WARRENSBURG -- The Missouri Valley College men's wrestling team collected eight medals, five of them silver, Sunday during the University of Central Missouri's Roger Denker Open at Warrensburg.
The Vikings' five finalists tied for the top number with NCAA Division I member Missouri, which won three first-place matches.
Two Valley grapplers had to win four matches to make it to the championship round. Freshman Jake Ekster (149 pounds) had two pins to his credit before dropping a 5-2 decision to Maryville freshman Keenan Hagerty in the finals and senior Damon Jackson (165) won three bouts by fall and another on a 16-0 technical, nipped in the gold-medal contest by Purdue freshman Chad Welch, 3-2.
Sophomore Josh Manu (184) pinned two of his first three opponents before being put on his back in the finals by Purdue sophomore Pat Kissel. Former all-American Charlie Gibbs (285), now a student coach, got a technical fall and pin on his way to hooking up with Dom Bradley for first place -- but the junior red-shirt from Missouri won that tilt, 11-6.
Two wins, one by major decision and the other on an injury default, were enough to put sophomore Brian Bitney (133) into the finals -- where he was edged out, 4-3, by seventh-ranked Neosho County (Kan.) Community College sophomore Leroy Barnes.
The Vikings' heavyweights were especially strong, winning three medals in all. Sophomore Carl Lawrence won three of five matches to head into the fifth-place tilt against freshman teammate Daniel Mueller, who had split four bouts. Mueller withdrew from the medal match for medical reasons.
After losing his opener, freshman Logan Welch (133) rallied for three straight wins before being stopped on a 10-8 decision by an opponent from Oklahoma State in the third-place match.
Freshman Todd Bracket (141) won three of five matches, but didn't make the medal round, while senior Shay Shive (149), freshman Brett Bader (184) and junior James Alter (285) each posted up two victories.
The Vikings will host the annual MVC Invitational, Saturday in the Burns Athletic Center.
A day before competing at UCM, Valley beat visiting Truman State in a home dual, 39-12.
The match began with a pair of pins for the Vikings (5-2) -- by freshman Derek Bohnsack (125) and Welch. The fourth-ranked Shive defeated junior Ryan Maus, No. 7 in NCAA Division II, by injury default after taking an early 2-1 lead.
Jackson pinned his foe, Lawrence won by a 20-5 technical fall and Alter scored a 13-2 major decision to round out Valley's victories.
The Bulldogs (2-6) got the points on a pin by junior Alex Maus (141), 7-2 decision for sophomore Devon Fenstermaker (157) and a 2-1 nod for senior Zach Hayes (174) over junior Jamaal Bufford.