In a weekend full of disappointing performances by Missouri athletic teams, the Tigers’ wrestling program proved to be an exception Sunday.
Missouri avoided the woes of the football and basketball teams, placing four wrestlers in championship matches at the Missouri Open at the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse.
Tigers Tyron Woodley and Tyler McCormick each won titles, and Missouri had 11 wrestlers finish in the top six of their weight classes.
Woodley, who had finished second in the tournament the past three years, dominated his competition on the way to the 165-pound championship.
Woodley displayed an aggressive attacking style, notching a 12-1 semifinal win and a 12-5 final win.
“He’s just doing the right things,” coach Brian Smith said. “He’s going out and getting the takedowns, he’s scoring double digit points. ... He just needs to continue it.”
Said Woodley: “I wanted to get back to getting more takedowns on my feet, so I felt pretty good about that.”
McCormick won the 133-pound division by default when North Carolina’s nationally-ranked Evan Sola was unable to compete because of an injury. McCormick scored a 17-8 victory to reach the final.
McCormick’s brother, Chris McCormick, upset second-seeded and third-seeded wrestlers on his way to the final at 141 pounds. He fell 11-6 to former national champion Teyon Ware of Oklahoma in that match.
Transfer Brad Cieleski came to Missouri to wrestle against the best competition in the nation, and proved Sunday he belongs among the top few at 157 pounds. Cieleski cruised through the quarterfinals and then won 2-1 in the semis. In the final against Illinois’ Alex Tirapelle, ranked fourth in the country, Cieleski fell 4-2. Cieleski said he is never happy about losing, but overall was pleased with his performance.
There were other performances Smith said he was less than happy about. No. 2 seed Matt Pell was upset in his first match of the day, and fellow Tiger and second-seed Jeff Foust also lost in an early round.
“In a tournament this big where you have 30-something guys wrestling you’re going to have some good, you’re going to have some bad,” Smith said. “Some of them get their heads thinking they can walk on the mat and beat people and they still have to wrestle hard. Some of them had letdowns.”
Still, Pell (184 pounds) and Foust (197) both rallied through the losers’ bracket for third-place finishes. Amond Prater (133) and Cody Green (149) also came in third.
Green led 4-2 entering the final period of his semifinal match and was within two seconds of advancing to the championship match when 10th-ranked Matt Storniolo of Oklahoma scored a two-point takedown for a 5-4 win.