Story by Peter Terpstra
Photos by Karen Mitchell
No. 5 seed Michael McMullan from Northwestern celebrates his win over Missouri’s Dom Bradley Friday, March 22 at the NCAA wrestling tournament in Des Moines, Iowa. Bradley was the No. 1 seed in the 285 pound division.
DES MOINES – The second day of Missouri’s NCAA wrestling championship had a bit of everything.
Things started off hopeful. The Tiger’s secured five All-Americans—matching a program high from 2009.
Then the lights went out in Wells Fargo Arena: a small technical problem providing a small amount of entertainment as competition continued without a hitch.
You could say the lights went out on Missouri’s evening success too.
Missouri’s Alan Waters rides on the back of Penn State’s Nicholas Megaludis, trying to gain an advantage in Friday’s match. Waters lost the match.
“That stuff is nice, but we didn’t wrestle well this round. It’s just frustrating. We’ve been wrestling consistent all year but [Friday night] we just didn’t have our best there,”coach Brian Smith said.
Three Tigers entered the national semifinals and three Tigers fell short of the national finals. At 125 pounds, top-seeded Alan Waters wrestled through the second set of tiebreakers in overtime before losing to Penn State’s Nico Megaludis. It was Waters’ first loss of the season.
“He lost a heartbreaker. He had his opportunity to get a takedown too, but he just didn’t get the finish,” Smith said.
Missouri’s second top-seeded wrestler also lost a close match to miss a chance at a national championship. Heavyweight Dom Bradley lost to Northwestern’s Michael McMullan 3-1 in overtime.
“We were trying to hang and get a stalemate. Instead the foot popped out. That’s the match,” Smith said. “I’m just hurting for them. I know they worked really hard.”
The Tigers’ 149-pound unseeded Drake Houdashelt lost to second-seeded Jason Chamberlain of Boise State 7-3. All three semifinalists have a chance to a third place wrestling in the medal rounds tomorrow.
Two other Missouri seniors snatched All-American honors. Nathan McCormick pinned Northern Iowa’s Levi Wolfensperger in the second period to secure a spot on the podium. Mike Larson beat Pittsburgh’s Max Thomusseit 4-2 to become an All-American. It is each wrestler’s first time finishing on the podium at the NCAA Tournament.
The next round proved just as disappointing for both McCormick and Larson. McCormick lost 10-2 to Oklahoma State’s Jon Morrison—the same wrestler the 133-pounder beat in a dual on Feb. 1. Larson dropped a 3-0 decision to Iowa’s Ethen Lofthouse after securing an All-American berth. Both McCormick and Larson will wrestle for seventh place Saturday.
“I tell them it’s really important to come out and win your last match. So we’re going to come out and battle,” Smith said.
Missouri’s Nick Hucke (141), Kyle Bradley (157), Zach Toal (165), Todd Porter (174) and Brent Haynes (197) lost their second match in the double elimination style tournament to finish their seasons.
Here’s results from Friday’s competition:
125 Pounds: Waters decision 4-0 decision over Matthew Snyder (Virginia)
Nico Megaludis (Penn State) decision over Waters in 2nd Tie Breaker Overtime (18 seconds RT)
133 pounds: Tyler Graff (Wisconsin) 5-3 decision over McCormick
McCormick fall (4:54) Levi Wolfensperger (Northern Iowa)
Jon Morrison (Oklahoma State) 10-2 major decision over McCormick
141 pounds: Hucke 6-2 decision over Luke Vaith (Hofstra)
Michael Nevinger (Cornell) 7-2 decision over Hucke
149 pounds: Houdashelt 3-2 decision over Kevin Tao (American) in 1st Tie Breaker Overtime
Jason Chamberlain (Boise State) 7-3 decision over Houdashelt
157 pounds: Daniel Zilverberg (Minnesota) 6-0 decision over Bradley
165 pounds: Toal 4-2 decision over Pierce Harger (Northwestern)
Patrick “Bubby” Graham (Oklahoma) 5-4 decision over Toal
174 pounds: Porter 8-7 decision over Jonathan Fausey (Virginia)
Porter 6-2 decision over Daniel Yates (Michgan)
Michael Evans (Iowa) 8-0 major decision over Porter
184 pounds: Larson 2-1 decision over Boaz Beard (Iowa State)
Larson 5-2 decision over Daniel Rinaldi (Rutgers)
Larson 4-2 decision over Max Thomusseit (Pittsburgh)
Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa) 3-0 decision over Larson
197 pounds: Kyven Gadson (Iowa State) 7-3 decision over Haynes
285 pounds: Bradley 2-1 decision over Zac Thomusseit (Pittsburgh) in 1st Tie Breaker Overtimes
Michael McMullan 3-1 decision over Bradley in Sudden Victory Overtime