Mizzou Wrestlers Fall to No.4 Minnesota in Regional Finals
COLUMBIA -- The No. 13 Mizzou wrestling squad went 2-1 at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals on Saturday afternoon, defeating Cal Poly and No. 11 Michigan before losing to No. 4Minnesota in the Rutgers Regional Finals. Missouri is now 14-4 in duals this season.
The Tigers opened the day with a dominating 34-6 victory over Cal Poly, setting up a 21-12 victory over the Wolverines in the semifinals. Minnesota defeated the Tigers by a 26-7 score in the championship bout. Junior Brent Haynes had an impressive day, winning all three of his matches against ranked opponents, scoring bonus points in two of his bouts. Redshirt freshman Drake Houdashelt was also 3-0, which included a pin in his first contest.
No. 3 Alan Waters got the Tigers off on the right foot against Cal Poly, pinning Michael Clemmensen in 4:21 to put Mizzou up by a 6-0 score. Nathan McCormick made it 9-0 with a decision at 133 pounds before No. 2 Boris Novachkov defeated Nicholas Hucke, 7-4, putting Cal Poly on the board. Missouri would win their next two matches as Kyle Bradley scored a major decision and Houdashelt picked up his fall 3:48, giving the Tigers a 19-3 cushion.
After Cal Poly made it 19-6 after 165, the Tigers won the last four bouts, beginning with No. 18 Dorian Henderson's 3-2upset of No. 4 Ryan DesRoches. Missouri won by forfeit at 184,and then Haynes defeated No. 18 Ryan Smith by a 7-1 margin. Devin Mellon closed out the match with a 5-3 win at heavyweight.
Against Michigan, Waters again scored bonus points to open the dual, giving the Tigers a 5-0 advantage after his 19-4 technical fall. The Wolverines won the next two contests before Bradley pulled out a 5-3 win in the second sudden victory to upset No. 6 Eric Grajales, putting the Tigers back ahead. Houdashelt defeated Brandon Zeerip, 7-3, but Michigan would go back ahead with wins at the next two weight classes to go ahead 12-11.
Junior Clarence Neely put the Tigers back ahead with a dramatic 6-5 win over David Johnson at 184. Johnson scored a takedown with under 30 seconds left to take the 5-4 advantage, but Neely reversed Johnson with just 11 seconds left in the match to pull out the victory. Haynes then majored No. 15 Max Huntley, 8-0, to put the Tigers ahead by six, while Mellon capped the match with a 4-3 upset over No. 10 Ben Apland to make it 21-12.
In the finals, Minnesota won eight of the 10 contests to move to next weekend's Final Four round. No. 2 Zach Sanders knocked off Waters for the second time this year, defeating the Tiger, 8-6. It was just the second loss of the year, and first dual loss, for Waters this season. Back-to-back major decisions built the Golden Gopher lead to 11-0, and No. 10 Dylan Ness scored a sudden victory takedown to defeat Bradley at 149.
Missouri finally got on the board with Houdashelt's victory at 157, as he outlasted Daniel Zilverberg by a 6-4 score. Three straight decisions by Minnesota at 165, 174 and 184 put the match out of reach for the Tigers, but Haynes majored No. 6 Sonny Yohn by a 10-0 final, scoring his second win over Yohn this season.
Mizzou returns to action in two weeks, as they'll head down to Stillwater, Okla., for the team's final dual contest of the season. Action gets started at 7 P.M. on Friday, February 24
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