Season Preview: Wrestling

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By Evan Lachnit, 23 Sports

Sunday, Feb. 8-

J’den Cox brought Mizzou a national championship last year as a true freshman, taking the title in the 197 pound weight class. This season the Tigers could bring home even more individual national championships and maybe something bigger than that.

The Missouri wrestling team is 20-0 on the season and currently ranked No. 2 in the country, with only powerhouse Iowa ranked ahead of the Tigers. They dominated their conference schedule, winning all eight duals in the MAC and are set up to be large favorites at the conference tournament that will be held at the Hearnes Center in early March.

Along with Cox, who is ranked No.1 in the 197-pound weight class, senior Alan Waters is the top ranked wrestler in the 125-pound weight class.

Cox and Waters are undefeated on the season, but are not the only Tigers that are impressing so far. Sophomore Lavion Mayes is 24-1 in the 141 pound weight class and is ranked eighth individually in the country.

Senior Drake Houdashelt is 23-1 and ranked fifth in the 149-pound weight class. Josh Eblen, a senior, is 16-2 and ranked fourth in the 174-pound weight class.

The Missouri team is loaded with talent and will be contenders for the National Championship. The Tigers have run through their schedule, dominating with ease for the majority of the season.

Their only close dual came against Ohio St., in which the Tigers won by the slim margin of 20-19 in Columbus. Other than a seven-point victory over Ohio, every other victory for Mizzou came by double digits.

The Tigers have not just beat average opponents on their way to a 20-0 start to this season either. Missouri has beat five top 25 schools, and of those five, three are ranked inside the top seven along with the Tigers. Mizzou blew past No. 6 Cornell and No. 7 Oklahoma St., winning by an average of 15 points in those two duals.

Dating back to last season, the Tigers are on a 24 straight dual match win streak, and with three more duals on the schedule to end the season, they can stretch that to 27 straight. The Tigers have set a school record in team wins and that number continues to climb.

Mizzou has one more home dual against American University Sunday at noon. They will then have two more duals at the National Duals in Iowa City, Iowa, to wrap up their season.

Come March, the Missouri Tigers wrestling team will most likely be heading to St. Louis for the NCAA Championships. St. Louis could be the “Gateway to Championships” for the Tigers in the city that is the Gateway to the West.

Missouri possibly could not only have multiple individual national championships, but their first ever National Championship as a team in wrestling that would be a perfect ending to the program’s best season ever.