No. 6 Tigers Take Third at Southern Scuffle
CHATANOOGA, TN -- The sixth-ranked Mizzou wrestling team took third place in a very competitive field that included the nation's top three teams at the Southern Scuffle on Wednesday (Jan. 2) as the team earned 147.5 total points in the two-day competition. The Tigers finished ahead of third-ranked Minnesota and just behind No. 1 Penn State (first, 178.5) points and No. 2 Oklahoma State (second, 158.0) points. Redshirt senior Dom Bradley took first in the heavyweight class in a thrilling championship bout against Minnesota's Tony Nelson, earning a 2-1 decision in a tiebreaker over the defending national champion.
Bradley's bout with Nelson is a possible matchup later in March at the NCAA Championships as Bradley, the nation's No. 2 heavyweight, earned the win Tuesday. Bradley is now a team-best 22-0 on the season after defeating Nelson for the title, snapping Nelson's streak of 40 straight wins dating back to last season. Nelson was the No. 1 heavyweight in the country heading into the Southern Scuffle and was the 2012 National Champion.
Among other notable finishers for the Tigers on Tuesday was sixth-ranked Nathan McCormick, who earned third place at 133 pounds after pinning Penn State's James Gulibon in 4:44. McCormick advanced to the semifinals before losing to Jon Morrison of Oklahoma State, but he rebounded with the fall in the third-place match for the Tigers.
At 149 pounds, 18th-ranked Drake Houdashelt took fourth after wrestling back to the third-place match after losing the quarterfinal match to Cole VonOhlen of Air Force. He lost the third-place match, 5-2, to James English of Penn State but put on a show in the wrestleback bracket, earning a pair of major decisions en-route to the third-place match.
At 157 pounds, Kyle Bradley also earned a fourth-place nod after advancing to the semifinals on day one of the scuffle. Bradley was ousted in the semifinals by Virginia's Jedd Moore, 2-0, but came back to earn a 10-2 major decision to earn a spot in the third-place match. Bradley nearly came out on top, but ultimately fell to top-seeded Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State, 3-2, in the third-place bout.
At 165 pounds, 12th-ranked Zach Toal finished fifth overall after pinning Zach Strickland of Appalachian State in the fifth-place bout. Toal went 4-2 over the two-day scuffle en-route to the fifth-place finish. Todd Porter, the nation's No. 16 grappler at 174 pounds took fifth-place in his bracket as well, going 4-2 over the two days.
Mike Larson turned in a fourth-place effort at 184 pounds after advancing to the semifinals in the first day of competition. In the semifinals, Larson was defeated by top-seeded Edward Ruth of Penn State, but Larson rebounded to take fourth in the consolation bracket, falling in the third-place bout to Kevin Steinhaus on Minnesota. Mizzou's Johnny Elblen finished seventh in the same weight class.
After winning the individual title at 197 pounds a year ago, Mizzou's Brett Haynes was ousted in the quarterfinals by Phillip Wellington of Ohio, 5-2, but wrestled all the way back to a third-place finish. Coincidentally, Haynes' win in the third-place bout came against Wellington, this time besting the Bobcat grappler, 4-3, to take third overall.
Mizzou will be off for 17 days as it prepares for it next meet against North Dakota State at the Hearnes Center on January 19. The Tigers will also host their first ever MAC dual that weekend as they will welcome Central Michigan to the Hearnes Center on January 20.