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NCAA Wrestling: Missouri Tiger Style vs Air Force Preview

Brian Smith and the Tiger Style squad travel to Colorado to take on the Air Force Fighting Falcons in another Big 12 dual meet. Here we take a look at the potential bouts we may see in this contest.

On Friday, January 13, 2023, Brian Smith and his Mizzou wrestlers will travel to Colorado Springs, Co. to take on the Air Force Fighting Falcons. Coach Smith currently holds a 1-0 record in head-to-head matchups against Air Force. You can see more detailed analysis in my prior article, Coach Smith vs Dual Schedule.

Moving into individual weight classes, we will start at 125lbs and make our way through 285lbs. We’ll take a glimpse into each dual and matchup and, if applicable, how the opponents have fared against each other previously. Alongside these duals, I’ll try to highlight what stood out most and which contests were potential season-altering battles. With injuries and wrestlers beginning to fill in on matches, we are going to take a little different format to the preview. (Matches/Wrestlers subject to change)

(All Rankings via FloWrestling)

125lbs:

Mizzou: #14 Noah Surtin (So.) or Peyton Moore (Fr.)

Air Force: Tucker Owens (Fr.)

  • Prior Matchup: No Previous History

Noah Surtin has been nothing short of dominant since returning from his brief injury stint. In his past six matches (post-injury), Surtin has gone 5-1 with his sole loss coming to #11 Matt Ramos of Purdue. Of those five matches, he has won by Fall 2x, Major Decision 2x, and by Tech Fall while accumulating seven takedowns and only giving up one in that time. Surtin will look to continue his winning ways in this contest given he gets the start. If freshman Peyton Moore steps in, we can expect more or slightly less of the same outcome. Moore hasn’t stepped foot on the mat competitively for over a month but should expect him to get the job done. Their competition, Tucker Owens, is a 15-7 freshman whose most notable win came against #20 Anthony Noto of Lock Haven and has a 7-3 record over his last ten matches.

133lbs:

Mizzou: HM* Connor Brown (Jr.) or Zeke Seltzer (Fr.)

Air Force: Cody Phippen (Sr.)

  • Prior Matchup: No Previous History

At 133lbs, true freshman Zeke Seltzer stepped in for starter Connor Brown in the last dual competition for his first collegiate start. Taking on the #15 wrestler, Seltzer saw himself wrestling tough but falling short of victory. Stepping into the next battle, we can expect to see Connor Brown step back on the mat to take on Senior Cody Phippen. Sitting at 6-5 on the season, Brown’s record does not show the level of success he has had. Getting the opportunity to take on another ranked opponent (#20 at 133), his talents will be on display once again. Phippen is a four-year starter for Air Force and is currently 9-3 on the season.

141lbs:

Mizzou: #9 Allan Hart (Sr.)

Air Force: Garrett Kuchan (Jr.)

  • Prior Matchup: No Previous History

Moving into 141, there is a possibility Coach Smith gives Allan Hart the night off and runs out the likes of Josh Edmonds or even bumps Selzter to 141 to compete in back-to-back contests but so far, we have seen Allan Hart at the plate for every dual meet this season. Hart has been a man on a mission this season and comes in off a match-controlling victory in the prior dual against UNI. the opponent across the mat, Garrett Kuchan, steps in as a first-year starter with a 12-7 record on the year.

149lbs:

Mizzou: #9 Brock Mauller (Jr.)

Air Force: Dylan Martinez (Sr.)

  • Prior Matchup: No Previous History

The 149-weight class presents itself as one of the easier contests for Brock Mauller after going on a stretch run of ranked opponents the past five matches. Dating back to the Arizona State dual in mid-November, Mauller has gone 4-1, defeating the #24, #19, #14, and #11 ranked wrestlers while falling to #6 by one point. Lining up across from him will be Dylan Martinez, a fourth-year starter who holds an 11-6 record on the season.

Mauller vs. UNI
@MizzouWrestling on Twitter

157lbs:

Mizzou: #11 Jarrett Jacques (Sr.) or Logan Giofffre (So.)

Air Force: TBD

  • Prior Matchup: No Previous History

Coming out of the UNI dual, we saw Jacques get a night off and Gioffre step in to compete for the Tigers. We may see a similar situation in this contest as well. Jacques is 3-2 in his last five bouts with his two losses coming from the #2 and #3 wrestlers in the nation. Gioffre enters the contest coming off a hard-fought loss in the last meet against UNI. Standing across the circle is a variety of potential matchups. Air Force has six wrestlers listed at 157 with Junior Garrett Bowers (1-6) being the most recent in the starting lineup.

165lbs:

Mizzou: #1 Keegan O’Toole (So.) or Cameron Steed (Fr.) or James Conway (Fr.)

Air Force: Giano Petrucelli (Jr.) or Jack Ganos (So.)

  • Prior Matchup: O’Toole over Ganos 19-3 Tech Fall (2021)

O’Toole has now been on the sideline for two straight duals to start the new year and may look to stay there for yet another match-up. Alternate Tigers, such as Steed or Conway setting behind him, could get another look inside the starting lineup. James Conway will be looking to bounce back from his previous fill-in during the UNI meet that saw him fall by a four-point decision to the #15 ranked wrestler at 165 lbs. Steed on the other hand has yet to make an appearance on the starting lineup, as he is a true freshman. Steed seems to have earned a shot after an impressive run at the Southern Scuffle where he fired out six straight wins to reach the third-place bout. As for the competition at 165, Petrucelli or Ganos, both have an opportunity to step in and take on the Tigers. This season both wrestlers have competed unranked in the nation and have a combined record of 26-11.

174lbs:

Mizzou: #9 Peyton Mocco (Jr.)

Air Force: #24 Sam Wolf (Jr.)

  • Prior Matchup: No Previous History

Peyton Mocco enters this contest having gone 5-1 in duals this season and will be looking for another ranked win. Coming off of a win by fall versus UNI, Mocco currently leads the team in total dual team points. His opponent from Air Force, Sam Wolf comes to the match with a 7-2 record and setting just inside the top twenty five in rankings.

184lbs:

Mizzou: Colton Hawks (So.) or HM Sean Harman (So.) or Clayton Whiting (Fr.)

Air Force: Noah Blake (Jr.)

  • Prior Matchup: No Previous History

If there was ever an opportunity to get Whiting inside the starting lineup, the Air Force dual is a good chance. There may still be a plan for Whiting but would be great to get him some extra mat time. His teammates, Hawks and Harman (Sounds like a law-firm), have a combined record of 20-11 on the season and both have one dual win a piece. The opponent in blue, Noah Blake, steps up with a 10-8 record this season and has one dual win on the season as well.

197lbs:

Mizzou: #1 Rocky Elam (So.) or Jesse Cassatt (Rs. Fr.)

Air Force: Calvin Sund (Jr.)

  • Prior Matchup: No Previous History

Still standing on top of the mountain at 197 is Rocky Elam. Rocky has been steadily dominating his weight class this season. While he has only competed in four meets this year for the Tigers, Rocky has given up one takedown this season while collecting eleven of his own. Adding to his quiet dominance, he has yet to surrender more than two pints in a bout this year as well. Like many of the other contests, Rocky should make quick work of another opponent in Calvin Sund. Sund is 11-8 on the season and has yet to knock off a nationally ranked opponent.

@MizzouWrestling on Twitter

285lbs:

Mizzou: #8 Zach Elam (Jr.)

Air Force: #7 Wyatt Hedrickson (Jr.)

  • Prior Matchup: No Previous History

Rolling into the final weight of the evening we finally get our “Match of the Night.” We get two heavyweight wrestlers with a 13-1 record facing off against one another. Zach Elam, a three-time NCAA qualifier and Wyatt Hedrickson a two-time NCAA qualifier. Both have losses to guys who were ranked ahead of them. While this dual more than likely won't come down to the final match, there will still be fireworks in this one.

The Tiger Style wrestling team will have no problem cruising through their fourth Big 12 dual meet of the season. As you can tell from above, there are very limited head-to-head battles where the Tiger won't be the favorite to win. Keeping a level head on their shoulders will go a long way in a meet like this one.