Posted: Feb 24, 2013 8:07 AM
Updated: Feb 24, 2013 9:08 AM
MINNEAPOLIS - For the second time in as many days, the Tigers topped a higher-ranked opponent. Saturday night the No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes fell victim to the No. 6 Tigers in the third place match of the 2013 NWCA Cliff Keen National Duals. Mizzou trailed by seven with three weight classes remaining, but wins by seniors Mike Larson, Brent Haynes, and Dom Bradley propelled the Tigers to victory. Top-ranked Hawkeyes Matt McDonough (125) and Derek St. John (157) both lost to No. 4 Alan Waters and No. 19 Kyle Bradley, respectively.
Junior Alan Waters capped off a fantastic weekend in Minnesota with a win over the No. 1-ranked McDonough. Waters got on the board early with a takedown 30 seconds into the bout, which was all Mizzou's leadoff man needed. Waters added an escape in the second and a riding time point after two minutes of advantage over the top-ranked 125 pounder.
"That's a match I've been looking forward to for the past three years," said Waters. "I haven't had the chance to wrestle him in my college career yet, and it's a big win for me. But I go out there expecting to win so it isn't anything that I didn't expect from myself. I want that to happen in the finals at Nationals. This doesn't mean anything other than maybe moving up in the rankings, so I'm just looking forward to a possible rematch in March."
Waters was named the Mid-American Conference Wrestler of the Week last week. He improves to 26-0this year and is only six wins away from 100 as a Tiger.
At 157 pounds, junior Kyle Bradley followed suit by defeating No. 1 Derek St. John. Bradley was down 3-2 as time ticked away, and with 27 seconds remaining, Bradley connected on a double-leg takedown. The Tiger grappler held strong on top for the final seconds and emerged with a 4-3 win. Bradley went 2-1 on the weekend with his other win coming against No. 18 Josh Demas of Ohio State in the first sudden victory period, 4-2.
Down seven points with three bouts remaining, the Tigers needed big performances from their senior upperweights. At 184, No. 13 Mike Larson fell behind 2-0 early to No. 17 Ethen Lofthouse after a Lofthouse takedown in the final minute of the first. Larson escaped after starting down in the second, and finally took the lead in the third with a two-point nearfall over Lofthouse. Larson took the match 3-2.
No. 17 Brent Haynes tallied his 109th career victory in a tight 1-0 decision over Nathan Burak. Haynes was able to escape the freshman's hold after starting down in the second to get the deciding point. Burak chose a neutral start in thethird but was unable to score against Haynes. The win closed Iowa's lead to two points with top-ranked Dom Bradley on deck.
Bradley finished off the rally. The match went to a second sudden victory period, and after nearly nine and a half minutes of wrestling, Bradley sent the Tigers home victorious. The sixth-year senior secured a takedown over No. 11 Bobby Telford with 28 seconds remaining for a 4-2 win, his 32nd of the year.
Despite a forfeit at 133 pounds, Mizzou battled past the second-ranked program in the nation for their first win against the Hawkeyes since the program's beginning in 1923. The Tigers finished their dual season with a 16-3 record, arguably their best season since 2008-09 when the squad went 18-4.
"This was a big win for the program. We've never beaten Iowa, and to go out there and get it and win six matches, that was good. That was a good win for us," said Head Coach Brian Smith.
The Tigers now will take a few weeks off before hitting the road to Buffalo, NY for their first-ever appearance in the Mid-American Conference Championships on March 10. Following the MAC Championships, this year's campaign will culminate in Des Moines, Iowa for the 2013 NCAA Championships.