CEDAR FALLS — Northern Iowa’s wrestling team took it to third-ranked Missouri during the early part of Saturday’s dual meet.
Finishing against a lineup that features six wrestlers ranked among the top 10 nationally was an entirely different matter.
Other than decisions by UNI’s Jay Schwarm at 125, Drew Foster at 184 and Carter Isley at 285, Missouri had an answer for everything the Panthers threw its way as the Tigers hiked their dual record to 19-0 with a 23-9 victory in the West Gym.
“Obviously, Missouri’s a great team,” said UNI head coach Doug Schwab after his team slipped to 6-5 in duals.
“The difference between being a good team and a great team, you’ve got to feel kind of when you have momentum in situations. We were in a lot of scraps with really good guys, but there were situations where we kind of backed off or they came to us. We’ve got to stay on the offense.”
Schwarm was able to do that in the meet’s first bout. His match with Barlow McGhee was 4-4 with 48 seconds remaining. Schwarm got an escape with :30 left to go up 5-4, then sealed it with a takedown following a wild scramble in the final 10 seconds.
Missouri they reeled off six straight wins.
UNI’s Jack Wagner got in deep on eighth-ranked John Erneste time and again, but Erneste turned those attacks into his own points on the way to a 12-3 major. Eighth-ranked Panther Josh Alber suffered a similar fate at 141 when third-ranked Jaydin Eierman countered an Albert attack for a six-point move that was the difference in a 12-6 decision.
“Jack was in on a couple really good attacks,” said Schwab. “He was ready to almost bury the guy. Alber’s in on an attack, but there’s a difference between trying to get to an attack and hold and trying to score.”
Max Thomsen of UNI, also ranked eighth, gave up a takedown with :06 left in a 4-3 loss to third-ranked Grant Leeth at 149 pounds. Fourth-ranked Joey Lavallee, last year’s NCAA runner-up, added another major, Connor Flynn scored four points in the final 20 seconds to top Isaiah Patton and unbeaten and third-ranked Daniel Lewis (25-0) outscored seventh-ranked Taylor Lujan 13-10 at 174.
“When you’re up against a really great competitor, you can hit them once and you might stagger them, but they’ll stay on their feet,” said Schwab. “They’ll resurrect themselves. We’ve got to be able to not let guys resurrect themselves.
“They won one more position in almost every single match.”
Now it’s on to the Big 12 Conference tournament for the Panthers.
“It’s a tough meet going into conference, but those are the type of matches we’re going to have,” said Schwab. “Those are quarterfinal matches. Those are matches you’re going to see at the national tournament, and we’ve got to be able to feel certain things better. Then it comes down to belief.”
Missouri 23, UNI 9
125 — Jay Schwarm (UNI) dec. Barlow McGhee, 7-4, 133 — John Erneste (Miss) maj. dec. Jack Wagner, 13-3, 141 — Jaydin Eierman (Miss) dec. Josh Alber 12-6, 149 — Grant Leeth (Miss) dec. Max Thomsen, 4-3, 157 — Joey Lavallee (Miss) maj. dec. Logan Ryan, 10-1, 165 — Connor Flynn (Miss) dec. Isaiah Patton, 8-4, 174 — Daniel Lewis (Miss) dec. Taylor Lujan, 13-10, 184 — Drew Foster (UNI) dec. Canten Marriott, 6-3, 197 — Willie Miklus (Miss) dec. Jacob Holschlag, 8-4, 285 — Carter Isley (UNI) dec. Wyatt Koelling, 8-3.
Referee — J.R. Blose. Att. — 1,577.