Wrestling dominates Sunday despite early struggles

Missouri won with a final score of 32-7.
Senior Michael Chandler overtakes Missouri Valley junior Joe Cornejo in the 157-pound weight class on Sunday at the Hearnes Center. Chandler won his match 14-0 and MU won the meet with a score of 33-12.

Missouri’s wrestling team has had one clear weakness this season, and it showed again Sunday against Missouri Valley College and Chattanooga. The lower weights continued their season-long struggle, and it was up to the upper weights to make up for their losses.

“It wasn’t a good day,” coach Brian Smith said. “We came out flat, and here at home, you’ve got to expect to win and wrestle with high intensity, and we didn’t. I’m not pleased with it, but we’re going to get better because I’m not going to put up with that crap.”

In the first dual of the day against Missouri Valley, MU lost three of the first four matches to fall behind to 12-5 early. Beginning with senior Michael Chandler’s match, the Tigers’ upper weight dominance came through. Chandler got the ball rolling by defeating Missouri Valley’s Joe Cornejo 14-0. The shutout was Chandler’s first of the season.

“It felt good to get the 14-0 win,” Chandler said. “I wish I could’ve gotten the tech-fall, but I’ll take it. I didn’t think we would be trailing going into my match. The guys who didn’t perform as well will get back in the room and keep banging heads and getting better. It feels good to be the guy who is the spark plug to get things going.”

After an injury default win by junior Nick Marable, Missouri retook the lead 15-12. Senior Raymond Jordan made sure that Missouri kept the lead when he easily defeated Missouri Valley’s Alex McKinney, earning four takedowns in the first period before getting a pin.

“I’m going to come out there and set the intensity level,” Jordan said. “I don’t want to step off of the mat with any regrets.”

Missouri finished the match with six straight victories, to end up winning by a score of 33-12.

Missouri’s second dual of the day was against Chattanooga, and it was much of the same story. The lower weights struggled once again struggled, falling behind early to 7-3.

Ranked No. 12 in the nation at 141 pounds, senior Marcus Hoehn was upset twice on Sunday, falling to unranked Eric Graham of Missouri Valley 8-6 and Chattanooga’s No. 19 ranked Cody Cleveland 14-5.

“It was a tough day for Marcus,” Smith said. “He had a couple of tough opponents, but he wrestled right into the hands of the Missouri Valley kid, and he cuts the lead against the kid from Chattanooga, and you can’t do that against an All-American.”

Despite the slow start, Missouri once again dominated in the upper weights and won with a final score of 32-7.

Missouri will need its lower weights to step up fast, as it faces the No. 2 team in the nation on Saturday at Cornell. After that, they open up the Big 12 season at the Hearnes Center on Jan. 31 against No. 4 Nebraska.

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