Rock M Nation is blocked from The Beef's current location, so he asked me to post this for him on this lovely(ish) Friday afternoon.
With the Black and Gold meet (Saturday at 1:00 p.m. for FREE at the Hearnes Center) around the corner, we are going to take a somewhat abbreviated look at the team. I had some thought which I put on the site back over the summer in the Reviewin’ and Previewin’ piece (please link) and needless to say, some things have changed since I wrote that piece. Let’s go weight by weight and see Coach Smith has lined up for Saturday afternoon.
Back over the summer, I based a lot of my hopes around the healthy return of Tony Pescaglia. However, the roster on MUTigers.com does not reflect Pescaglia as currently being on the team. As such, Brian Smith will trot out sophomore Troy Dolan and true freshman Brad Wisdom from Farmington, MO. I expect Dolan, who had some ups and mostly downs last year, to be the winner of this match, but Wisdom should not be discounted as he was the state champ this past year in Missouri.
Todd Schavrien will return for the Tigers…just not at this weight class (which came to me as a bit of a surprise). Schavrien will move up to 141 (more on that in the next paragraph), leaving Taylor (don’t call me Tyler) Crane, who did see some action last year while Schavrien was on the shelf. He will take on Nathan McCormick, younger brother of former Tiger standout Tyler McCormick. Crane has the experience here, but I will say I am a tad down about the hope I had of our lighter weights improving over last season.
So, color me surprised at this weight class. Back in the summer, I talked about how I believed RS Frosh Nick Hucke would be the owner of this class for Mizzou, and I suppose he may still be. However, NCAA participant Todd Schavrien makes the surprising move up, and will challenge Hucke on Saturday. I don’t really know what to expect. The Tigers are loaded numbers-wise at this weight, as there will also be an exhibition match at this class featuring Cody Farinella and Kyle Bradley. Farinella is a RS frosh, while Bradley is a true frosh.
In the summer, I talked about Daniel Hewitt or Kellen Bounous as names to replace departing senior Andrew Sherry. Well, I got neither of those correct. Instead, we will be seeing UVA transfer Scott O’Donnell and Brandon Weist take to the mat. O’Donnell had a couple of injury-plagued years at UVA, but comes from a hugely strong, national program in Oak Park from KC. Once again, I offer little in terms of thoughts or knowledge on either of these wrestlers.
Alright, finally to some weights where I at least know what is going on, and had a clue about what I was saying back in the summer. Patrick Wright saw a lot of time last year at both 157 and 165 and with Marable still in place, 157 is a great spot for him. Nick Gregoris (another ACC transfer, this one from UNC) will oppose Wright and while I hope Gregoris shows well (since I can see him taking this spot next season), I still think Wright will win here and do well for the Tigers this season.
Nick Marable is the alpha and omega here for the Tigers, plain and simple. Zach Toal is an up and comer from Ohio and is an interesting choice here because he was a three-time state champ at 174, but it will be Marable and the only interesting part to watch will be to see if Marable is putting more than a 3-1 win on people this season.
Here is where it gets a little interesting in terms of weight class movement. Last season, Raymond Jordan completed a very successful Tiger career with a 3rd place national finish. He departs, and it was thought he would be leaving quite a hole. However, it appears Dorian Henderson, who spent last season doing decent work at 184, is actually a 174 pounder. Henderson showed great speed last season, and should now be competing with people his own size. He will start his campaign against Todd Porter who is listed on his page as 157, but competed at 165 and will move up to 174.
The weight shifting continues with a move I was hoping the Tigers would do two seasons ago, but only now has fully come to fruition. After the end of the Max Askren’s freshman season, I was hoping he would move to 184, moving Raymond Jordan down to 174. Jordan moved down last season, and now Askren will compete in his senior campaign at 184, being pre-season ranked #2. He will take on Weston Keleher, who must be so new to the program as he does not have a bio linked.
So with all that weight movement, one of the weight classes had to feel the brunt of it and that class is 197. We will have two RS frosh step out, as Jake Glore and Brent Haynes (formally at 184) will compete for this spot. I could see this as a big matchup, if only for the fact the winner might have this class for some time to come at Mizzou.
Mark Ellis vs. Dom Bradley. Last time around, Bradley won a multiple-OT match against Ellis, and then Ellis went on to win the National Title. Draw your own conclusions and just enjoy the battle.
Love what we have done at 174 and 184. A bit of a head scratcher at 141. Sad to see 125 starting this way, if only for how Dolan finished last season. In the end, I think we are still quite strong at HWY and 165, and have probably become a bit stronger at 174 and 184. I honestly don’t know what to think about 133 and 141, probably because I have a bit of an RMN-crush on Nick Hucke. Will see how Saturday shakes out and where they go from there when they open the season on November 12 against Illinois.