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NCAA Wrestling: Missouri Tiger Style takes on the Southern Scuffle

Brian Smith and his Tiger Style wrestlers traveled to Chattanooga to compete in the 2023 Southern Scuffle to open the new year. Let’s take a look at how they fared on the mats with a limited lineup!

@MizzouWrestling on Twitter via Sam Janicki

During the 2022 NCAA Wrestling season, the Mizzou Wrestling Team competed in the Southern Scuffle and walked out with a championship team title. This year they made the trip looking to repeat but came up short, placing third as a team. The final team standings were as follows:

  1. Oklahoma State 181
  2. North Dakota State 144.5
  3. Missouri 125
  4. Stanford 105.5
  5. Minnesota 96
  6. Northern Colorado 68.5
  7. Binghamton 63.5
  8. Maryland 58.5
  9. Purdue 55.5
  10. Little Rock 54.5
  11. Iowa State 48
  12. Rider 47.5
  13. Appalachian State 46.5
  14. Bucknell 38
  15. Virginia Tech 35
  16. Chattanooga 30
  17. Cal State Bakersfield 24.5
  18. Duke 21.5
  19. Virginia 21.5
  20. Hofstra 17.5
  21. Gardner Webb 11

(All rankings via FloWrestling)

125LBS: Noah Surtin (2nd Place)

During the 2022 season, Surtin went 5-2, finishing with a fourth-place medal. This year Surtin enters the tournament ranked #14 inside his weight division (reminder: he’s missed some time with injury) and made a statement moving through the tournament. En route to a finals bout, Noah Surtin collected 5 takedowns, 3 two-point near-falls, 2 escapes, and 1 four-point near-fall while collecting victories via major decision, fall, fall, and decision. Surtin did not face his first nationally ranked opponent until the semi-final bout where he took on #16 Trevor Mastrogiovanni of Oklahoma State where he won by a 3-0 decision. The Tiger wrestler then moved on to the finals match where he fell in a hard-fought contest to #11 ranked Matt Ramos of Purdue by a one-point decision (4-3).

133LBS: Connor Brown (Did not Place- DNP)

After coming out of the Scuffle empty-handed in the previous season, Connor Brown returned to the tournament looking for a chance to better place himself. Brown opened the tournament with back-to-back victories over opponents from Little Rock (TF) and Oklahoma State (Dec.) before falling to Aaron Nagao of Minnesota in the quarterfinals by a 6-3 Dec. Brown then dropped out of the rest of the tournament via injury, ending his time in the Southern Scuffle by default.

141LBS: Allan Hart (2nd Place)

Now in back-to-back seasons, Mizzou’s Allan Hart has reached the finals bout at the Southern Scuffle. This year Hart did it in a dominant fashion, collecting 14 takedowns, 3 four-point near-falls, 5 escapes, and 3 riding time points. Making his way through the champion side of the bracket, Hart picked up wins over opponents from/by Chattanooga (Fall), Northern Colorado (Maj. Dec.), Little Rock (Maj. Dec.), and Virginia (TF) before reaching the semifinals contest where he matched up against his first nationally ranked opponent of the tournament, #10 Jakob Bergeland of Minnesota. Following his 6-0 decision over Bergeland, Hart advanced to the finals match where he was defeated by top-ranked Andrew Alirez (UNC) by an 8-4 decision.

149LBS: Nate Pulliam (DNP)

Filling in for original starter Brock Mauller, Nate Pulliam represented the Tigers at the 149lbs weight class. Pulliam opened his tournament with two consecutive victories by decision, including an upset over the fifth seed in his bracket, Noah Castillo of Chattanooga. Reaching the quarterfinals match, Pulliam took his first loss to Victor Voinovich (OKST) by decision (5-2). Moving to the consolation side of the bracket, he was then tasked with taking on the #20 nationally-ranked wrestler, Jaden Abas (Stanford). Falling in his lone consolation bout of the tournament by a 6-3 decision, Pulliam exited the Scuffle with a 2-2 record.

157LBS: Jarrett Jacques (6th Place) & Logan Gioffre (DNP)

After placing 3rd in the 2022 Southern Scuffle and a strong start to the current season, Jacques was looking to be another strong contender moving into this year’s Southern Scuffle. Jacques opened the tournament with a first-period fall before winning his next two bouts, including a decision over #12 Daniel Cardenas of Stanford by decision (8-5). Advancing into the semifinals match, Jacques was looking to take down the #3 nationally-ranked wrestler Kendall Coleman (PUR) but fell short dropping by decision (3-1). Jacques then medically forfeited the rest of the tournament leaving him with a sixth-place finish.

As for Logan Gioffre, his tournament started with a second-round victory via 3-1 Dec over Virginia Tech prior to dropping the next two bouts against #13 Kaden Gfeller (OKST) and an opponent out of Little Rock.

165LBS: Cameron Steed (4th Place)

Filling in for Keegan O’Toole, true freshman Cameron Steed understood the assignment. After a tough first-round loss against #20 Michael Caliendo (NDSU), Steed was sent to the consolation side of the bracket where he fired off SIX straight wins to reach the third-place bout. Over the course of those victories, Steed’s stat line accounted for 13 takedowns, 3 escapes, 2 reversals, 1 two-point near-fall, 1 four-point near-fall, and riding time. His victories included two wins by fall, two by major decision, and two by decision. Steed finished out his day by medically forfeiting to #21 Wyatt Sheets of Oklahoma State.

174LBS: Peyton Mocco (2nd) & Ellis Pfleger (DNP)

At 174lbs, Peyton Mocco maybe his second finals appearance for a consecutive season at the Southern Scuffle. Dominating his first-round bout by way of a tech fall (21-5) over Purdue, he proceeded to take care of business. Along his journey to the finals, Mocco picked up three more wins via decision, including a 9-3 victory over #15 Bailee O’Reilly of Minnesota. Reaching the finals match, Mocco ran into a familiar foe in #4 Dustin Plott of Oklahoma State. Opening with a strong first period, Mocco failed to hold on falling by a decision (12-7) ending his day with a silver medal.

Mizzou’s second wrestler competing at 174lbs was Ellis Pfleger. Pfleger started his tournament taking on #24 Tyler Eischens of Stanford where he was defeated by fall before heading to the consolation side of the bracket where his tournament came to a quick end. In the first round wrestle backs, he found himself on the losing end of a decision (10-8) to Appalachian State.

184LBS: Sean Harman (DNP) & Colton Hawks (DNP)

Both wrestlers in the 184lbs weight class got their chance to compete for the Tigers at the Southern Scuffle. Combing for a record of 4-4 on the day, both Hawks and Harman mirrored one another in their bracket reaching the quarterfinals before dropping back-to-back matches. Hawks collected two wins by decision before falling to #12 Travis Wittlake (OKST) by decision (2-0) followed by a loss by fall to Iowa State. Harman, took victories by major decision and a decision before dropping by a decision to North Dakota State and Virginia Tech.

197LBS: Jesse Cassatt (DNP)

Cassatt stepping in for Rocky Elam, had a rough go at the 2023 Southern Scuffle. Cassatt went 0-2 on the day, losing by a decision (8-6) to Duke followed by a loss by fall to Gardner Webb to end his day.

285LBS: Zach Elam (1st Place) & Seth Nitzel (DNP)

The lone gold medal making its way back to Columbia belonged to Zach Elam, who dominated his way into the semifinals. Picking up wins by tech fall (16-0), major decision (10-1), and fall, Elam reached the semifinal bout where he knocked off Garrett Joles of Minnesota by a decision (4-1). Entering the finals match, Elam toed the line against #24 Cory Day of Binghamton where he pitched a shutout (5-0 Dec) putting him atop the podium to round out the tournament for the Tigers.

While Tiger Style was missing a major part of their starters, they still managed to put on display the depth they have inside the wrestling room. As the season progresses, you can expect the usual wear and tear on these student-athletes’ bodies.Getting them scheduled time off to get them healthy is crucial. While missing out on mat time is disappointing, getting their bodies and minds right for the stretch run is essential for the Tigers to be able to content rolling into March Matness!