NCAA wrestling: Missouri wins 2016 MAC Championships
YPSILANTI, Mich. – No. 6 Missouri captured its fourth straight Mid-American Conference Championship and fifth straight overall conference title at the 2016 MAC Championships, finishing with 127.5 points. Five Mizzou wrestlers; redshirt sophomore 125-pounder Barlow McGhee, redshirt senior 157-pounder Le'Roy Barnes, redshirt freshman 165-pounder Daniel Lewis, redshirt senior 174-pounder Blaise Butler, and junior 197-pounder J'den Cox all captured individual championships at their respective weight classes.
Cox was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament after winning his championship match against Ohio's Phil Wellington by way of major decision, 9-1. Cox scored a takedown within the first twenty seconds of the match, and grew his lead to 5-0 by the end of the second. The Tiger junior scored four more points in the third period to secure the major decision.
Cox is now a three-time MAC champion, while McGhee, Barnes, Lewis, and Butler all captured their first MAC titles. Butler is now a two-time conference champion, after winning an ACC title at Virginia in 2014.
Mizzou finished with 127.5 team points, 34 points ahead of second place Central Michigan, with 93.5 points. Ohio finished in third place with 76 team points, while Kent State finished fourth with 75.5 points, and Northern Iowa rounded out the top-five with 73.5 points.
McGhee captured the first individual championship of the day, defeating Northern Iowa's Dylan Peters, 9-5. The Tiger sophomore scored quickly in the match, picking up four points in each of the first two periods to gain his lead. Barnes jumped out to a 3-0 in his championship match against Northern Iowa's Bryce Steiert. Barnes added a four-point near-fall in the third period, and a riding time points secured the major decision, 10-2. Lewis followed with an 8-3 win over Eastern Michigan's Dakota Juarez. In three matches over the weekend, Lewis outscored his opponents, 30-3. In arguably the most exciting match of the day, Butler outlasted Central Michigan's Mike Ottinger, 4-3, in TB-2. The two each scored a point off escapes in the first three periods, then each escaped again in the first tiebreaker overtime. Following the second tiebreaker overtime, Butler had riding time over Ottinger, giving him the riding time point for the win, 4-3.
All five first place finishers earned All-MAC First Team Honors, while redshirt junior 141-pounder Matt Manley earned All-MAC Honorable Mention after finishing in second place. Manley did not compete in the championship match after injuring his knee the previous day. Redshirt sophomore 184-pounder Willie Miklus finished in third place after defeating Buffalo's Joe Ariola, 10-3. Redshirt junior 149-pounder Lavion Mayes and redshirt heavyweight Cody Johnston also placed for the Tigers, finishing in fourth and sixth, respectively.
Missouri will now head to New York City for the 2016 NCAA Championships, March 17-19, at the Madison Square Garden. The brackets for the tournament will be announced on Wednesday, March 9. NCAA.com will stream the selection show. Eight Tigers; McGhee, Manley, Mayes, Barnes, Lewis, Butler, and Cox all have secured their spots in the Nationals.
Central Michigan- 93.5
Kent State- 75.5
Northern Iowa- 73.5
Northern Illinois- 65.0
Eastern Michigan- 54.5
Old Dominion- 36.5