Vikings wrap up first half in Vegas
LAS VEGAS -- As the Missouri Valley College men's wrestling team concludes the first-semester schedule this weekend in Las Vegas, it will be trying to improve upon its No. 6 position in the NAIA rankings.
The Vikings take on fifth-rated Embry-Riddle (Fla.) and traditional power Montana State-Northern -- which is No. 17 in the poll, three years after claiming a national championship -- in the Las Vegas Duals today.
Valley is coming off a solid performance at the Missouri Open, Nov. 20 at Columbia, where senior Drew Dickerson and sophomore Billy Exline both medalled.
Dickerson (165 pounds) was on a roll, having pinned both of his opponents to reach the semifinal round. There, however, he was stopped by Oklahoma freshman Jarrod King -- the 2004 national junior champion -- after suffering an injury which would force him to default the next two bouts and settle for sixth place. For his part, King had to forfeit the finals.
Exline (125) took a first-round hit to the eventual champion, Missouri senior Austin DeVoe, but won his next two matches -- including a pin of fourth-ranked Lindenwood junior Josh Sampo, who had earlier sent Valley senior Nate Engel to the back side -- before losing again in the third-place match.
Five of the Vikings' six entries notched victories against mostly NCAA Division I competition. Senior Darion Terry (157) split two matches, but one of the losses was a 3-2 decision in the opening round against an eventual finalist, freshman Mike Chandler of Missouri. Engel and junior Seth Theriot also won wrestleback matches, both by fall.
In the Freshman-Sophomore Division at Mizzou, freshman Jimmy Stormo of San Jacinto, Calif., reached the finals at 197 pounds -- pinning his first two foes -- before being dropped by Eastern Illinois' Terron Williams.
Freshmen Jon Gerhold (133) and Nathaniel Troupe (141) and sophomore Kyle Nelson (157) finished fourth and freshman heavyweight Tyler Ewart wound up in sixth place.
After today's duals, the Vikings will take on some of the nation's top collegiate grapplers Friday and Saturday in the Las Vegas Invitational.