The 2021-22 college wrestling season has come to an end and the Missouri Wrestling team capped off the season with a ninth place team finish as well as a fourth and first first place medalist at the NCAA Championships. The Tigers finished with an 11-4 overall dual record, going 8-2 within the conference knocking off multiple top-ranked teams. Then to put the icing on the cake, they went into Tulsa, Oklahoma and defended their 2011-12 Big 12 title, which was last won prior to leaving for the Mid-American Conference (MAC).
This Mizzou squad has had its ups and downs throughout the season, and has given the fanbase a lot of optimism going into next season.
To wrap up the 2021-22 season, let’s take a look at the roster and hand out end of the season report cards for each individual wrestler before scoring them as a unit. (Statistics via WrestleStat)
Noah Surtin (22-9): GRADE: B
In his third season with the Tigers, Surtin definitely took a step forward in his career. Surtin finished the season going 2-8 in quality matches this season, winning one by fall. Out of his nine losses this season, seven of them came via decision, never keeping him completely out of a match. Surtin definitely caught my eye at the end of the season and there is much to look forward to. His impressive run at the NCAA tournament is definitely something to build off of and his future will only be determined by his will to keep getting better.
Connor Brown (6-9): Grade: C
Now in his fifth season and third with the Missouri, Connor Brown has seen his career level out. While bouncing around from the starting lineup to watching from the side, Brown still seems to be getting his feet under him for the black and gold. Brown put on a good showing during the Big 12 Tournament, which gave promise of what could be, but it wasn’t enough to justify a better grade.
Trey Crawford (10-10): GRADE: C-
Crawford enters his second season with Mizzou and found himself cracking the starting lineup off and on with Connor Brown throughout the season. Having just two seasons under his belt now, it’s safe to say Crawford is still in early stages of learning the college wrestling speed and lifestyle. A potential career arc could be coming for the freshman out of KCMO with an important offseason looming.
Allan Hart (16-7): GRADE: B-
Capping off his fifth season with the Tigers, Hart had an impressive season with a sobering finish. Hart made his third NCAA appearance for the third straight season. After being knocked out in the blood round the previous year, there was high expectation to see him break through and receive his first All-American honor. Falling two matches short of last year’s mark with an early exit had to leave a sour taste in his mouth. Hart is one who put in all the studying but fell short one answer come test time.
Josh Edmond (17-11): GRADE: C+
Josh Edmond had a highly productive season for the Tigers and gave the team some great tape to build off of. Making his way into the starting lineup, Edmond had the chance to face off against multiple 2022 All-Americans this season. While he fell short in those matches, Edmond made them all wrestle to the final whistle. Moving into the NCAAs, Edmond ran into two unseen opponents and dropped both bouts back to back. It was a disappointing to see him exit early after a productive season, but it will serve as a learning experience for the freshman.
Jarrett Jacques (18-14): GRADE: C+
It could be easy to look at Jacques’ record and simply say he had a mediocre season, but that simply isn’t the case here. Out his 14 losses this season, 10 of them came from wrestlers ranked inside the top 15, and 5 inside the top 6. Jacques is a four-time NCAA qualifier and is still seeking that first All-American title. Reaching the round of twelve in the previous season, the next step was bringing home a medal, but Jacques left disappointed, going two and out at this year’s NCAA tournament. (Also, Congrats to the newly engaged wrestler!)
Keegan O’Toole (25-0): GRADE: A+
After winning 29 straight matches dating back to last year’s NCAA Tournament followed by a Big 12 and individual National Championship, Keegan O’Toole is simply a straight A wrestler. O’Toole finished the season winning 16 of his 25 matches by a major decision or better and capped off his Championship run only giving up five points, all of which came in his first place match. He became the first Mizzou wrestler to take home an NCAA gold medal since J’den Cox in 2017.
Peyton Mocco (18-7): GRADE: B
Finishing his fourth year at Mizzou, Mocco has seen himself once again inching one step closer to All-American status. This season Mocco has found himself on the losing end of seven matchups. Out of those seven losses, four reached All-American status this season. With a disappointing opening round loss this year, Mocco bounced back reaching the blood round before finding himself watching from the stands for the second year in a row.
Sean Harman (20-7): GRADE: C
Sean Harman is an exciting wrestler for this Mizzou squad who gives the team valuable matches during the course of the season. While he wasn’t slotted in a full-time starting spot, Harman deserves being mentioned regarding his 5-4 decision upsetting 12th-ranked (now 9th) All-American Dustin Plott (OKST).
Jeremiah Kent (19-9): GRADE: B-
Kent has now finished his fourth season with Mizzou and for the second year in a row was knocked out of the NCAAs in the round of 16, falling a couple matches shy of the podium. This year has been a season that will stick with Kent throughout the offseason and into next year. He saw himself knock off a 2022 All-American twice and also found redemption against an opponent he’s lost to twice. Kent earned extra credit in the post season making his grades a little more attractive.
Rocky Elam (24-7): GRADE: A
Rocky Elam may have 7 losses on the season, but 5 of them came to just 2 different wrestlers, and one of which he redeemed at the NCAA tournament. Elam put together an impressive season capped off with a fourth place finish at the NCAA Championships. Building off his previous year (5th), Rocky brought himself one place closer to the ultimate goal, a late Saturday night matchup in March!
Zach Elam (18-7): GRADE: B+
Elam finished his season with four of his seven losses coming from All-Americans. Three of them were to the top three finishers in his weight class. Elam is another Mizzou wrestler still looking to crack through the round of twelve and make his way on to the podium to finish the season. Prior to missing out on a medal, Elam went on a pinning spree, notching back to back falls in the NCAA Championships. Unfortunately, he ran into the the second ranked wrestler at the 285 weight class, ending his season.
The Mizzou wrestling team as a whole could be graded anywhere from a B to an A. Rolling into the NCAA Championships, after they secured a conference team title, I had them setting high on an A, but post-NCAA Tournament dropped them back down into the Bs. While the Tigers ran the table for most of the season, they took some lumps at the end with some tough losses. From an outside looking in standpoint, this is a young squad with a very high ceiling and they are just starting to scratch the service of what could be.
Everyone on this team is talented enough to take the next step. Whether you think they are graded properly or missing the mark, they are all given the proper needs to succeed on and off the mat.
It has been a fun season watching this team continue to grow, and the true evaluators of this team lie within the coaching staff and teammates around them. Each wrestler is more than capable of holding their teammates accountable and pushing one another to be the best they can be.