Article provided by Andy Pulverenti, Missouri Valley Sports Information Director
Marshall, Mo. (January 20, 2018)- The Missouri Valley College men’s wrestling program hosted the annual Missouri Valley Invitational, Friday and Saturday inside the Burns Athletic Complex on campus. The two-day event featured over 30 NAIA programs, including 14 teams currently ranked in the latest NAIA Men’s Wrestling Coaches’ Top 20 Poll. Also, dozens of individually ranked wrestlers competed in possible qualifying regional and National tournament preview matches.
This year’s Missouri Valley Invitational was the largest in the event’s eight-year history, featuring 35 programs, 33 from the NAIA, and nearly 400 student-athletes. The top five teams in the current coaches’ poll competed, including No. 1 Grand View (Iowa) University, No. 2 Missouri Valley, No. 3 Williams Baptist (Ark.) College, No. 4 University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) and No. 5 Indiana Tech.
Led by a trio of second-place finishers, Missouri Valley captured the team championship with 157 points, holding off second place Grand View, which finished with 146 points. Menlo (Calif.) College placed third, with 131.5 points.
The 125-pound weight class championship saw Mikel Perales of Menlo (Calif.) College edge out No. 8 Jacob Seto of Missouri Valley in a 7-5 decision.
At 133 pounds, Gresh Jones of Dickinson State (N.D.) University came away with a 7-2 decision victory over No. 19 Haidon Allen from the University of St. Mary (Kan.) in the championship match.
The 141 pound featured the No. 4 wrestler at 149 pounds, Jaedin Sklapsky of Campbellsville (Ky.) University earning a 7-3 decision victory over No. 14 John Bindner of Missouri Valley.
Wrestling in the 149-pound championship was 157 pound No. 1 Cam Tessari of Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) College, who topped No. 3 Tyler Fraley of Williams Baptist (Ark.) College, 6-1.
A pair of unranked individuals met in the 157-pound finals, as Chris Vaughan of Hastings (Neb.) College earned a 6-5 decision victory over Stephon Gray of Midland (Neb.) University.
In a top-five matchup in the championship match, No. 4
In the 174-pound weight class championship match, No. 7 Lucas Lovvorn edged out No. 2 Anthony Orosco of Menlo (Calif.) College by a 1-0 decision. Luvvorn was also named the tournament’s Jon White Most Outstanding Wrestler for his performance, which featured a pin of No. 11 Scott Sopko from Indiana Tech in the quarterfinals and a 12-3 major decision victory over No. 18 Cody Carson of Missouri Valley in the semifinals.
Another pair of top five wrestlers met in the 184-pound championship match, as No. 5 Josh Chiles of Williams Baptist (Ark.) College held off No. 3 Jacob Smith form Baker (Kan.) University in a 2-0 decision.
The 197-pound championship went to No. 6 Isaac Bartel of Montana State University-Northern, who earned a 6-1 decision victory over No. 18 Jovan Villalobos of Menlo (Calif.) College.
The only pin of the championship matches came at 285 pounds, as No. 4 Jeremiah Gerl of Hastings (Neb.) College pinned No. 15 Jon Floyd of Cumberland (Tenn.) University.
“If you are an NAIA team, you want to be in this tournament,” said Men’s Wrestling Head Coach Mike Machholz. “What an awesome couple of days of wrestling for this tournament. We had over a dozen top 20 teams, seven of the top 10 and all of the top five. My goal with this event when starting it eight years ago was to make it the toughest small college tournament in the country, and we are right there with this event. We draw teams from all corners of the country to come to Marshall, Mo., to battle it out. We averaged nine top 20 individuals per weight class, with some
Full results from the tournament can be found at Track Wrestling.