For just the 14th time in the NCAA Championships 84-year history, a true freshman has been crowned national champion. Mizzou’s J’den Cox became Mizzou’s fifth national champion, and the youngest champion in program history to win as he captured the 197-pound weight class title by defeating No. 1 Nick Heflin of Ohio State, 2-1.
“It feels amazing. I’ve worked so hard,” Cox told MUTigers.com. “I was telling all these guys, losing here means I’ve got to push the restart button again. I didn’t feel like doing that at all in this tournament, and came through all the training. Everything I’ve gone through this summer, morning practices, two-a-days, everything, it’s come down to this, winning the gold.”
Cox escaped in the third period to take a 1-0 lead. Heflin escaped to tie in the third, but Heflin receieved his second stall call, giving Cox the 2-1 lead and eventually the title.
“I’m so happy for him,” said Head Coach Brian Smith. “He’s an amazing athlete and such a student of the sport. He’s was so confident and focused coming in after high school and then he lost (to Wellington). He is always focused but after that it was this incrediblyintense focus, and he just kept getting better and better and better. He’s an amazing kid.”
The Tigers finished the 2014 NCAAs in 14th place with 40.5 points. The Penn State Nittany Lions won their fourth-consecutive team title with 109.5 team points.
197 – No. 2 J’den Cox – ALL-AMERICAN (CHAMPION)
Champ. Round 1: No. 2 J’den Cox decision over Mario Gonzalez (Illinois), 10-4.
Champ. Round 2: No. 2 J’den Cox major decision over No. 15 Braden Atwood (Purdue), 19-6.
Quarterfinals: No. 2 J’den Cox decision over Conner Hartmann (Duke), 5-1.
Semifinals: No. 2 J’den Cox decision over No. 14 Chris Penny (VT), 4-1.
Finals: No. 2 J’den Cox decision over No. 1 Nick Heflin (Ohio State), 2-1.