Wrestling advances to championship of 2015 National Duals Finals

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By Ben Burke, 23 Sports

Saturday, Feb. 21-

After defeating No. 12 Illinois 23-13 in the quarterfinals of the 2015 EAS/NWCA National Duals Finals, the No. 2 Missouri wrestling team caught a lucky break when No. 11 Lehigh upset No. 3 Ohio State in the other quarterfinal. The Tigers handled the Mountain Hawks 23-9.

Although the final scoreboard appeared lopsided, the individual matches were tight. Missouri’s Drake Houdashelt and Lavion Mayes were the only wrestlers to pick up major decision victories, and there were no wins by fall or technical fall on either side.

Houdashelt was not the only No. 1 Tiger wrestler to pick up a win over Lehigh, as both Alan Waters and J’den Cox stayed perfect this season with decision victories over Lehigh’s Scott Parker and No. 10 ranked Elliot Riddick, respectively.

Waters improved to 29-0 on the season, while Cox now sits at 26-0.

Despite the loss, the Mountain Hawks saw quality performances from their ranked wrestlers. Three of the five matches featuring ranked Lehigh wrestlers resulted in Mountain Hawk victories, accounting for all of their nine points.

These wins were highlighted by No. 3 Nathaniel Brown’s 7-3 decision over Missouri’s No. 9 Willie Miklus.

The win sets Missouri up for the highly anticipated meeting with the No. 1 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes in the finals. The Tigers and Hawkeyes are the only two undefeated squads left in Division I college wrestling, and both teams have had experience against quality competition this season.

Missouri has eight wins over ranked opponents on the year, while Iowa has already been in a one vs. two matchup, when they defeated the then-No. 1 Minnesota Golden Gophers on January 30th.

Something has to give when the Tigers meet the Hawkeyes in the Finals Sunday at 11:30 a.m. in the Hawkeye’s backyard of Iowa City, Iowa.