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Mizzou Wrestling: NCAA Championship Preview

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Brian Smith and the Tiger Style Wrestling team advance nine wrestlers to 2022 NCAA Wrestling Championship.

@MizzouWrestling on Twitter

The Mizzou wrestling program capped off the 2021-22 season with a 11-4 dual record prior to competing in the Big XII Wrestling Championships. Making the trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma for their first Big XII conference tournament in over a decade, they walked out with first as a team while qualifying nine of wrestlers for the 2022 NCAA Wrestling Championship. This is the eleventh straight season the team has qualified eight or more of its wrestlers. Let’s look at how they stack up against the field for the 2022 NCAA Wrestling Championships. (All rankings via InterMat and WrestleStat) (Quality Win/Match: Victory vs. top 16 opponent)

Noah Surtin 125lbs. - Record: 19-7 - Seed: 18

Noah Surtin finished the season ranked 20th in the nation at the 125lbs weight class. For the second time in his career, Surtin has punched his ticket to the NCAA Championship with an at-large bid. He currently holds a 1-2 career NCAA Championship record. During the 2021-22 season, Surtin went 1-5 in quality matches.

Sitting atop Surtins’ bracket is undefeated, top-ranked, and 2019 133lbs NCAA Champ Nick Suriano of Michigan. Behind Suriano is a trio of one loss wrestlers with an All-American finish apiece: Patrick Glory (16-1) of Princeton, Vito Arujau of Cornell (14-1), and Brandon Courtney (21-1) of Arizona State.

Surtin opens up the Championship with a bout against 15 seed Brody Teske (12-6) of Northern Iowa. Teske is making his second trip to the NCAA Championship. This will be the second matchup between these two wrestlers with Surtin losing the first by fall.

Connor Brown 133lbs. - Record: 6-9

Connor Brown failed to make the NCAA tournament but it wasn’t due to lack of effort. Brown went into the conference tournament as an unseeded and unranked wrestler at the 133lbs weight class. In route to his seventh place finish, Brown upset both the third and fourth seeded wrestlers in his bracket while falling to the sixth and seventh seed. He capped off his 2021-22 campaign contributing 7.5 team points during the Big XIIs while collecting a win by fall in his final match.

Allan Hart 141lbs. - Record: 15-5 - Seed: 9

Allan Hart finished the season ranked 7th in the nation at the 141lbs weight class. This will be Hart’s third trip to the NCAA Championships holding a 2-2 career Championship record. During last year’s Championship, Hart missed out on All-American status by one match, falling 8-7 in his consolation blood match. This year he currently holds a 2-3 quality match record with every match, win or loss, within four points.

Hart sits in a bracket among two undefeated wrestlers, Penn State’s Nick Lee (17-0) and Rutgers’ Sebastian Rivera (24-0). Lee is a three time All-American with a one individual title and two fifth place finishes, and Rivera, a three time All-American, has a fourth, third, and sixth place finish to his name. Also joining Allan Hart in the 141lbs bracket is former Mizzou wrestler and current Iowa Hawkeye Jaydin Eierman, who is 17-1 on the season.

Harts opens his tournament in a tough match up against 24 seed Stevan Micic (10-6) of Michigan. Micic is a three time All-American with fourth, third, and second place finishes during his career. This will be the first matchup between Hart and Micic.

Josh Edmond 149lbs. - Record: 17-9 - Seed: 26

Josh Edmond finished the season ranked 26th in the nation at the 149lbs weight class. Edmond will be reaching the NCAAs for the first time in his collegiate career after receiving an at-large bid. Edmonds has an 0-5 record against quality opponents, losing all but one match by a decision.

Edmonds belongs to a bracket consisting of two-time NCAA champ Yianni Diakomihalis out of Cornell. Diakomihalis is 89-1 over the span of his college career and is currently a top contender for the Dan Hodge Award. Adding to the competition level inside the bracket are returning All-Americans Sammy Sasso (21-1) of Ohio State and Tariq Wilson (13-0) of North Carolina State.

Edmonds opens his first round bout against 7-seed Josh Heil (11-2) out of Campbell University. Heil is a three time NCAA qualifier and coming off of a second place finish in the Southern Conference Championship. This will be the first matchup between these two.

Jarrett Jacques 157lbs. - Record: 18-12 - Seed: 25

Jarrett Jacques finished the season ranked 20th in the nation at the 157lbs weight class. Making it to the NCAAs for his fourth straight season, Jacques will be looking for his first All-American finish. During the 2021 Championships he fell in the backside consolation blood round by decision keeping him off the podium. Jacques has gone 2-8 in quality matches this season having all but two losses come by decision.

Sitting atop Jacques’ bracket are two returning NCAA Champions, David Carr (21-0) of Iowa State and Austin O’Connor (17-2) of North Carolina. Adding to Carr and O’Connor is Northwestern's Ryan Deakin (13-0). Deakin is a Dan Hodge Award contender and three time All-American.

This year Jacques matches up with 8 seed Will Lewan (17-5) out of Michigan. Lewan is a three-time NCAA qualifier and coming off a second place finish in the Big 10 Championships. Jacques and Lewan will be going head to head for the first time.

Keegan O’Toole 165lbs. - Record: 20-0 - Seed: 2

Keegan O’Toole finished the season ranked 2nd in the nation at the 165lbs weight class. O’Toole comes into the NCAAs on a 24 match win streak dating back to last season’s quarterfinals loss to Jake Wentzel in the 2021 NCAA Championship. He then went on to finish with a third place finish during his first season with Mizzou. This season O’Toole has won 15 of his 20 matches by a major decision or better.

O’Toole is one of two undefeated wrestlers in his bracket. The other wrestler is former Wisconsin Badger and currently top ranked, two time All-American Evan Wick (18-0) of Cal Poly. Falling in behind Wick and O’Toole is Iowa Hawkeyes Alex Marinelli (20-1). Marinelli is a two time BIG 10 Champ and two time All-American.

Keegan O’Toole opens his NCAA Championship with 31 seed Caleb Fish (22-12) of Michigan State. Fish has one quality win this season against 12th ranked Zach Hartman of Bucknell. O’Toole has the opportunity for redemption by potentially meeting up with Pittsburg's Jake Wentzel in the quarterfinals for the second year in a row.

Peyton Mocco 174lbs. - Record: 15-5 - Seed: 11

Peyton Mocco finished the season ranked 11th in the nation at the 174lbs weight class. This will be Moccos third appearance at the NCAA Championships and like other teammates, he will be looking for his first All-American finish. He currently holds a career NCAA Championship record of 1-2. Mocco is 2-4 in quality matches this season with all but one being decided by four points or less.

Mocco enters a bracket led by returning 174lbs. NCAA Champ Carter Starocci (18-0) of Penn State. Moving down the 174lbs bracket is a group of former All-American including Virginia Tech’s Mekhi Lewis (20-1), Logan Massa (16-2) of Michigan, Iowa’s Michael Kemerer (9-2), and North Carolina States Hayden Hidlay (14-2). All four wrestlers combine for a total of nine All-American finishes.

Mocco opens the tournament with 22 seed Mason Kauffman (21-9) of Northern Illinois. Kauffman enters the NCAAs as a Mid-American Conference champ and a one time NCAA qualifier. This will be the second match up between Mocco and Kauffman with the first round going to Mocco on a 2-1 decision in double over time.

Jeremiah Kent 184lbs. - Record: 17-7 - Seed: 17

Jeremiah Kent finished the season ranked 15th in the nation at the 184lbs weight class. Clinching a spot in the NCAA Championship, Kent will be making his second appearance at the 184lbs weight class. He holds a 2-2 NCAA Championship record with one victory by fall. Kent comes in with a 2-5 quality match record knocking off a previous seventh nationally ranked opponent twice.

The 184lbs bracket is topped by couple of BIG 10 foes, Aaron Brooks (16-1) of Penn State and Myles Amine (17-1) of Michigan. Brooks is a returning NCAA Champ while Amine is a four time All-American placing no worse than fourth. The runner up to Brooks 2021 title, Trent Hidlay (17-0) of North Carolina State and third place finisher Parker Keckeisen (24-1) of UNI also return to the NCAAs at the 184lbs weight class.

Jeremiah Kent opens his tournament with a match up against 16 seed Dakota Geer of Oklahoma State (15-6). Geer is a two time NCAA All-American and will be matching up with Kent for the second time this season. In the years first contest, Geer came out victorious with a 2-0 decision.

Rocky Elam 197lbs. - Record: 19-5 - Seed: 7

Rocky Elam finished the season ranked 9th in the nation at the 197lbs weight class. Making his second appearance, Elam will look to top his fifth place finish in 2021. After losing his first round bout, Rocky battled his way through the consolation side of the bracket going 6-1 to knock off the guy who beat him in round one. This season Elam has a .500 record in quality matches.

Rocky joins a loaded field at the 197lbs weight class. His bracket is led by Penn State’s Max Dean (15-1). Dean is a two time All-American with one finals appearance. Among the rest of the wrestlers at 197lbs are Stephen Buchanan (23-2) of Wyoming, Eric Schultz (16-2) of Nebraska, Patrick Brucki (20-6) of Michigan, & 2021 197lbs runner up Nino Bonaccorsi (15-3) of Pittsburg. The list of competitors in this weight class runs deep and will be an exciting one to follow.

Rocky Elam will see 26 seed Michial Foy (16-12) of Minnesota in the first round. Foy is making his first NCAA Championship appearance and is transfer out of Harper College. With a win in the first round, Elam will have a chance to even the series with Iowa State’s Yonger Bastida.

Zach Elam 285lbs. - Record: 15-5 - Seed: 16

Zach Elam finished the season ranked 19th in the nation at the 285lbs weight class. Elam is a two time NCAA qualifier with a 5-4 NCAA Championship record. Elam comes into the tournament looking for his first All-American finish. He currently holds an 0-3 record against quality opponents this season, losing all three matches by decision.

The 285lbs runs through one man and one man only, Gable Stevenson (13-0) of Minnesota. Stevenson is the front runner for the Dan Hodge Award, a two time All-American and returning 2021 NCAA Champ. The fight for second place starts with returning All-Americans Mason Parris (15-4) of Michigan, Anthony Cassioppi (15-2) of Iowa, and Cohlton Schultz (18-0) of Arizona State.

Zach Elam opens his NCAA Championship bout against 17 seed Trent Hillger (19-6) of Wisconsin. Elam and Hillger meet for the second time since the 2019 NCAAs where Hillger took the match with a 1-0 decision. The winner of this matchup will advance to face Gable Stevenson.

The Tiger wrestling team will have a tough task ahead of them and will have to keep focus on the task at hand. Coach Brian Smith has his team competing at a high level and with good momentum rolling into this year’s NCAA Championship. Each opponent is better than the last every step of the way. Following game plans, picking up bonus points, and smart wrestling will move this team closer to bringing home hardware. Brackets can be found HERE


Schedule

Thursday, March 17

Session 1 (12pm) - Championship First Round (ESPNU)
Session 2 (7pm) - Championship Consolations (ESPN)

Friday, March 18

Session 3 (11am) - Championships Quarterfinals & Consolations (ESPNU)
Session 4 (8pm) - Championship Semifinals (ESPN)

Saturday, March 19

Session 5 (11am) - Championship Medal Round (ESPNU)
Session 6 (7pm) - Championship Finals (ESPN)