear all the support, and they’re roaring for you, it’s like a second wind that you get from them,” redshirt senior Daniel Lewis said.

Missouri wrestling will travel to Ames, Iowa, next Sunday for a dual against Iowa State.

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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