Missouri falters down the stretch, loses season-opening dual to Virginia Tech

Tigers dropped the final four matches to take a decisive 29-10 loss on the road.

Entering its season-opening dual against then-No. 16 Virginia Tech, Missouri’s wrestling team held sky-high expectations for its season as the No. 9 team in the country.

Those expectations took a hit on Saturday after the Hokies came away with a decisive 29-10 victory over the Tigers, who lost each of their final four matches. The Tigers’ slide began in the heavyweight bout, in which Virginia Tech sophomore John Borst defeated Missouri junior Rodrigo Diaz 11-3 for a major decision. That match gave the Hokies the lead in the dual, which they never relinquished.

A forfeit in the 133-pound weight class clinched the dual for Virginia Tech, who proceeded to put an exclamation point on the win when No. 17 Mitch Moore pinned Missouri’s Alex Butler in 26 seconds in the final match of the day.

Missouri’s three wins came at the hands of No. 2 Brock Mauller, No. 8 Connor Flynn and No. 20 Wyatt Koelling. Mauller, a sophomore, kicked off the dual with a 6-0 win over No. 23 Brent Moore.

Mauller’s shutout was the Tigers’ only victory over a ranked opponent, as two of their more high-profile wrestlers — No. 10 Jarrett Jacques and No. 14 Dylan Wisman — both dropped hard-fought matches to No. 17 B.C. LaPrade and No. 9 Hunter Bolen, respectively. Jacques fell to LaPrade in overtime for the second consecutive year, while Wisman finished his match tied but lost due to excessive riding time.

Last year’s Tigers defeated Virginia Tech by a score of 21-8, but the Hokies finished strong in the rematch. Saturday’s loss ties last year’s total of dual losses for Missouri, who went 16-1. Its one defeat was to Oklahoma State, who was ranked second at the time.

The following morning, Missouri’s wrestlers faced Virginia Tech again, as well as wrestlers from Campbell, Chattanooga, Davidson, Gardner-Webb, George Mason, No. 20 North Carolina, VMI, and West Virginia in the Southeast Open tournament.

Mauller and Flynn built on their efforts against the Hokies, beginning the tournament portions of their seasons with first place performances and 4-0 records, moving their season totals to 5-0. Jacques was equally dominant, winning his weight class as well and advancing to 4-1.

In total, Missouri rebounded nicely from the Virginia Tech loss, winning a combined 37 out of 52 matches. No wrestler finished with a record below .500 on the day.

The Tigers will look to even their dual record on Nov. 14, when they travel to Francis Howell High School in St. Louis to take on Illinois.

Edited by Wilson Moore | wmoore@themaneater.com

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