J'den Cox advanced to the semifinals of the Southern Scuffle (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Bonus points in three of six quarterfinals bouts helped No. 5 Mizzou Wrestling elevate from fifth place following the opening session, to second place at the end of the first day of the Southern Scuffle on Sunday at the McKenzie Arena. In all, four Tiger wrestlers advanced to the quarterfinals and four more are still in contention on the backside of the bracket as the Tigers sit in second place, trailing only No. 1 Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys took a commanding lead after the first day, scoring 116 points, while the Tigers are second with 70.5 points. Two-and-a-half points separate the Tigers and Minnesota, who is currently in fifth place. Lehigh is in third with 69.5 points, while Northern Iowa is in fourth with 68.5 points and the Gophers in fifth with 68 points.
With wins in their quarterfinal matches, redshirt sophomore 165-pounder Daniel Lewis (Blue Springs, Mo.), senior 197-pounder J'den Cox (Columbia, Mo.), redshirt senior 149-pounder Lavion Mayes (Mascoutah, Ill.) and redshirt junior 157-pounder Joey Lavallee (Reno, Nev.) all advanced to Monday's semifinals. Lewis and Mayes scored falls to advance to the semis, while Cox registered a technical fall and Lavallee a decision victory.
The fall for Lewis capped a highly impressive 3-0 day for Lewis, who did not see the third period in his three matches. The Tiger sophomore pinned Elliott Raiford (Appalachian State) in his opening match at 2:40, before recorded a 16-0 technical fall in 3:12 over Devin Kane (North Carolina), and a fall over Drew Longo (Lehigh) at 1:09. Cox scored bonus points in all three of his matches as well, scoring technical falls in his first and third matches, with a win by major decision in between.
With the tree wins, Cox has 120 career wins and moves ahead of Kenny Burleson for the ninth-most wins in program history. The two technical falls are his 18th and 19th of his career, which ranks second in program history.
Mayes snuck by in his first two matches, winning 3-1 and 4-1, before pinning Ty Buckiso (Citadel) at 1:13 to advance to the semis. Lavallee earned three decision victories on the day, including a 7-0 win over Chase Delande (Edinboro), to improve to improve to 14-0 on the season.
On the backside of the bracket, redshirt junior 125-pounder Barlow McGhee (Rock Island, Ill.), redshirt sophomore 133-pounder John Erneste (Kansas City, Mo.), redshirt freshman 141-pounder Jaydin Eierman (Columbia, Mo.) and redshirt senior 141-pounder Zach Synon (Cary, Ill.) are all still alive and will wrestle for third place on Monday. McGhee earned decision wins in his first two matches before falling to No. 11 Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State), 7-4, in the quarterfinals. Erneste recorded a fall in his first match and a decision win in his second before falling to No. 5 Kaid Brook (Oklahoma State), 14-5, in the quarterfinals.
Eierman went 4-1 on the day, falling to No. 5 George DiCamillo (Virginia) in the round of 16 before recording two wins on the backside to advance to Monday's session. The Tiger freshman recorded two technical falls on the day in his first event at 141 pounds. Synon went 3-1 on the day, recording two major decisions and a decision win over highly-ranked prospect out of high school, AC Headlee (North Carolina), 4-3, in his final bout.
Redshirt freshman 174-pounder Dylan Wisman (Winchester, Va.) and redshirt freshman heavyweight Austin Myers (Alexandria, Ky.) each scored bonus points on the backside to aid Mizzou's ascension to second place. Wisman scored a fall over Drew Hall (Utah Valley), while Myers scored a four-point near-fall as time ran out to earn a 12-4 major decision over JJ Everard (Northern Iowa).
Mizzou's eight wrestlers who are still in contention will wrestle tomorrow, beginning with a consolation round at 10 a.m. (ET). The Southern Scuffle championship finals and medal matches are slated to begin at 7 p.m. (ET). FloWrestling will continue to provide coverage of the tournament.
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Team Scores after Day One (Top 10)
1. Oklahoma State 116
2. Mizzou 70.5
3. Lehigh 69.5
4. Northern Iowa 68.5
5. Minnesota 68
6. Virginia 46.5
7. Stanford 44.5
8. North Carolina 43.5
9. Cornell 36.5
10. Edinboro 33