Posted: Mar 9, 2014 5:20 PM by Lauren Greenheck, KOMU 8 Sports Digital Producer
Updated: Mar 10, 2014 7:39 PM
KENT, Ohio - The Tigers narrowly clenched the 2014 Mid-American Conference title over Northern Iowa today with 118.5 team points to their 116 making this Missouri's third-straight conference title.
After the first day of the tournament Northern Iowa led but the Tigers rallied behind freshman J'den Cox (197 weight class) and junior Drake Houdashelt (149 weight class) who each took home an individual title.
While in the placement rounds Houdashelt incurred some early losses when put against Old Dominion's Alex Richardson in overtime he triumphed pinning Houdashelt in only 16 seconds. This is now Houdashelt's third individual title with the Tigers since making the starting lineup two years ago.
J'Den Cox faced former opponent Phil Wellington of Ohio and avenged his former loss in the title match. Cox boasted a perfect 3-0 this weekend. The conference named Cox the Most Outstanding Wrestler.
"I'm really proud of the way this team kept fighting. I'm shocked but I shouldn't be. We believe in this team. They showed everyone why today," said Head Coach Brian Smith following the win.
All 10 Missouri starters lived up to their placing in the top-six in their respective brackets as 7 Tigers are now headed to the NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City March 20-22. The other three are however not out of the running to attend the Championships just yet. These three are still eligible to receive a wild card bid that will be announced later this week by the NCAA.