Despite many characterizing this season as a step back, the Missouri wrestling team is once again returning home as Mid-American Conference champions.
With a 35-7 victory on the road against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) on Wednesday night, MU captured its eighth straight MAC title.
“All year, people have been coming up to me and telling me we’re struggling and having a down year, but I don’t look at it like that,” coach Brian Smith said in a news release. “I look at (it) like we are continuing to get better every week. I’m enjoying this season because they are getting better every time out.”
For the fourth consecutive dual, the Tigers fell behind early, as Phyllip DeLoach lost by major decision to Justin Ruffin. Redshirt freshman Peyton Mocco responded with a major decision of his own, evening the bout at four.
Missouri dominated the next three bouts, with each wrestler winning by at least 13 points. Connor Flynn won by major decision, and both Dylan Wisman and Wyatt Koelling got technical falls, which brought the lead to 18-4.
The Tigers lost the heavyweight match but got a pin from Cameron Valdiviez 47 seconds into his bout. Cevion Severado picked up his eighth win of the year with a 22-7 win, and Alex Butler won his second straight match with a 3-2 victory.
No. 5 Brock Mauller improved to 23-1 on the season with a win in the sudden-victory period to close out the dual.
“Everywhere we go, teams have their biggest crowds and we get every team’s best shot every time we wrestle them,” Smith said. “It’s not something that I take for granted at all.”
The Iowa State Cyclones come to Columbia for senior night at 1:30 p.m. Feb 22. at Hearnes Center.