COLUMBIA — Starting strong makes a difference.
The Missouri wrestling team defeated Iowa State 18-15 on Sunday afternoon at Hearnes Center in the Tigers final dual of the season. The victory followed a tough loss to Central Michigan on Friday. The Tigers entered Sunday's match ranked fifth in the country in USA Today's wrestling poll. Iowa State came in at No. 2.
After being pinned on Friday night, Tigers 125-pounder Troy Dolan lost 4-2 Sunday against No. 10-ranked Tyler Clark. Despite the result, Missouri coach Brian Smith said Dolan's energy had a positive impact on his team.
“I don’t care if they win or lose, just that they go out and compete hard and wrestle hard,” Smith said. “It started at 125. Troy Dolan went out and wrestled hard, and this is what you want to see from your kids.”
Dolan said he thought he was going to wrestle well on Sunday.
“I felt really good warming up today and my weight felt right,” Dolan said. “I knew it was a matter of time before I went out and performed how I can. I felt like I really pushed the pace, which is what my coaches have been on me to do.”
The whole Missouri team looked different. No. 10 Marcus Hoehn upset No. 3 Nick Gallick to give the Tigers a victory at 141-pounds. Hoehn won the match on a stalling call against Gallick in overtime. Missouri's Nicholas Marable and Raymond Jordan, who lost on Friday, won their matches on Sunday.
“The big thing we wanted to change coming into tonight was making sure we had an offense,” Hoehn said. “Even if you don’t even win, you just have to go out and show everybody that you work hard in the room. Our constant offense I think caught up and wore a couple of them down. We had some huge wins and some huge matches.”
Iowa State forfeited the 133-pound match because Cyclone Nick Fanthorpe was nursing a hamstring, which ended up being crucial in the outcome of the dual.
“It was a last-minute decision,” Iowa State coach Cael Sanderson said. “We want him to be 100 percent at the national tournament. He could have wrestled today, but this was just a dual meet. Obviously, we wanted to win it, but having him ready in March is our priority.”
Smith said this is a great way for his seniors to enjoy their last dual and that the team has confidence going into the Big 12 Conference championships.
“Momentum can happen some times,” Smith said. “I don’t always believe in it, but it happened today.”