Victories from three seniors meant the most Wednesday night, both for themselves and Missouri.
Six Tiger wrestlers were victorious against Tennessee-Chattanooga at Hearnes Center as No. 13 Missouri won 22-15 on Wednesday, avenging a Jan. 14 loss to the No. 24 Mocs.
“We like to win,” coach Brian Smith said. “This is the only team that beat us that’s out of the top 10, so it was definitely a pride thing for the program. (UTC) shows up to wrestle hard.”
Senior captain Tyron Woodley (32-3. No. 5 at 165 pounds) pulled off his second upset in four days, defeating No. 3 Jon Sioredas 3-2. On Jan. 14, Sioredas beat Woodley by the same score. Woodley hasn’t lost since, and continues to move up Missouri’s 100-win club with his 105th.
“I don’t know if it’s the best (I’ve ever wrestled),” Woodley said. “A lot of times guys want to go out there and go hard and crazy. When you wrestle guys like that you can make very little mistakes while you wrestle. I think I wrestled probably the smartest I’ve been wrestling.”
How Woodley has been wrestling impressed Smith more than the upsets.
“They might be upsets, but they’re small,” Smith said. “All those guys he’s beating are right next to him. He’s wrestling very, very well right now; he’s on a roll. If he keeps winning, he controls his destiny. Then he’s just got to win his matches at nationals and that’s all that matters.”
Woodley’s win came in the middle of a stretch of six straight victorious matches for Missouri. After trailing 12-0 early, the Tigers (14-6) looked to their seniors for a big lift against UTC (13-10).
No. 17 Cody Greene scored Missouri’s first points of the evening with a major decision in the 149-pound match. Scoring two near falls, Greene beat Wayne French 14-3.
“Especially as a senior, you want to step up and do your part,” Greene said. “I knew it was a big deal to get the ball rolling. You don’t want to leave with a bad taste in your mouth.”
No. 15 Brad Cieleski followed with a 3-1 win against Jake Yost to draw MU to within 12-7.
“Cody Greene won, Cieleski won and Woodley won,” Smith said. “They showed up and wrestled tremendously. I expected it from them, you just look at them and they had the confidence.”
No. 2 Ben Askren (29-1), a sophomore, extended his Missouri pins record to 20 with 12 seconds left in the third period.
No. 10 sophomore Matt Pell escaped his 184-pound match with a 7-6 victory against John Davis. Leading 4-2 going into period three, Pell found himself tied at six with less than a minute left, but as time expired he managed to escape for the winning point.
In the 197-pound match, No. 19 junior Jeff Foust knocked off Josh Ward 10-4. Leading 4-2 and looking sluggish through two periods, Foust recorded six points in the final period.
With a 22-12 lead, the meet was won , and Smith elected to go with senior Clint Freeman in the heavyweight bout in place of freshman Chase Wetenkamp. In a match that came down to the final seconds, Freeman fell 5-3 to Wes Taylor.
“It feels really good,” Woodley said with a smile. “Especially after Iowa State, we had a really tough dual meet and I thought the guys stepped it up. So I was looking forward to this dual meet to see if we could keep the momentum and intensity going and we did.”