The Vikings dropped their opener Saturday to No. 5 Campbellsville (Ky.), 27-15, but rebounded to beat 11th-ranked Cumberlands (Ky.), 32-9, and No. 6 Oklahoma City, 22-18, later in the day.
In Sunday's consolation semifinal, eighth-rated Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) got past Valley, 26-15, and in the seventh-place match the Vikings (3-4) were nipped by No. 17 Midlands (Neb.), 21-19.
Two Valley grapplers won four of their five bouts. Senior Gian Traverso, No. 12 at 165 pounds, notched a pair of major decisions and beat opponents who were ranked third and sixth in the nation. At 149 pounds, sixth-ranked freshman Jake Ekster pinned one foe and beat two others by major decision.
Freshman Brett Bader (184 pounds) upset foes ranked fifth and 13th among his three wins. Sophomore Willie Essex (149) also toppled a third-ranked opponent while winning three of four contests.
No. 6 Junior Dan Mueller (285) won three of four matches, one by fall, and senior Jesse Alter's lone outing was a victory over Cumberlands' third-ranked entry.
Also picking up three wins was freshman Ryan Stearns (125), while freshman Dylan King (157) upset a 10th-ranked opponent while splitting his four matches. No. 10 sophomore Logan Welch (133) also won twice, both by fall.
Senior Jamaal Bufford (174) won once while fifth-rated junior Josh Manu (197) was disqualified for the meet during his first match, leaving the Vikings with an opening at his weight class.
The seventh-ranked Valley women were fourth out of eight teams in the meet, winning their opener over Lindenwood, 26-17, before falling to No. 2 Oklahoma City in the semifinal round, 33-7, and top-ranked King (Tenn.), 28-9, in the third-place match.
Sophomore Jacarra Winchester (123 pounds) was the 3-0 performer for the Lady Vikings (6-7) during the meet, while juniors Brittany Faust (130) and Randi Beltz (136) each won two of three bouts and senior Tamara Hartfield (191) picked up one win.
The MVC women will compete next in the WCWA Nationals on Jan. 25-26 at Bristol, Tenn., while the men host the Valley Invitational on Saturday in the Burns Athletic Center.