Posted: Jan 14, 2013 7:28 PM
COLUMBIA -- The Tigers continue to steamroll through the 2012-13 campaign as 15 of 22 Mizzou wrestlers placed in the 2013 Roger Denker Open at UCM Sunday. The Open featured 18 programs, including grapplers from the No. 3-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes and former Big 12 rival Oklahoma Sooners, who are ranked 10th in the nation. Missouri's Cody Johnston (174), Johnny Eblen (184), and Devin Mellon (HWT) all stood atop the podium in their respective weight classes.
At 174 pounds, the Tigers sent two to the finals in redshirt freshman Cody Johnston and junior Jordan Gagliano. Johnston took care of business against fellow teammate Gagliano with an 8-4 win by decision. Johnston reached the finals with two pins and a 4-3 decision over Jake Residori of SIUE in the semifinals. Johnston is 16-6 this year after his four wins on Sunday.
Johnny Eblen continued to impress in 2012-13 as well with his third first place finish in open tournaments this season. The sophomore won his first three matches Sunday with bonus points, and solidified his spot atop the podium with a 5-2 decision over Sam Brooks of Iowa. Eblen was also crowned champion at the Kaufman Brand Open and the UCM Open back in November. He has a bright career remaining with the Tigers as he has already accumulated a record of 49-14 after only about a season and a half of attached wrestling.
2012 NCAA Qualifier Devin Mellon also won his third open of the year after knocking off Tim Tuaquoi of host school UCM in the finals, 6-1. Mellon, now 21-3 on the season, is really making a name for himself in 2012-13 as the successor to the soon departing No. 1-ranked Dom Bradley. Mellon filled in for Bradley last year as he was taking an Olympic redshirt. Mellon qualified to the NCAA Championships last year in St. Louis after posting a 19-14 record in his redshirt freshman year.