Mizzou-Illinois: The Beef's Wrestling Recap

Mizzou Wrestling began their season last night, and as always, below is a recap from The Beef...

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The 2009-2010 Mizzou Wrestling season kicked off last night at the Hearnes Center, as the Tigers opened their campaign by welcoming the Illinois Fighting REDACTED.  The #8 Tigers (care of Intermat) welcomed a few new faces to the starting 10, and some had success, helping lead Mizzou to a 18-16 win over the unranked Illini.  I was NOT in attendance last night (nor will I likely be for many if ANY matches this season), but thanks to the miracle of the Interwebs, I should be able to get some thoughts together based on what is out there.

The dual started with the team agreeing to begin at 174 pounds, meaning one of the featured bouts of the night would start things off.  Sophomore Dorian Henderson, who is starting the year at a new weight and with a national ranking (#20) took on fellow sophomore and #7 ranked Jordan Blanton.  Henderson was hot out of the gate, taking an early 2-0 lead after a takedown.  Blanton would escape and take him back down himself, before a Henderson escape would leave the match tied at 3 after one.  Blanton would tack on an escape in the second period, but Henderson returned the favor in the third to tie it at 4.  Blanton got the last takedown and had the riding time advantage, winning 7-4 and putting Mizzou down in an early 3-0 hole.

Mizzou would not be there for long, as senior and #2 ranked Max Askren took on #10 John Dergo.  The two were scoreless in the first and tied after a takedown by Askren and reversal by Dergo in the second.  The third period saw Askren escape, but then be taken down by Dergo to be trailing 4-3.  However, he strung an escape (4-4), takedown (6-4) and near fall (9-4) before the buzzer, winning 9-4 and tying the dual at 3-3.

Up next was an intriguing match featuring one of the newbies for the Tigers.  RS Frosh Brent Haynes, made a debut of sorts against #13 Patrick Bond, a senior.  Haynes was down 1-0 through two after a scoreless first and a Bond escape (heh heh..Bond escape) in the 2nd.  However, after tying it with his own escape, Haynes took down Bond and rode him out to earn the extra point and an impressive 4-1 win, moving the Tigers into the lead at 6-3.

At HWY, returning national champ and #1 senior Mark Ellis had his way with Patrick Walker, taking his opponent down four times before pinning him in second period.  The six big points extended the Tigers’ lead to 12-3, which they would need as the dual turned to the lighter weight.  Starting back at 125, Troy Dolan got the call (even though true frosh Brad Wisdom had defeated him in the Black and Gold meet) and put up very little resistance, losing a major decision 9-0 as he was rolled twice for near-fall points.  The dual was tightened up at this point, with Mizzou still leading 12-7

On to 133 where another Tiger newbie would make his debut.  Nathan McCormick (of the Wrestling McCormick’s) got off to a good start against Daryl Thomas of Illinois, taking a 2-1 lead into the second period.  McCormick would extend that lead via an escape to 3-1, and while Thomas was able to earn that point back to make 3-2 with an escape of his own, McCormick held on (even with a stall warning) for a tough 3-2 win.  This would prove to be a big win for the Tigers, getting them back up 15-7.

The last marquee (two ranked wrestlers) match of the evening was between #18 Todd Schavrien, who is new to 141 this season, against #13 Kyle Prater.  This was a wild affair from the start, as Schavrien was turned early and faced a 6-2 deficit after one period.  However, he was able to take the lead after a reversal (6-4) and near fall (7-6).  Prater would escape and get a takedown of his own to hold a 9-7 advantage headed to the final stanza.  There, an early escape would extend the lead to 10-7.  Schavrien would close the gap with a takedown to make it 10-9, but that is as close as he would get, as Prater would reverse and get a 2-point near fall, and with riding time, take home a 15-9 win.  This moved the Illini closer at 15-10.

Brandon Weist at 149 would be another Tiger making his "debut", taking on Eric Terrazas of Illinois.  Weist held a 1-0 lead after two periods with a second period escape, but Terrazas would escape in the third and get the lone takedown.  Riding time would make this a 4-2 loss for Weist, which drew Illinois closer at 15-13.  Patrick Wright stepped out at 157 looking to get the Tigers back in the win column against Clinton Arlis.  Wright took the lead in the second with an escape, but Arlis had a takedown and the period ended tied at 2-2 after another Wright escape.  Arils got his escape in the third to take the 3-2 lead and Wright could not find a way to score, losing 3-2 and putting the Tigers down 16-15 with one match remaining.

Senior Nick Marable stepped on the mat ranked #7 in the country at 165 and looked to close out the dual win against Conrad Polz.  After a scoreless first, Marable would earn the escape to go up 1-0, then took Polz down for the 3-0 lead.  Polz would escape before the end of the stanza, making it 3-1 as they headed to the final period.  Polz would escape again to close the gap to 3-2, and while Marable was warned for stalling, the clock ran out on Polz and the Illini, as Marable won (fairly typically) 3-2, giving the Tigers the final three points of the dual and the win at 18-16.

Overall, the dual showed some good efforts and results, but certainly some room for growth.  I am encouraged by the great starts by Haynes at 197 and McCormick at 133 and for Henderson to have held his own against a solid opponent at 174.  I was also encouraged to hear true freshman Nathan Toal took an Open Title at Lindenwood a couple of weeks ago at 165 as he likely preps to take that spot from Marable next season.  Askren, Ellis and Marable all came up big, as they will need to all season.  I am not too concerned about Wright, as he certainly proved himself last season when he saw action.  I will remain curious about Schavrien at 141, and remain skeptical about Dolan at 125.  I believe he does not hold the spot all season.

Some of the team will travel to Warrensburg this Saturday for an Open at UCM, while the rest will begin to prepare for two upcoming home duals.  The first will be next Friday at NOON (strange) against #23 Cal Poly (kind of a jerk move to make a west coast team wrestle that early), with the second on Friday against Purdue at 7:00 p.m.  The Missouri Open will be held on Sunday, and will be the last home action until OU and OSU in Feb.  Moral of the story…not many chances to see the Tigers in local action this season, so take advantage next weekend.

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