Mizzou Wrestling experienced their first dual loss this season Sunday at Cornell, losing 20-16. I’ll leave the analysis until the end of the article. First, here is how each of the Tigers fared in their matchups.
125lbs: #4 Noah Surtin (MIZ) over #15 Brett Ungar (COR), Victory by Fall
Sporting the neck brace again, Surtin wrapped this one up quickly. After some limited action in the beginning of the first period (Ungar seemed hesitant to engage), Surtin rolled Ungar onto his back. He got the pin after a brief but intense struggle, celebrating with a whisking celebration a la Brady Cook.
Mizzou: 6 - Cornell: 0
133lbs: #2 Vito Arujau (COR) over #24 Kade Moore (MIZ), 10-9 Decision
Both wrestlers came out aggressive early, facing off with similar styles. Moore countered Arujau early, preventing the defending national champ from using his speed to get around for takedowns. Moore opened up the scoring with a takedown and three-point nearfall during some intense scrambling, almost getting a pin at one point before a reversal made the score 6-2. Moore quickly escaped, giving him a 7-2 lead heading into the second period.
Arujau quickly escaped from bottom, cutting the lead to 7-3, and initiated most of the offense in period two. Both wrestlers were extremely scrappy and energetic, Arujau attacking with zeal and Moore countering his moves. Moore was let up to begin the third period, 8-3, but Arujau finally got some effective shots in.
He got to Moore’s legs, bringing him to the mat for a takedown before a Moore escape made the score 9-6. Arujau went right back on the offensive, scoring another takedown to tie it up at nine. With the match tied, Arujau rode out the rest of the period, getting across the minute mark in riding time and securing the narrow victory in the process.
Moore held the upper hand in the first two periods, but Arujau dominated the final two minutes to deny Moore the upset. This was by far the toughest opponent Moore has faced this year, and he lived up to the challenge. Moore is still young, still learning, and has plenty of opportunities to take down highly-ranked opponents before the NCAA Championships. I think he’s got sneaky All-American potential.
Mizzou: 6 - Cornell: 3
141lbs: #10 Vince Cornella (COR) over #21 Josh Edmond (MIZ), 9-6 Decision
Cornella took a quick lead and never gave it up, getting around Edmond for a takedown roughly a minute into the first period. Edmond escaped and then got a nice shot on Cornella’s legs, leading to a scramble won by Cornella for another takedown, 6-1.
Edmond quickly escaped from bottom to start the second period, 6-2, the only points in a period mostly devoid of action. Cornella got back the point when he escaped from bottom to start the third period, 7-2. Edmond started his comeback attempt with a nice counter, bringing Cornella to the mat to cut the deficit to two, 7-5. Cornell was forced to call an injury timeout when Cornella tweaked his leg, leading to Edmonds starting on bottom when action resumed.
Edmonds escaped, but not before Cornella recrossed the minute mark in riding time, 8-6. Edmond got a good shot and had a chance for a takedown in the final seconds but couldn’t get around to convert, leading to another close loss, 9-6.
Mizzou: 6 - Cornell: 6
149lbs: NR Ethan Fernandez (COR) over NR Zeke Seltzer, 4-0 Decision
Seltzer, wrestling in place of Logan Gioffre, caught multiple shots from Fernandez in the first period and played staunch defense. Scoreless heading into period two, Fernandez got on the board first with an escape from bottom, 1-0. The only major action of the period came in the final seconds as Fernandez lifted Seltzer up but couldn’t bring him to the mat before time ran out.
Starting from neutral in period three, Hernandez again forced Seltzer to play defense. He got the only takedown of the match in the final seconds when he got hold of Seltzer’s leg, leading to three points and a 4-0 decision. Seltzer was neutralized on offense for the entire match, unable to shoot effectively and failing to score any points.
Mizzou: 6 Cornell: 9
157lbs: #14 Meyer Shapiro (COR) over #5 Brock Mauller, 14-4 Major Decision
Shapiro struck fast and early, scoring two takedowns for a 6-2 lead at the end of the first period. Mauller got his usual fast escape from bottom to start the second period but was unable to stop the offensive onslaught that came his way. Shapiro added on another two takedowns in the second period, getting in good shots and attacking with great speed for a 12-4 lead after five minutes.
Shapiro quickly escaped from bottom in the third period. Mauller avoided the tech fall by preventing any more takedowns but lost by major decision 14-4 after the extra point for riding time. Mauller is usually able to generate offense by using speed and finesse to shoot and counter against opponents, getting around for takedowns. Shapiro used that exact playbook today as Mauller was a step slow.
Mizzou: 6 - Cornell: 13
165lbs: #1 Keegan O’Toole (MIZ) over #4 Julian Ramirez (COR), 13-5 Major Decision
After a first period where both wrestlers felt each other out, Ramirez scored the first points of the match with an escape from bottom to begin the second period. He extended his lead with a duck under to get around O’Toole for a takedown before a quick escape, 4-1. O’Toole responded to tie the match up in the final 15 seconds of the period with a takedown after getting in deep on Ramirez’s leg.
Starting on bottom, O’Toole escaped for his first lead of the match, 5-4. Going back to the ankle, he earned another takedown after a great scramble by slowly working his way around Ramirez and then added on a two-point nearfall, 10-4. After a Ramirez escape, O’Toole again grabbed the ankle to convert a takedown, securing the 13-5 major decision.
Mizzou: 10 - Cornell: 13
174lbs: #6 Peyton Mocco (MIZ) over NR Evan Canoyer (COR), 8-2 Decision
Mocco displayed strong defense in the first period, avoiding takedowns multiple times after good shots from Canoyer. He entered period two with a 1-0 lead after a technical violation was called. He added to his lead with a fast escape from bottom to start the second period, 2-0, the only point scored in that frame,
Starting from neutral in period three, Mocco scored his first takedown after countering a shot from Canoyer, getting around for three points, 5-1. Mocco added another takedown after getting a hold of Canoyer’s ankle, finishing with an 8-2 decision. He played very strong defense throughout, scrambling well to avoid surrendering takedowns. His offense was much-improved in the final period after a sluggish first five minutes.
Mizzou: 13 - Cornell: 13
184lbs: #8 Chris Foca (COR) over #10 Clayton Whiting (MIZ), 14-1 Major Decision
Whiting, much like Mauller, was overwhelmed in this match. He held Foca at bay in the first period, catching a few shots and avoiding giving up any takedowns, but the floodgates opened in period two. Foca escaped from bottom to open up the action before quickly overpowering Whiting to bring him to the mat for a takedown, 4-0. He rode strong for the rest of the period, getting Whiting on his back for a four-point nearfall and taking an 8-0 lead with 1:39 in riding time into the final two minutes.
Starting from neutral, Foca quickly moved around Whiting for another takedown, 11-0. On top once again, Whiting was penalized multiple times for stalling, opening up the lead to 13-0. Whiting scored his only point of the match with an escape as time was running out, losing 14-1 but avoiding the tech fall. Foca held the upper hand in just about every category possible in this match, taking command from the second period onward.
Mizzou: 13 - Cornell: 17
197lbs: #9 Jacob Cardenas (COR) over #6 Rocky Elam (MIZ), 4-0 Decision
Cardenas opened up the scoring by escaping from bottom in the second period after a slow first three minutes, 1-0. Cardenas lifted Elam up and got around him, bringing him to the mat for a takedown with under a minute left in the period before riding out the remaining time for a 4-0 advantage.
Facing an uphill battle, Elam was unable to generate any offense in the third period as Cornell clinched the dual victory. The Tigers’ offensive efforts were stymied at every turn, including this dual, as Rocky couldn’t mount a serious comeback attempt.
Mizzou: 13 - Cornell: 20
285lbs: #6 Zach Elam (MIZ) vs. #20 Lewis Fernandes (COR)
The only points in this match came on a reversal by Elam after starting from bottom in the second period. He rode out period two. Starting on bottom again in period three (I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone start from bottom in two consecutive periods), he was unable to escape but Fernandes could not score any points either, leading to a 2-0 final. Elam has proven to be very good at winning low scoring matches when necessary this year. That being said, you’d like to see more offense, a trend seen through many of the matches in this dual.
Mizzou: 16 - Cornell: 20
This was easily the worst performance of the year for the Tigers. Multiple wrestlers were far removed from their typical selves, leading to questions about how the first weekend of multiple duals and the week without any competitions affected Mizzou.
Fortunately for Tiger fans, the team’s performance in Ithaca was such an outlier compared to the body of work they’ve put in this year that I’d be shocked if this repeats itself. Mizzou has an opportunity for a strong response when it faces #5 Oklahoma State in the final home dual of the year on Sunday, February 5 at 1:00 p.m.