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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Vikings fifth in MVC Invitational

Monday, January 21, 2013

Junior Carl Lawrence (top) won four of five bouts to take third place at 197 pounds for the Vikings.
(Chris Allen/Democrat-News)
The Missouri Valley College men's wrestling team claimed five medals Saturday during the MVC Invitational in the Burns Athletic Center.

The 10th-ranked Vikings finished in fifth place among 16 teams with 107.5 points. The title was won by NCAA Division II member Maryville (163 points), followed by three NAIA schools: No. 6 Oklahoma City in second and a tie for third between No. 12 Baker and top-ranked Grand View (Iowa).

Valley came into the meet short-handed, with five nationally-ranked wrestlers held out -- including No. 3 junior Brian Bitney (133 pounds), No. 5 junior Josh Manu (197) and No. 6 freshman Jake Ekster (149).

Two Vikings reached the finals: 12th-ranked senior Gian Traverso (165) and No. 6 junior Dan Mueller (285).

Traverso controlled his first three matched with a first-period pin, 16-5 major decision and 16-10 victory over eighth-ranked Bryce Alexander of Hannibal-LaGrange. However, Traverso was edged in the championship round by No. 4 Dallas Houchins of Grand View, 9-6.

Because his class was one of only three with first-round matches, Mueller had to win four times to reach the finals -- getting a 35-second pin and three decisions, including an overtime take-down and near-fall in the semifinal. In the title bout, top-ranked Brandon Gebhardt of Baker bested Mueller, 5-2.

Tenth-ranked sophomore Logan Welch (133) won three times before being knocked off in the semis by No. 12 Joao Vicente of Grand View, 13-7, but came back with a pair of wins for third place.

Also coming in third for Valley was junior Carl Lawrence (197), who got by two opponents before being pinned by Maryville's Matthew Baker in the semi. Two notched a pair of decisions on the back side for his medals.

Both Vicente and Baker went on to claim championships, as did Central Missouri's Clarence Neely, who knocked Valley freshman Brett Bader (184) out of contention with a 6-2 decision in the semifinals. Bader split his final two matches for fifth place.

Two Vikings came up one win shy of the medal round. Senior Jamaal Bufford (174) won three of his first four contests before being eliminated, while No. 14 freshman Ryan Stearns (126) took two of three.

Sophomore Jared Sterling (157) and senior James Alter (285) each went 2-2 for Valley, while freshman Todd Brackett (141) got his lone victory with a 17-0 technical fall to add bonus points to the team tally.

The Vikings have a pair of duals on this week's schedule, Wednesday at Benedictine and at home Friday against Maryville.

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