Mizzou Wrestling Tackles National Championships

Kayla Lindberg, 23 Sports

Coming off an undefeated season, seven Mizzou wrestlers went into the NCAA Wrestling Championships hoping to come out as, you guessed it, champions. Mizzou finished sixth as a team, carrying with them four All-American wrestlers. Two Tigers made it to the semifinals but were unable to attain a championship victory.

Four Tigers were able to advance to the fifth session of the tournament, giving the team a combined score of 61.5. At 141 pounds, sophomore Jaydin Eierman lost his semifinal match but was able to regain power winning his consolation semifinal by major decision. Eierman then wrestled for third place but fell short losing by decision and landing himself the fourth place finish. Junior Daniel Lewis did the same.  Losing his semifinal match by pin, he was able to wrestle back and win his consolation match by injury default. Lewis then lost his third place match in sudden victory, placing himself fourth at 174 pounds.

As for the other wrestlers who made it to the fifth round of the tournament, junior Grant Leeth wrestled back for fifth but lost the match by decision at 149 pounds. Senior Willie Miklus, after putting up a major fight the entire tournament, fell in his seventh place match, losing by decision to get Missouri an eighth place finish at 197 pounds.

The other three wrestlers, freshman Canten Marriott, senior Joey Lavallee, and junior John Erneste, were unable to make it to the fifth round.

Marriott, wrestling at 184 pounds, went 17-9 this season as a freshman. Losing his first match, he was able to wrestle back to win his second match, losing his second round consolation match by decision. This was his first time qualifying for the NCAA Championship.

Lavallee, who was seeded No. 2 in his weight class, struggled during his Round of 12 match coming off of a three match winning streak. This was his last season with the Tigers. He qualified three separate times for the NCAA Championship, leaving Mizzou as an NCAA All-American at 157 pounds.

Erneste had a very similar situation to Lavallee. Losing in his Round of 12 match by decision. After being a MAC Champion at 133 pounds, this was his first time qualifying for the NCAA Championship.

Coach Brian Smith has brought at least seven wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in the past 13 seasons. Mizzou placing sixth was the seventh time Mizzou has placed under Smith. Along with that, he has led the team to their only two recorded undefeated seasons, 2017-18 and the 2014-15 season.

The Tigers end their season with a sixth place NCAA Championship finish, along with four All-American wrestlers and wrestlers who placed in their respective brackets. With the exception of one wrestler, senior Joey Lavallee, the team shows great potential to end up back at the tournament next year.