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Missouri Wrestling Advances 3 to NCAA Finals

Seven of Missouri’s eight wrestlers will be vying for places first through sixth

2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships
2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships

I’m going to do my best to supplement Rock M Nation with wrestling and women’s basketball – aka, I complained enough about wanting more women’s basketball and now I’m just going to absorb wrestling because I feel for you guys that want to see it. Two things – (1) I do not know much about wrestling, so a lot of it is going to be recapping what is on Twitter and providing information on upcoming bouts; (2) I am a (soon to be practicing, but already licensed) tax lawyer. Plz be kind, thnkz.

First, our very own Tiger Mom Cathy Cox opened the tournament today singing the National Anthem. She’s pretty darn good, guys.

With the conclusion of tonight’s matches, Mizzou went 7-0 in tonight’s “blood round.” Mizzou advances three wrestlers into finals – Lavion Mayes (149), Joey Lavallee (157) and J’den Cox (197). With three finalists, #TigerStyle has broken school records. Not only did three finalists break the record, but this is the first time the Tigers have ever had multiple wrestlers in the finals in the same year, as reported by Blake Toppmeyer

As a team, Missouri stands in fourth place with 81.5 points. The top four teams receive a trophy and if Missouri receives another, it will be their third team trophy.

Obviously, everyone is hoping Cox can pull off his 3rd NCAA championship in four years – lucky for us, the finals first bout will be J’den Cox – which begin approximately at 7pm. If Cox wins, he will be the first Mizzou athlete to win three national titles in any sport, as Blake Toppmeyer reported. First, he has to face Minnesota’s Brett Pfarr, No. 2. Cox previously beat him in January, 6-4.

Even Jon Sundvold is excited.

To watch Cox’s post match interview:

Mayes will have the sixth match and will face Penn State’s Zain Retherford, who is 27-0. From the Columbia Tribune:

Mayes was tied at 2 with Northern Iowa’s No. 7 Alex Thomsen until securing a takedown in the closing seconds to win 4-2. He improved to 3-1 against Thomsen this season. [...]

Mayes said that with a minute remaining against Thomsen, he contemplated whether he wanted to take the match to overtime or try to win it in regulation.

“I chose to shoot,” Mayes said. “He blocked it off pretty well, and then I was able to hit a drag that I’ve been kind of working on all week.”

To see Mayes post match interview:

Lavallee will have the seventh match and will face Penn State’s Jason Nolf, who is 26-0. (Man, what these Nittany Lions’ doing to stay undefeated? Maybe some Mizzou magic will bring them down).

To see Lavallee’s post match interview:

Also - here’s what the NCAA is calling “the Lavallee:”

In addition to the finalist matches, Jaydin Eirman (141) and Daniel Lewis (165) will determine their place Saturday morning, finishing between third and sixth place. These matches will tax sometime between 10am and 1:30pm. The only Missouri wrestler to be entirely eliminated was John Erneste (133). From the Columbia Tribune:

Lewis nearly joined Cox, Mayes and Lavalllee in the semifinals. He led 4-2 entering the final period of his quarterfinal match against Penn State’s No. 3 Vincenzo Joseph. Joseph snatched a 6-5 victory with a pair of takedowns, including the decisive one with 12 seconds remaining.

Lewis rattled off a pair of major decisions in wrestlebacks.

For more links and stories. Here’s KC Star by Alec Lewis and St. Louis Post-Dispatch by Joe Lyons (I don’t want to deprive you guys, even though I finished writing before they posted :) ).

Also, J’den Cox quotes High School Musical and talk about flashback to high school.

“It’s kind of like that ‘High School Musical’ ” song, Cox said, referencing the Disney Channel movie. “'We’re all in this together.' Let’s do it.”

Updates on Saturday’s matches:

Jaydin Eierman falls 8-4 to Wyoming's Bryce Meredith, will later wrestle for fifth place.

Update: Eirman won fifth place.

(Precluded by Eierman is preceded by Daniel Lewis (4th - 2016), Willie Miklus (7th - 2015) & J'den Cox (1st - 2014))

Daniel Lewis falls to Minnesota’s Isaac Jordan, will later wrestle for fifth place.