Story by Andrew Pulverenti, MVC Sports Information Director
The No. 10 Missouri Valley College men’s wrestling team welcomed in some of the top wrestling programs in the NAIA and NCAA for its annual Missouri Valley College Invitation at the Burns Athletic Complex.
A total of 16 schools, including eight nationally ranked NAIA schools and one
nationally ranked NCAA school, took part in the event. As a team, the Vikings finished in fifth place with 107.5 team points, with Maryville University winning the team championship with 163 points. Five Vikings medaled, including two second-place finishers, two third-place finishers, and a fifth-place finisher.
At 125 pounds, No. 14 freshman Ryan Stearns (Williston, Vt.) received a bye and was able to win his first match of the day against Jeremy Dorrell of Truman State University by a 10-9 decision. In his second match, Stearns was defeated by major decision 16-8 by Guadalupe Florez of Northwestern. Stearns defeated Kristopher McKinley of Indiana Tech by a decision of 6-4 in his third match of the day. Alan Callahan of Baker University defeated Stearns in his fourth match by a 9-5 decision.
At 133 pounds, No. 10 sophomore Logan Welch (Lexington, Mo.) won his first match of the day against Allen Gassman of Baker University by a 10-4 decision. Welch picked up another win in round two by defeating Tyler Espitia of Oklahoma City University 3-2 in overtime. Welch won again in round three by a 7-4 decision over Ben Randolph of Benedictine College. No.12 Joao Vicente of William Penn University defeated Welch 13-7 by decision in his fourth match of the day. Welch refocused and defeated Tyler McWilliams of Northwestern by a 4-3 decision to put himself in the third place match. Welch defeated Blake Pursel of Baker University for a decision of 13-9, which was good enough for Welch to take third place.
Freshman Todd Brackett (Farmington, Mo.) received a bye in the first round of the 141 pound weight class, and won by technical fall over Roger Fender of Northwestern 17-0 in round two. In his third-round match, Brackett was defeated by Tyrell Galloway of Maryville University in a decision of 11-4. In Brackett’s fourth match, he was defeated by Tyler Klinkhammer of Bacone College by a decision 5-3. At 141 pounds, sophomore Willie Essex (St. Louis, Mo.) received a bye in round one. Essex was defeated by Nathan Manfull of Northwestern by a 10-5 decision in round two. Essex received a consolation round two bye. Tyler Klinkhammer of Bacone College defeated Essex in his third match of the day by way of pin.
At 157 pounds, sophomore Jared Sterling (Tacoma, Wa.) received a bye in round one and defeated Michael Boyd of University of Central Missouri in round two with a 3-2 decision. No. 3 Mark Meyer of Oklahoma City University defeated Sterling by a 12-11 decision in his third match of the day. Sterling defeated No.15 Arnol Arroliga of Bacone College by a 7-5 decision. Connor Middleton of Baker University defeated Sterling by decision 19-9 in his fourth match of the day.
At 165 pounds, No. 12 senior Gian Traverso (St. Helena, Calif.) received an opening
round bye, and in his first match of the event was able to pin Austin Gonzalez of Central Baptist College in the second round. In the quarterfinals, Traverso won a major decision, 16-5 in points, over Grayson Smith of Indiana Tech. Traverso scored a semifinal victory over No. 8 Bryce Alexandar of Hannibal LaGrange with a 16-10 decision to move into the championship match. Traverso was defeated by No. 4 Dallas Houchins of Grand View University in a 9-6 decision to finish in second place.
At 174 pounds, senior Jamaal Bufford (Lake Jackson, Texas) came away with a first-round victory thanks to 9-3 decision over Joe Sumner of William Penn University. In his second-round match, Bufford was pinned in the first period by No. 11 Teagan Franco of Oklahoma City University. In his first consolation match, Bufford won via an injury default by Jacob Hawks of Central Missouri. Next for Bufford, he pinned Jose Hernandez Bacone College in the first period, but was eliminated in his third consolation match by No. 9 Cody Swim of Grand View University with a first period pin.
At 184 pounds, freshman Brett Bader (Farmington, Mo.) received a first round bye, and was a winner by a 14-3 major decision over Dustin Brunner of Midland (Neb.) Lutheran. In the quarterfinals, Bader defeated No. 7 Chris Berry of Bacone (Okla.) thanks to a 5-3 decision. Bader was defeated in the championship semifinals by Clarence Neely of Central Missouri in a 12-8 decision. In the consolation semifinals, Bader was defeated by No. 14 Cody Sivertsen of Oklahoma City University with an 8-5 decision. In the fifth-place match, Bader defeated Kelvin Jordan, Jr. of Indiana Tech with a 9-5 decision.
At 197 pounds, junior Carl Lawrence (Sullivan, Mo.) received a first round bye, and defeated Todd Brier of Central Missouri in the second round with a 10-4 decision. In his quarterfinal match, Lawrence won by a 12-3 major decision over Eric Johnson of Calumet College of St. Joe. In the semifinals Lawrence was defeated in a second period pin by Matthew Baker of Maryville University. In the consolation semifinals, Lawrence won the rematch with Brier thanks to an 8-2 decision. In the third-place match, Lawrence defeated Mike Brown of Oklahoma City University with a 3-2 decision.
At the 285 pound weight class, No. 6 junior Daniel Mueller (Collinsville, Ill.) came away with an opening round victory over Ryan Ward of Truman State University thanks to a 6-1 decision. Mueller was able to win his second round match over Jared Pflasterer of Central Baptist College with a pin just 35 seconds into the first round. In the quarterfinals, Mueller edged out Logan Rimmer of Indiana Tech in a 5-4 decision to advance. Mueller then advanced to the championship match with a 9-4 victory over Zotaih Tuaquoi of Central Missouri. In the championship match, Mueller was defeated by No. 1 Brandon Gehbardt of Baker University with a 5-2 decision.
Also, senior James Alter (Kirksville, Mo.) pinned his first-round opponent, Tyler Cook of Hannibal LaGrange University, in the first round. In his second-round match, Alter was defeated by No. 14 Stanley Latimore of Oklahoma City University by a 5-3 decision. Alter defeated Aaron Jefferson of Central Baptist College in his first consolation match in a 7-1 decision. Alter advanced once more in the consolation bracket thanks to a 17-12 decision over Logan Rimmer of Indiana Tech, but Alter was eliminated one match later by Lonnie Brown of Midland in a 9-6 decision.
The Vikings will next be in action Friday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m. hosting NCAA Division II No. 15 Maryville University in a dual at the Burns Athletic Complex.