Seven of Missouri’s nine wrestlers who qualified for the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, which begin March 17 at Madison Square Garden in New York, will enter the tourney seeded.
Junior 197-pounder J’den Cox, a 2014 national champion and two-time All-American, received the highest seed Wednesday among the Tigers. Cox, 28-1, is seeded behind only Penn State’s Morgan McIntosh, who is 28-0 and defeated Cox at the national tourney last season.
Senior 174-pounder Blaise Butler, 20-3, and junior 149-pounder Lavion Mayes, 26-2, both earned No. 3 seeds and drew University of Oklahoma wrestlers in the opening round.
Redshirt freshman 165-pounder Daniel Lewis, 25-4, was awarded the No. 4 seed and junior 141-pounder Matt Manley, 28-6, earned the No. 5 seed.
Sophomore 125-pounder Barlow McGhee and sophomore 184-pounder Willie Miklus also earned seeds. McGhee, 22-7, checks in eighth and Miklus, 18-5, checks in 14th.
Junior 133-pounder Zach Synon, who received at at-large berth after struggling at the Mid-American Conference championships, received a favorable draw against No. 12 seed Bradley Taylor from Wisconsin.
Senior 157-pounder Le’Roy Barnes, a Belton graduate, also enters the national tourney unseeded, but he drew a tougher first-round assignment against No. 5 seed Dylan Palacio of Cornell.
Several non-Mizzou wrestlers with Kansas City ties also qualified for the national tourney.
Oklahoma senior 133-pounder Cody Brewer, 21-2, an Oak Park graduate and the reigning national champion, drew the No. 4 seed and opens his title defense against North Carolina State’s Jamal Morris.
Stanford sophomore heavyweight Nathan Butler, 25-7, earned the No. 16 seed. He’ll face Princeton’s Ray O’Donnell with a potential second-round matchup looming against undefeated and top-seeded Nick Gwiarzdowski from North Carolina State.
Unseeded Iowa senior 165-pounder Patrick Rhoads, 13-11, a Staley graduate, faces Butler’s teammate, No. 13 seed Jim Wilson of Stanford, in the first round.
Missouri NCAA wrestling championships first-round opponents
125: (8) Barlow McGhee, 21-7, vs. Wyoming’s Drew Templeman, 18-8
133: Zach Synon, 16-12, vs. (12) Wisconsin’s Bradley Taylor, 9-5
141: (5) Matt Manley, 28-6, vs. Penn State’s James Gulibon, 12-9
149: (3) Lavion Mayes, 26-2, vs. Oklahoma’s Davion Jeffries, 23-10
157: Le’Roy Barnes, 27-8, vs. (5) Cornell’s Dylan Palacio, 13-1
165: (4) Daniel Lewis, 25-4, vs. Edinboro’s Casey Fuller, 26-9
174: (3) Blaise Butler, 20-3, vs. Oklahoma’s Matt Reed, 19-9
184: (14) Willie Miklus, 18-5, vs. Oregon State’s Corey Griego, 23-10
197: (2) J’den Cox, 28-1, vs. Rutgers’ Hayden Hrymack, 17-14
() indicates national-tourney seed