Mules wrestling places third in MIAA Wrestling Tournament

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(EDMOND, Okla.) – Mules wrestling had six members place, on the way to a third place team finish, in the MIAA Wrestling Tournament Sunday at Hamilton Field House on the University of Central Oklahoma Campus.
Eric Mateo (16-16) and Clarence Neely (9-3) finished second at 141 and 184 pounds while Nick Viterisi (24-11), Todd Brier (23-18) and Tim Tuaquoi (31-15) placed third in the 149, 197 and 285 pound brackets. Hunter Neighbors (18-22) rounded out the Mules place-finishers, taking fourth in the 133 pound bracket.
After receiving an opening round bye, Mateo posted a 21-5 technical fall win over eighth ranked Nebraska-Kearney’s Brock Coutu in the 141 pound tournament semifinal match to advance to the title match against No. 3 Central Oklahoma’s Trison Graham. Mateo fell to Graham, 8-0, to finish runner-up in the tournament and end the day with a 1-1 record.
Neely also had a bye in the opening round, setting up a 184 pound semifinal battle with third ranked Central Oklahoma’s Tanner Keck. Neely came away with the 8-2 victory, avenging a 7-6 overtime loss to Keck on January 31st at the Multipurpose Building and placing him in the title match against No. 8 Nebraska-Kearney’s Mark Fiala. Neely came up just short, falling to Fiala 3-1 to finish second and end the day at 1-1.
Viterisi faced Jordan Basks of No. 3 Central Oklahoma in the opening round of the 149 pound bracket and fell 4-1 to Basks, the top ranked NCAA II wrestler at 149 pounds, dropping him into the consolation bracket. Viterisi went a perfect 2-0 in the consolation bracket, winning his first consolation match against Lindenwood’s Cory Duncan, 4-2 before defeating Fort Hays State’s Noah Killip in the third place match, 4-3. The Bloomington, Ind. native finished the tournament with a 2-1 record.
Brier faced Lindenwood’s Padric Lynch in the opening round at 197 pounds and posted a 3-2 win to advance to the semis against third ranked Central Oklahoma’s Znick Ferrell. Brier fell to Ferrell 3-0 to fall into the consolation bracket. Brier advanced to the third place match after a medical forfeit by Fort Hays State’s Tanner Kriss. He battled Lynch of Lindenwood for the second time and once again came away with a 3-2 victory to earn third place and finish the tournament at 2-1.
Tuaquoi received an opening round bye in the 285 pound bracket, advancing him to face Nick Bauman of eighth ranked Nebraska-Kearney in the semifinals. Tuaquoi fell in the match, 6-3, to drop him into the consolation bracket. He advanced to the third place match against Lindenwood’s Matt Atley after Truman’s Ryan Ward medical forfeited in the consolation semifinals. Tuaquoi came away with the victory over Atley after pinning him 3:52 into the match, earning him third place and a 1-1 overall record for the tournament.
Neighbors wrestled Truman’s Dan Karlskin in the first round of the 133 pound bracket and came away with the victory after pinning Karlskin 1:24 into the match. In the semifinals Neighbors faced No. 3 Central Oklahoma’s Casy Rowell, the third-ranked wrestler at 133 pounds in NCAA II, and suffered a 9-1 loss to fall into the consolation bracket. The Jefferson City, Mo. native won his first consolation round match over Lindenwood’s Michael Caldwell via pin 5:42 into the match to set up a third place battle against Fort Hays State’s Rory Wilkinson. Neighbors fell in the match, 2-1, to finish fourth in the tournament with a 2-2 record.
No. 8 Nebraska-Kearney won the MIAA Tournament Title, finishing with 109 points while No. 3 Central Oklahoma was second with 102 points. The Mules finished third, accumulating 47 points to upset the 17th ranked Tigers of Fort Hays State, who had 42 points for fourth. Lindenwood was fifth with 21 points and Truman sixth, finishing with 12 points.
The Mules return to the mats Feb. 23-24 when they travel to Ashland, Ohio to take part in the NCAA II Super Regional.