Over the late hours of the night, Brian Smith and the Missouri Wrestling squad traveled to Tempe, Arizona to take on Zeke Jones and the Arizona State Sun Devils.
The dual opened up at the 125 lbs weight class where Noah Surtin took to the mats first for Mizzou and was promptly followed by Connor Brown (133), Allan Hart (141), and Brock Mauller (149).
Three of the aforementioned Tigers were facing off against inferior or equal opponents except for Connor Brown who took on a top-rank McGee where he wrestled a hard-fought match that left him attacking with a desperation move at the end of the match before falling 5-4
Noah Surtin and Allan Hart were key pieces to pulling through in this early season test for the Tigers. Surtin took on unranked Richard Figueroa and while he was a highly-rated recruit in 2021, Surtin still has the experience and the upper hand in when it comes to stepping up in the spotlight. On the other hand, Hart took on Jesse Vasquez, who set just on the edge of the top twenty-five at 141.
Hart had a tough time pushing the tempo in his contest. Heading into the final period in a 1-0 contest, it was Vasquez who was left celebrating when the match concluded. Allan gave up a takedown in the final seconds of the bout giving his him first loss of the season.
Rolling into 149, the first dogfight of the dual came to center stage as two top-ten-ranked wrestlers, Brock Mauller (MIZ) and Kyle Parco (ASU), faced off. Another bout that was a huge swing match for the evening’s contest left the Tigers dropping their fourth straight bout and in an early twelve-point deficit to start the contest. All four wrestlers from 125 to 149 dropped their match by no more than two points.
Heading into what I believed were going to be the big money rounds for Mizzou, weights 157 through 174 is where most of the bread was won for Mizzou.
Jarrett Jacques (157), Keegan O’Toole (165), and Peyton Mocco (174) all took their opponents to work. These three combined accounted for 57 match points while only giving up 14. They also contributed 14 of the team’s 17 total team points for the contest. Bringing the Tigers back on top (14-12), the fate of the dual came to the final three weight classes.
Rounding out the last of the meet, Mizzou had Sean Harmon (184), Rocky Elam (197), and Zach Elam (285) left to bring home a big road win for Tiger Style.
After stepping into the spotlight in a pivotal match, Harmon needed a final second takedown to send the bout into overtime but couldn’t find the gear to get the job done. A 184 lbs loss ended up leaving the dual squared back up after he fell 4-2 to ASU’s top 25 ranked Anthony Montalvo. Which led us to Rocky Elam’s first contest of the season.
Rocky opened his season debut with a blast and immediately took control of his contest. Taking on top twenty-ranked Kendall Norfleet, Rocky seem like himself as he locked up the Tiger’s fourth victory of the night with an 8-2 win, adding three more team points putting them back on top once again (17-15) leaving his brother Zach left to seal it for Mizzou.
At 285, Mizzou’s Zach Elam was given a tough task in holding off and defeating top-ranked Cohlton Schultz for the Sun Devils. While Zach is capable of defeating higher competition, it was not the case in this contest as he fell by a 12-4 major decision.
After an up-and-down battle, Mizzou was disappointed by a 19-17 defeat that sent them back home humbled with much to improve. Mizzou entered the dual as the higher-ranked team and I still believe they are that team. An early season loss is nothing they can’t overcome and build off of. The best part about wrestling is anyone can take down someone at any time regardless of rank. A long flight back to Missouri and a chance to regroup in the wrestling room before they head back out to pick themselves up and back on track. And for the love of all things, please don’t make us watch another dual on Pac-12 insider!