Brian Smith and his Tiger Style wrestling team have rounded out the 2022-23 regular season in dominant fashion, landing a top-ranked Big 12 victory against Iowa State. Before we move on to the Conference and NCAA Championships, let’s take a trip back and see what the Tigers have achieved up to this point.
Opening the season, Mizzou wrestling took to the softball diamond (yes, you heard that right) to get the season kicked off against the in-state program, Lindenwood University. Getting the opportunity to knock someone around who isn’t a teammate was a real pleasure for the Tigers in this contest as they rolled through the contest winning all ten bouts by a major decision or better.
Rolling into the next competition, Mizzou welcomed in five other programs for its first of many to come, Tiger Style Invite. Represented by twenty-one different wrestlers, Mizzou saw its overall tournament record set at 54-28 (.658) to round out the day. In the meantime, Mizzou collected 10 victories by fall, 5 by technical fall, 10 by major decision, 27 by decision (2 in sudden victory), and 2 by way of medical forfeit. They finished the day with a total of 187.5 team points, which was 58 more than the second-place Cal Poly (129.5). (Preview & Recap)
Post-Invite, The Tigers moved into the next month of the season firing off four straight dual meets starting with a high-powered fifth-ranked Arizona State squad. The meet opened with Mizzou taking four straight losses by decision, with three coming to lesser-ranked opponents. Collecting four victories, three by major decision or better, of their own, Mizzou found themselves on the losing end of a dogfight sending them to a 1-1 dual record in the early season. (Preview & Recap)
Looking to bounce back, the Tigers welcomed in the West Virginia Mountaineers for their first Big 12 contest of the season. Stepping inside the Hearnes for the first time this season, Brian Smith had his crew ready to go as they secured nine victories on the evening while only falling in one bout. The Tigers collected four bonus wins in the process while seeing a true freshman (Peyton Moore) collect his first varsity win and fall of his collegiate career. (Preview & Recap)
Jumping into the fourth dual meet of the season, Mizzou made their way twelve hours east, to take on another top-ranked team. Stepping into Cassell Coliseum, the black and gold were faced with knocking off a ninth-ranked Virginia Tech team. In what turned out to be a split contest going 5-5 between the two schools, it was the Hokies who ended up taking the win collecting the only bonus wins on the night with two major decisions at the 125 and 184-weight classes. (Preview & Recap)
Now setting at .500 in duals once again, Mizzou was welcomed back to the Hearnes Center for its second conference battle of the year against fifteenth-ranked North Dakota State. With fans filling the stands for Military Appreciation Night, the Tigers were prepared for the task at hand. The Tiger Squad racked in eight victories including three bonus wins, on their way to a dominant night keeping them undefeated in Big 12 match-ups to round out the 2022 year. (Preview)
Returning from its end-of-the-year break, Mizzou jumped right back into battle with the 2023 Southern Scuffle. Looking to defend their title from the previous season, Mizzou fell short of achieving that goal taking home a third-place finish behind second-place North Dakota State and first-place Oklahoma State. In the process of battle, the Tigers finished the contest going 34-29 (.493) collecting 7 victories by fall, 4 by technical fall, 8 by major decision, and 20 by decision while receiving six individual medals. (Recap)
Now one win above .500 (3-2), the Tigers stepped back on the mats inside Hearnes Center for the sixth meet of the season and third conference clash for Gold Rush Night. Taking on the thirteenth-ranked Northern Iowa Panthers, the wrestling squad pulled out six victories, three with bonus points, en route to another conference team win. (Preview & Recap)
Continuing on the final stretch run of away Big 12 dual meets, Brian Smith took his wrestlers back on the road to Colorado Springs to take on Air Force. Making light work of this conference business trip, Mizzou racked up eight straight victories before receiving back-to-back losses at the 197 and 285lbs weight classes. Within those eight victories, all but one came by way of a major decision or better. (Preview)
Pushing forward, Mizzou packed their bags and headed to Laramie, Wyoming for the fifth Big 12 Conference meet of the season. The Tigers once again made easy work of their opponent picking up bonus wins in four out of the seven contests they won and locked up another conference team win, keeping them undefeated inside the Big 12. (Preview & Recap)
Now into the latter half of the season, Mizzou was holding on to a 6-2 overall record while staying undefeated (5-0) in Big 12 action. Tiger Style made its final road trip of the season to Oklahoma to take on the Sooners and the State Cowboys. Starting with the Sooners, Mizzou picked up win number seven on the year, taking all bouts except for the 14lbs bout. As for the contest in Stillwater, the Tigers did not fare too well. An eleventh-ranked Oklahoma State team showed up and took the Tigers down a notch pulling off multiple upsets. Splitting the dual 5-5, the Cowboys were awarded the team victory on criteria that came down to total match points scored giving Brian Smith his first conference defeat of the season. (OU: Preview & Recap) (OKST: Preview & Recap)
Rounding out the remainder of the dual and tournament season for Mizzou, It was a Senior Night to remember headlined by the match of the year, #1 Keegan O’Toole verse #2 David Carr. A top-ranked Iowa State Cyclone team came to Columbia Missouri looking to lock up another Big 12 dual victory but Mizzou said not today. The Tigers walked away with a convincing double-digit win going 6-4 on the night highlighted by two big-time wins by fall from Noah Surtin and Brock Mauller. (Preview & Recap)
With many competitions throughout the season, there were several other wrestlers among the Mizzou roster who saw action outside the main competitions. The depth of Mizzou goes deep and many were able to get plenty of division one exposure and opportunities to grow and develop their talents. Gearing up for the final stretch run over the next couple of weeks will be important inside the wrestling room. A long and grueling season can take a toll on one’s mind and body when you are a wrestler. We can expect Head Coach Brian Smith and his valuable assistants to have this squad ready to take on the postseason.