Mizzou heads 120 miles to the east to start the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships today in St. Louis. The team had a fantastically strong run in the Big XII Championships two weeks ago, winning the title for the first time in school history and placing 9 wrestlers (of the 10 weight classes) automatically into the NCAA's. Thanks to a final, wild-card berth, HWY Devin Mellon was selected to also head to the tournament, making Mizzou the only squad in the country to have all ten wrestlers particpating. Though having the best head count, Mizzou is not expected to make a ton of noise at the very top (still reserved for Iowa and Penn State most likely this season), but that should not keep the Tigers from still having a solid finish to VERY solid season.
I will do my best over the next few days to keep this (and other) threads up to date with team information. All action can be viewed on ESPN3 (I believe for the first time) starting at 11am this morning (and then again at 6:30pm tonight) and plenty of action will be on ESPN U tomorrow before the finals on Sat. night on the mothership.
First, some helpful links to allow you to follow the action on your own (and update back here should I be out of pocket :-)
Mizzou has a few wrestlers with national seeds, but those without them certainly did not get any favors from the seeding committee, as there are some VERY tough draws. The tournament is double-elimination (actually triple if you lose late enough for the second time). Here is a quick look at each weight class
Soph. Alan Waters (25-2) enters the tourney as the #3 seed, which he very much earned this year. Waters is probably Mizzou's best hope for an All-American this year, and he will start off with Pat Rollins (24-15) of Oregon St. Waters beat Rollings 19-3 earlier this year (major decisions, tech falls and pins are worth team bonus points in this tourney).
Junior Nathan McCormick (14-5) will take on #6 Devin Carter (30-3) of Va. Tech. The two have never met.
Junior Nick Hucke (14-12) will take on #1 Kellen Russell (38-0) of Michigan. The two have never met.
Soph. Kyle Bradley (21-11) will compete in a "pig-tail" match (round before the real first round) in taking on Josh Wilson (18-9) of Utah Valley St. The winner would move on to take on Mario Mason (19-3) of Rutgers in the next round. Mason beat Bradley 10-3 last year.
RS Frosh Drake Houdashelt (27-5) is slated to wrestle #2 Derek St. John (17-2) of Iowa. They have never met.
Soph. Zach Toal (20-8) will take on #8 Robert Kokesh (28-5) of Nebraska. The two have never met.
Senior (and the only one for Mizzou) Dorian Henderson (19-11) makes his fourth (and final) NCAA appearance and will take on Kyle Czamecki (23-11) of Bucknell for the right take likely get #1 Ed Ruth (26-0) of Penn State in the 2nd round.
Junior Mike Larson (20-4) will take on #1 Joe Leblanc (30-1) of Wyoming. These two hav never met.
Junior Brent Haynes (23-6) enters the tourney as the only other Mizzou wrestler to carry a national seed as the #6. He will take on Max Huntley (15-12) of Michigan. Haynes has majored Huntley 8-0 earlier this season.
RS. Frosh Devin Mellon (18-12), who filled in quite admirably for Dom Bradley (who chose to take an Olympic Red-Shirt this year) will get quite the test,as he will likely face #1 Ryan Floers (17-0) of American. I say likely because Flores drew a pig-tail match to start the tourney before advancing into the main bracket.
Only pig-tails and 1st round matches are conducted this morning, so no Mizzou wrestlers will have their season ended in this session. The evening session will be quite a bit busier on both the top and bottom of the brackets.