Why You Should Be Following Missouri Wrestling

Missouri Tigers wrestler Keegan OÕToole celebrates after defeating Oklahoma State Cowboys Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Missouri Tigers wrestler Keegan OÕToole celebrates after defeating Oklahoma State Cowboys Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

A sport that gets less national exposure than it should, wrestling, may be one of the most consistent and top programs at the University of Missouri.

Over the past ten years, Missouri has finished inside the top ten as a team at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships eight times including two top five finishes, nine straight Mid-American Conference team titles, and took home a Big XII team title prior to changing conferences in 2012. Individually they have accounted for forty four conference champs, ninety one NCAA Qualifiers, thirty two All-Americans, and four national champs.

The Missouri wrestling team is led by Head Coach Brian Smith. Coach Smith has been running the Missouri Wrestling team for twenty three, going on twenty four straight seasons this year. He has installed what has become known as “Tiger Style” wrestling and has turned Mizzou into one of the more dominant wrestling programs in the nation. Coach Smith’s best finish at Mizzou was during the 2006-07 season where the team took home third at the NCAA Championship and where he took home his first ever two time NCAA Champion, Ben Askren. Since the 2006-07 season, coach Smith has produced six National Champs including three time champ J’Den Cox.

The Missouri wrestling team is currently over halfway through their season and moving into the back end of their schedule. Coming into the 2021-22 season, Mizzou had all ten NCAA qualifiers from the prior season returning, including three All-Americans. While the results are slowly starting to shine through, the 2021-22 season is showing progression toward the future success for this Missouri wrestling team.

The current depth chart/roster is full of youth and underclassmen looking toward great things for the Tiger Style program. A quick glimpse into what you can look forward too:

The current Tiger lineup holds five multi-year freshmen. Three of the five returning are 2021 NCAA qualifiers including two All-Americans; Keegan O’Toole (3rd place finish) and Rocky Elam (5th place finish). Both O’Toole (74kg) and Elam (92kg) capped off their 2021 campaign as freestyle junior world champions. Keegan O’Toole is currently a top contender for the 2021-22 Dan Hodge Trophy which goes to the nations best wrestler so other words it is the Heisman of the college wrestling world.

(All ranks are via FloWestling)

Current NCAA Record & Rank:

  • Noah Surtain (125 lbs.): 15 – 4, 16th
  • Trey Crawford (133 lbs.): 10 – 9, N/A
  • Josh Edmond (149 lbs.): 13 – 4, 21st
  • Keegan O’Toole (165 lbs.): 14 – 0, 3rd
  • Rocky Elam (197 lbs.): 12 – 3, 5th

Moving on to the sophomore class on the team, Missouri currently has three returning 2021 NCAA qualifiers. Among those three, two (Peyton Mocco, Zach Elam) are both two time qualifiers.

Current NCAA Record & Rank:

  • Peyton Mocco (174 lbs.): 10 – 4, 12th
  • Jeremiah Kent (184 lbs.): 13 – 5, 21st
  • Zach Elam (285 lbs.): 9 – 3, 16th

The junior class for Mizzou brings in another well accomplished class for the program to be encouraged by. This class carries a two time NCAA qualifier, three three time NCAA qualifiers, and a two time NCAA All-American. While two of the following wrestlers are out for the season (Brock Mauller redshirt and Matt Schmitt injury), the other two are still on the path to return to the Championship in consecutive seasons (Allan Hart, Jarrett Jacques). Current redshirt Brock Mauller has finished in 6th (2019) and 5th (2021) while earning first team All-American status in 2020 due to covid shutting down the NCAA Championship prior to season’s end.

Current NCAA Record & Rank:

  • Matt Schmitt (133 lbs.): N/A due to injury
  • Allan Hart (141 lbs.): 13 – 4, 8th
  • Brock Mauller (157 lbs.): N/A due to Redshirt
  • Jarrett Jacques (157 lbs.): 15 – 7, 17th

The Mizzou wrestling team currently ranks 9th in the nation as a dual team with a 9-3 record and has fallen outside the top ten as a tournament team. The current accomplishments of this team and individuals have an ongoing list. The future of this team has the potential to be one of the best in program history.  Head Coach Brian Smith continues to bring in exciting and highly rated recruits year after year to create competition within the wrestling room. With wrestlers gaining an extra year of eligibility, returning from redshirts or injuries, and no starting seniors leaving, the Missouri wrestling team will continue its success and get multiple runs at a top finish in the NCAA National Championship.

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