ST. LOUIS -- The Missouri Valley College men's wrestling team had six entries earn medals Sunday during the Kaufman-Brand Open at Maryville University in St. Louis.
Leading the charge for the Vikings was freshman Willie Essex of St. Louis, who won his first four matches at 133 pounds -- three by major decision -- before being stopped in the finals by Missouri junior Nathan McCormick.
Tiger grapplers would do most of the damage to Valley in trophy rounds, including a pair of third-place bouts. After suffering a loss to open the meet, sophomore Wesley Dallas (133 pounds) won five straight decisions on the back side before suffering a technical fall at the hands of Missouri sophomore Eric Wilson to finish fourth.
Junior all-American Jesse Alter (197) reached the semifinal round before being dropped by a Tiger, got a pin in the wrestleback and was nipped by MU freshman Justin Heberlie, 7-6, for third place.
After winning his first two matches, all-America senior Shay Shive (149) was beaten in the quarterfinals, but won three of his last four contests to come in fifth.
Winning his first two contests got sophomore Josh Manu (184) in the semifinals, eventually leading to a sixth-place showing. Senior all-America Paulie Hansen (125) won three of five matches before having to withdraw from the fifth-place match due to injury.
Three of the Vikings' five heavyweights got to the quarterfinals -- sophomore Carl Lawrence and freshmen Dan Mueller and Gabi Musallam -- before being beaten and freshman Dylan King (149) won three times.
Valley brought 26 entries to the meet, but Mizzou sent 34 of the 42 men on its roster -- with 24 top-four medals and claiming titles in nine of the 10 weight classes. The Vikings' three wrestlers in the top four were the most of any other team.
After the holiday break, Valley will compete in the NAIA National Duals, Jan. 7-8 at Springfield, Ill.