This year the Missouri wrestling team travels to Detroit, Michigan to compete in the NCAA Wrestling Championship. With only one day away, we take a deeper look into the nine weight classes the Tigers have wrestlers qualified for. Facing tough matchups along the way, James Hackney and Matthew Smith make predictions giving insight to potential outcomes and results.
Noah Surtin 125lbs. - Record: 19-7 - Seed: 18
James: Surtin comes in as the 18 seed for the second year in a row and has a tough draw. While I think he can get revenge in the first round over 15 seed Brody Teske (UNI), the 2 seed Vito Arujau (COR) in the quarters is a tough ask. Last year Surtin was able to get a fall in consolations, so I’m hoping he can get one or two bonus wins and get some important team points before losing in the round of 16.
Matthew: Noah Surtin rights the ship and knocks out 15 seed Brody Teske (UNI) in the first round and runs into 2 seed Vito Arujau (COR) where he struggles against a tough opponent. After falling to the consolation side, he runs into a couple of higher seeded opponents. Picking up a couple wins by decision in his first two consolations matches, Surtin eventually runs into 2022 Big 12 Champ and 5 seed Killian Cardinale (WVU), who ends his run in a close 3 point decision. Surtin ends his 21-22 campaign with a round of 16 dismissal.
Allan Hart 141lbs. - Record: 15-5 - Seed: 9
James: I think Hart gets to the quarterfinals against top seed Nick Lee (PSU) using some tough rides to beat Steven Micic (MICH) and Grant Willits (ORST). In the blood round I have him getting revenge over Chad Red (NEB), who beat him 8-7 in last year’s blood round. From there I think he falls to Real Woods (STAN) but gets a win in the 7th place match.
Matthew: Allan Hart opens his tournament defeating 3 time All-American Steven Micic (MICH) and Pac 12 runner-up Grant Willits (ORST) before falling to top seed Nick Lee (PSU) in a close two point quarterfinal bout. Falling to the back side blood round, Hart finds himself facing a couple Big 10 opponents. Taking victories in both matches, it is there he finds himself locked into a match with former Missouri Tiger and current Iowa Hawkeye Jaydin Eierman. Coming off a semi-final loss, Eierman bounces back edging out Hart in a thrilling battle sending Hart to a fifth place bout and his first All-American finish.
Josh Edmond 149lbs. - Record: 17-9 - Seed: 26
James: Even though Edmond is the lowest seeded Tiger, I actually really like his path. His opening opponent 7 seed Josh Heil (CAMP) was the 20 seed last year, and typically wrestles very close matches. As long as Edmond can get out from bottom, I think he has a great chance at a big upset. From there I have him getting a rematch in the blood round against Kyle Parco (ASU), who beat Edmond 3-2 in the dual. If Edmond can make the adjustments and get the win, I see him finishing on the podium in his hometown.
Matthew: As James said, Edmond comes in as an overlooked wrestler and can make some noise especially right in his back yard. Coming out the gate firing, Edmonds upsets the 7 seed and 10 seed on his way to losing his quarterfinal bout against 2 seed Tariq Wilson (NCST). Then finding himself battling in the consolation blood round, Edmonds comes out with a victory before falling to 9 seed Big 12 Champ Kaden Gfeller (OKST) sending him to a seventh place match and his first All-American status.
Jarrett Jacques 157lbs. - Record: 18-12 - Seed: 25
James: If Jacques had just a slightly different year up to this point, I’d feel comfortable with him making the quarters with wins over Will Lewan (MICH) and Kaleb Young (IOWA). If he could get two wins there he’d get a rough matchup against top seed David Carr (ISU). If Jacques can get to that point then I like his chances in the blood round, as I have him seeing 6 seed Jared Franek (NDSU). Franek’s beaten him twice this season, on a last second takedown and overtime. If Jacques is wrestling well enough to win the first two then I think he can win this one as well, then drop to Ed Scott (NCSU) to make the 7th place match. However I wouldn’t be surprised to see Matthew’s predictions come true either.
Matthew: Jarrett Jacques is a tough draw and choice to make. His opening bout could fall either way but with a loss he falls to the backside where he wins the first round consolation. Moving on to a match up with 7 seed Josh Humphreys (LEH), Jacques runs into another tough opponent. In a close one point match, Jacques eventually falls leaving him with an early exit to the tournament.
Keegan O’Toole 165lbs. - Record: 20-0 - Seed: 2
James: Keegan goes on a run and not only makes the finals, but gets bonus in his first three matches. I have him pinning Caleb Fish (MSU) in the first round, another pin over Anthony Valencia (ASU) in the second round, and a dominant revenge win over Jake Wentzel (PITT). In the semi-finals I think O’Toole shows his offensive abilities and recovers after giving up an early takedown to beat Alex Marinelli (IOWA) and make the finals. In the finals he’d likely see top seed Evan Wick (Cal Poly). In a crazy scramble I think O’Toole wins and gets back points to get the win and finish as champ.
Matthew: Keegan O’Toole will keep his undefeated win streak straight into the finals with exciting matches along the way. Opening his tournament with a dominant round one victory over the 31 seed, he moves onto 18 seed Anthony Valencia. In a lopsided decision, he then advances for a quarterfinals rematch with Jake Wentzel (PITT) where he gets redemption before moving to semi-finals matchup with 3 seed Alex Marinelli of Iowa. A Friday night showdown with the Hawkeye ends in with an overtime victory moving O’Toole into the Finals match to take on undefeated top seed Evan Wick. O’Toole finishes the season standing on top of the podium giving Mizzou its first champ since 2017 (J’den Cox).
Peyton Mocco 174lbs. - Record: 15-5 - Seed: 11
James: Another Tiger in a double digit seed position that I think should contend for an All-American spot this season. Mocco starts with a rematch against Mason Kauffman (NIU), which was a 2-1 overtime match win last year. After that I think Mocco gets revenge against the 6 seed Dustin Plott (OKST). I do have him losing in the quarters to 3 seed Logan Massa (MICH), but I like Mocco’s chance to win in the blood round and make the podium.
Matthew: Peyton Mocco starts his championship with a convincing round one victory sending him to face Dustin Plott (OKST) in a rematch of Big 12 finalist. This time Mocco gets a lead and doesn’t let it go taking a close decision into the quarterfinals. Matching up with 3 seed Logan Massa (MICH), Mocco takes his first loss of the tournament sending him to the backside blood round. Getting back in the win column, Mocco takes out the 9 and 10 seed in back to back decisions before being sent to a fifth place bout by loss to Michael Kemerer of Iowa.
Jeremiah Kent 184lbs. - Record: 17-7 - Seed: 17
James: I think Kent has wrestled the best he has all season lately, so I like his chances to reverse a close decision loss to Dakota Geer (OKST). In the second round I think he drops a tough one to Myles Amine (MICH). In the wrestle back rounds he will be challenged physically against the 18 seed Abe Assad (IOWA), and unless Kent hits a big move I think he may struggle and fall out after a good early win.
Matthew: Jeremiah Kent starts his tournament with a Big 12 victory over Oklahoma States Dakota Geer advancing him to face top seed Myles Amine (MICH). After falling to Amine, Kent moves to the consolation side where he takes out the 18 seed and 8 seed in back to back. Making it the 184lbs blood round Jeremiah Kent runs into 6 seed Trey Munoz (ORST). In an exhausting overtime match, Kent falls short of advancing to medal rounds.
Rocky Elam 197lbs. - Record: 19-5 - Seed: 7
James: I’m going full Mizzou bias here and penciling Rocky in as champ. Last year he recovered from a first round loss to beat the 9 seed then major the 2 and 3 seeds. While he has had some issues, and may have to get some revenge wins along the way, I think he has the talent to do it.
Matthew: In a loaded bracket, James has me riding a Mizzou high going into this one. Elam opens his first round with a with a decisive win moving him to a rematch with Iowa State’s Yonger Bastida. Getting the job done this time, Rocky moves into the quarters to match up with 2 seed Stephen Buchanan (WYO). In what makes for and exciting Friday, we see him knock off two higher seeded opponents by close one and two point matches. Pushing his way through the semis after taking down the 6 seed Jacob Warner (IOWA) is where Elam’s dominant run comes to an end falling to top seed Max Dean (PSU) in the finals.
Zach Elam 285lbs. - Record: 15-5 - Seed: 16
James: Zach Elam made the round of 12 as a true freshman, but hasn’t been able to find similar success since. I think he has a solid shot this year, even though I have him dropping his first round match against two-time All-American Trent Hillger (WISC). On the backside I have him going on a run beating the 33 seed, 15 seed, and a revenge win over 10 seed Nathan Traxler to make the blood round. In the blood round I see him facing off against Big 12 opponent and 5 seed Wyatt Hendrickson (AF). I think Elam can slow him down, but Hendrickson’s offense is likely to be too much and he just misses out on placing.
Matthew: Rounding out our slightly one sided predictions is Zach Elam. Elam opens with a tough matchup but advances to the winning side to face top seed Gable Stevenson (MINN). After dropping second round match up, Elam moves to the backside where he meets up with 15 seed Taye Ghadiali (CAMP) before advancing to the next round. Needing two more wins to get to the medals, Elam falls in a heartbreaker during the third round wrestle backs to 9 seed Lucas Davison (NW).
All Mizzou wrestlers have a chance to win at any given time. Would we like to put them all in the finals, ABSOLUTELY! Will they all reach the finals, more than likely not. The Missouri wrestling team has a chance to turn some heads this weekend and outperform their seeds and better. Any prediction knocking one down or out of the tournament is no knock on the wrestler themselves but rather a reason to prove us wrong and push themselves one step closer to becoming an All-American!