Once Rodrigo Diaz lost his bout to Luke Luffman in Saint Louis, Missouri wrestling fell to 0-2 on the season for the first time since 2000.
A season that started with a top-10 ranking has gotten off to a rocky start, but the Tigers have a chance to get back to .500 with two wins against in-state opponents at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Hearnes Center against Central Missouri and Missouri Valley.
If last year is any indication, both duals should be cakewalks for Missouri. They beat both teams by a combined score of 108-0 in two duals the last time the Tigers went against those schools in 2017.
In preparation for the Lindenwood Open on Saturday, Missouri is resting three nationally ranked wrestlers, with Grant Leeth, Jarret Jacques and Connor Flynn out of the projected lineups for both duals.
The only star who is likely to grace the mat is Brock Mauller, who is ranked second nationally in the 149-pound weight class and will wrestle against Missouri Valley.
That means some new faces will be in the lineup for the Tigers. Redshirt freshman and Hickman graduate Jeremiah Kent will take Flynn’s place in the lineup for both duals, while Alex Butler and Phyllip DeLoach will take the places of Leeth and Jacques.
Cameron Valdiviez returns for Missouri after a third place finish at the Southeast Open on Nov. 3. He’ll wrestle in the 133-pound weight class against Central Missouri and then go to the 125-pound class against Missouri Valley.