After what could only be described as a disappointing outcome at the National Duals, Mizzou returned home to the Hearnes Center with injuries in the light weight classes to take on #2 Oklahoma State. Okie State had been the only top team to NOT participate in the National Duals, choosing the Virginia Duals instead. However, right before that, they marched into Carver-Hawkeye arena and in front of over 14,000 people, took down the THEN #1 Iowa Hawkeyes (who handed it to Mizzou last week) and came away the winners. What would Mizzou do against the Pokes?
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The dual meet started at this weight (that does happen from time to time if I guess the coaches agree to it) and #4 Raymond Jordan started his march towards another Big XII Championship (would be his third) with a 8-2 win over Jack Jensen. Jordan got out early and Jensen could only muster two escapes for the match. This would put Mizzou up 3-0 and set a nice tone for the afternoon.
#4 Max Askren, recently named Big XII Wrestler of the week thanks to his strong effort at the National Duals, and who also is coming off of a Big XII Championship started his run with a very impressive major decision 18-8 over #20 Clayton Foster. Max had three takedowns in the first period and was in control from there. Askren got some back points to start the 2nd, and more importantly, a couple of back points in the last minute of the 3rd to gain the major decision and the bonus point. This would put the match at 7-0, a great start, but not unexpected given the strengths of these two squads.
One of the banner matchups of the day had #12 Mark Ellis against #7 Jared Rosholt. My guess is that this will not be the last time these two run into one another, and Rosholt took a close decision 5-3. Tied at 2-2, Rosholt had the bottom position and escaped quickly in the third to make it 3-2, but then sealed the win with a quick takedown. Ellis escaped, but could not take Rosholt down again, falling 5-3. This would move the match to 7-3 for Mizzou as they came around to the lightweights.
Though I do not know it for certain, but I am working on the assumption that Tony Pescaglia is currently injured. John Olanowski took the mat in his place against Tyler Shinn. Shinn put the match out of reach pretty early on with a takedown and three points to John's back. In the end, Olanowski managed only an escape, but kept the match managable (a theme you will soon see) and came out on the losing end of a 7-1 decision. This would move the overall count to 7-6.
Another injury here (clearly to Tyler McCormick) robbed the fans of what some thought would be a #1 vs. #2 wrestler earlier in the season. #1 ranked Coleman Scott, who McCormick split with last seson, ended up taking on Nick Velliquette at the weight, and domintated, getting almost three minutes of riding time throughout. However, was able to muster four escapes, and avoided being pinned late in the third, giving Scott a 17-4 major decision. At the halfway point, Okie State took its first lead at 10-7.
Marcus Hoehn walked out against the second of the Cowboys' #1 wrestlers, as Nathan Morgan currently owns that title at 141. Hoehn was down only 2-1 though after the first, but a big 2nd period gave Morgan a controlling 7-2 lead headed to the third. Hoehn escaped early, but then took Morgan down twice in the last 30 seconds to get the match back to a very impressive 8-7 defeat. This would move the match to 13-7, but was certainly considered a surprise on the evening.
Very much in need of a strong comeback, #15 Josh Wagner took on Ryan Freeman. The match, however, started off as badly as Wagner finished last weekend, with Freeman getting a take down and 3 point near fall to take an early 5-0 lead. Wagner would escape and get a take down with 2 seconds remaining in the period to get it back to 5-3. Headed to the 2nd, Wagner chose down and then reversed his opponent, riding him out for the rest of the period, which would end with a tie at 5-5. In the third, Wagner would salt it away with further take downs and riding time for a big, come from behind, 10-6 win. This would get Mizzou back into the match at 13-10.
Another important and highly ranked match up came at 157 with Mike Chandler and Newly McSpadden (favorite wrestler of The Boy). Chandler got the early upper hand with a 1st period take down, taking the 2-0 lead into the 2nd. There, McSpadden would start on bottom, and with a stalling warning against each, Chandler would ride him out for the full two minutes. The third would have a Chandler escape and almost three minutes of riding time for the impressive 4-0 shutout. This got the match back to a tie, 13-13 with two matches left.
The biggest match of the day had #3 Nick Marable going against #5 Jake Dieffenbach, and it would not let anyone down. No action in the first would leave them scoreless, and Marable would score the first point of the day with an escape 6 seconds into the 2nd period. Headed to the 3rd period up 1-0, Dieffenbach would escape just as quickly, and with Dieffenbach holding warnings for stalling and moving too soon on top, the two would head to OT, which Marable is getting very used to, coming off of his close loss to Mark Perry of Iowa last week. In OT, Marable and Dieffenbach found themselves on the edge of the mat, but Marable was able to get the takedown on the edge and with 2 seconds to go to take the match 3-1. This would give Mizzou at 16-13 lead headed to the final bout of the night.
Last season, Brandon Mason lived in the shadow of Ben Askren, losing the Big XII Championship to him. This season, ranked at #2, he would take on Brock Wittemeyer, who has yet to win a match for the Tigers in a dual meet since joining the eligible squad at the semester break. Okie State would only need a major decision or better to take the dual, but Wittemeyer woyuld only be taken down once in the first period, and only allowed an escape from there. Riding time was more than enough to give Mason another point, but it gave him the match at only a 4-0 score, tying the dual at 16-16. In regular duals, ties are permitted and somewhat common, it is only at the national duals where a tie-breaker is employed.
Final Thoughts:So, talk about your surprise outcomes given how the teams entered the weekend. Mizzou came up big in a number of matches, and winning where they did will help them later at the Big XII Tournament, as conference matches are used to help with seeding. This gives people like Chandler, Marable, Askren and Jordan an early advantage. Obnviously, even a healthy McCormick would have struggled with #1 Coleman Scott, but Mizzou has to like their chances of wrestling tough when the entire lineup is healthy. Unfortunately, when that is, we just dont know quite yet.
Mizzou will next take on #16 Cornell next weekend on Sunday afternoon at 1pm at the Hearnes Center.