COLUMBIA — For the first time in Jesse Hall's 120 years of existence, an athletic competition was held in the auditorium as the No.9 Missouri wrestling team hosted Ohio University on Friday. The night saw the Tigers win the "Clash of the Cats" dual 23-10.
The Tigers had to use Jesse Hall because the Hearnes Center was hosting the first two rounds of the NCAA Volleyball Championship Tournament.
"We knew about a month ago that volleyball was probably going to continue the streak," Missouri coach Brian Smith said. "We were thinking of all these different places, and I said let's go over to Jesse. I think it was a really cool atmosphere. I think the crowd enjoyed."
The Jesse Hall staff went all out to present the team, complete with flashing neon lights, gold streamers, walk-up music playing over loudspeakers, smoke and a spotlight shining down on the mat.
The Tigers started off with a dominant 15-4 win by junior Johnny Eblen. But then undefeated freshman J'Den Cox was upset 6-4 by Ohio's Phil Wellington. The loss marked the first time Cox has lost since his freshman year at Hickman.
Cox said that he learned a lot from the loss.
"Losing isn't always a bad thing because you only go out and learn things," Cox said. "I'm going to learn everything I can, I'm going to dissect the match, watch over it and I'm going train hard. Come back with him (later in the season) I'm going to have a little fire in my heart."
Cox wasn't the only one who suffered an upset loss. Drake Houdashelt, ranked No.1 nationally at 149 pounds, lost 5-3 to No. 18 Tywan Claxton.
Redshirt freshman Matt Manly won his debut match against Kagan Squire 1-0. Freshman Barlow McGhee came back to win his match with a final minute take down against KeVon Powell. Kyle Bradley, Zach Toal, Mikey England and Lavion Mayes also came away with wins.
Even though the Tigers won, Smith was not satisfied.
"We have a lot of work to do," Smith said. "I'm glad it's still early December. We made a lot of mistakes. At this point we're a young team and we showed it. We didn't stick with our game plan."
Next up for Missouri is the Northern Iowa Open on Dec. 14.
Supervising editor is Nina Pantic.