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Cox claims third NCAA wrestling title

ST. LOUIS -- J'Den Cox capped a remarkable career with another national championship.

The Mizzou senior beat Brett Pfarr of Minnesota 8-2 to claim the 197-pound title at the NCAA Wrestling Championships. The victory made Cox the first athlete in MU history to win three national championships.

"I think that's more just because I have a lot of respect for the history of the school, the respect of the people that came before me and that paved the way for me to be able to do what I do day in, day out," Cox said of the feat. "I hope to become a stepping stone for someone else to come through and break that. That's all this is. I want somebody else to come through and win four. I want someone to come through and do unimaginable things."

Cox finished his senior season with a perfect 28-0 record. He ends his college career with a 136-5 mark, claiming national titles in his freshman, junior and senior seasons.

"I didn't do this for the accolades," Cox said. "I didn't do this for the acknowledgment. I did it for the love of the sport. I love to wrestle. I do what I do because I want to do it and I love to do it. But I'm blessed to have had the accomplishments I've had and I'm honored to have people put me in the conversations of being one of the greatest wrestlers of MU."

Two other Tigers finished second in their respective weight classes. Senior Lavion Mayes lost by technical fall to Penn State's Zain Retherford in the 149-pound final. Mayes became the fifth wrestler in MU history to earn three All-American honors.

Joey Lavallee took home second place at 157 pounds. He dropped a 14-6 major decision to Jason Nolf of Penn State.

Redshirt freshman Jaydin Eierman and redshirt sophomore Daniel Lewis also earned All-American honors. Eierman finished fifth at 141 pounds, while Lewis ended up sixth at 165 pounds. Missouri tied the program record with five All-Americans.

Missouri finished fifth in the final team standings with 86.5 points. Penn State won the team title.

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