Let me first be honest and upfront. There is no way this piece lives up to my own hyping of the past couple of days. I only hyped it because I had no time to put it together yesterday and had to put my 10's of readers off a bit.
Anyway, let's run through each weight class here, talk about how the particular wrestler(s) did this past weekend, and I will throw in a free look-ahead to this weekend's big dual against Iowa State. Sounds like a deal? Great...here we go.
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The information I have is that Tony Pescaglia blew his knee and will obviously not be back this year. Tough blow for him, especially since he will lose a year to it as we were already well into the season when it happened. In his place, John Olanowski has been a little up and down...or I guess for the purposes of this piece, down and up. Against OU, he was very much down to unranked Joey Fio. A major decision loss 11-2 would put Mizzou down 4-0 against OU to start. Olanowski did bounce back well against OSU's Jake Gonzales, getting a 6-2 win which started Mizzou out up over OSU 3-0.
This weekend, he will take on #17 freshman Tyler Clark of Iowa State, who sports about a 14-8 record. I suppose Olanowski has the experience factor over Clark, but this would still be seen as an upset for Mizzou.
Welcome back Tyler McCormick. What an impressive weekend for him given how his senior campaign has gone. Starting on Friday, a HUGE 6-0 shutout of #13 Brian Shelton (who has also had some injury troubles this year) got MU back to 4-3. This was a big win for Tyler, especially because it may help Tyler avoid the dreaded 4/5 seed at the Big XII Tourney. Coming back on Senior Day on Sunday, McCormick totally embarassed his opponent, blanking him 16-0 for the tech fall. Mizzou would go up 8-0 at that point and never look back against the Beavers.
Another big match this coming weekend, as #7 sophomore Nick Fanthorpe. The two have never wrestled, as Fanthorpe was at 125 last season. Another win here, though tough, would give McCormick 2 in conference, and COULD be enough to get him to the #3 seed (though I do not know the break down of wins in conference this season). This division is going to be a MONSTER at the Big XII Tourney, as it will hold the #1 wrestler in the country, and the other 4 will likely be ranked as well.
Tough weekend for Marcus Hoehn. Gave a great effort against #15 Zach Bailey of OU on Friday, falling 3-1 in the end, which put the score of the match at 7-3. Hoehn came back on Sunday and got outclassed by what appeared to be a MUCH stronger opponent in Heinrich Barnes from Oregon State. Losing 17-6, Oregon State would get on the board for the match, then down 8-4.
Coming up this weekend, Hoehn will wrestle against sophomore Nick Gallick, who is 14th in the country, but sporting a less than amazing 17-11 record. Hoehn is looking at a tough road in a couple of weeks at the Big XII tourney, and anything he contributes here would be a big upset were it to result in a win.
And like his senior teammate McCormick, Josh Wagner had a great final weekend at Mizzou. On Friday night, he knocked off #13 Will Rowe 10-6, which put Mizzou tied with OU after Coach Jack Spates cost the team a point. On Sunday, he performed extremely well on Senior Day, scoring the 2nd senior win and 2nd senior tech fall, winning 20-3 and putting Mizzou up 13-4 against OSU.
Big match for Wagner on Sunday against ISU, as he will take on #12 Mitch Muller, who Wagner has not wrestled because Muller was at 141 last season. A win would get Wagner to 3-1 in conference and certainly in a great spot to make the NCAA Tournament in his final season.
Another double-win weekend for a Tiger wrestler, this time from Mike Chandler. Friday night saw Chandler with a rousing and impressive tech fall over Shane Vernon, taking it 18-1 and putting Mizzou up 11-6 on the evening. He would follow that effort up on Sunday with another bonus point win, this time a major decision of 12-1 over OSU. That win would move MU up to 17-4 on the afternoon, and allow Coach Smith some nice liberties in moving his lineup around.
As for Sunday, Chandler will take on #10 Cyler Sanderson. Chandler, surprise surprise, has not wrestled Sanderson, as Sanderson was, surprise surprise, down a weight class last year at 149 (seems to be a trend at ISU from last season). With 20 wins and a perfect 3-0 in conference, a win would lock up the #1 seed coming the Big XII tourney and continue to earn Chandler some good respect as the NCAA's draw closer.
A split weekend at this weight for Mizzou. With a lead on Friday, #2 Nick Marable took the mat against yet another ranked opponent in #20 Max Dean of OU. Marable used two takedowns and an escape, along with the fact he has not been taken down in EIGHT WEEKS, to get a 5-2 win over Dean, his 10th against top 20 opponents. On Sunday, Marable earned a day off and Andrew Sherry earned a start. He looked pretty decent to start, but got stuck early in the 2nd period, getting pinned at 4:15 to narrow the Mizzou lead to 17-10.
On Sunday, I am sure Marable will be back, for another big time match-up, this time against freshman #6 Jonathan Reader. That ranking was previous to this weekend where Reader was upset by the wrestler of Arizona State. Marable is also 3-0 in conference, and will solidify his top spot at the conference tournament with the win.
A really nice finish to the home wrestling career of Brock Wittmeyer. A little more info on Brock, he is a GRADUATE of Penn, and had one semester left of eligibility, which he is using now while he works on his masters at Mizzou. Friday night saw him lose a major decision to Jeff James of OU, 12-4. This would put OU back into the match at 14-10. On Sunday though, another senior scoring another win, his FIRST in a Mizzou singlet. Taking a decisive 12-6 win over Chris Platt of OSU, putting Mizzou up 20-10 and affording Coach Smith even more room to change the lineup.
As for this weekend, Wittmeyer will take on unranked Aron Scott of ISU. Picking up his first conference win would be a big result for MU in what should be a very close dual.
Another split sort of weekend for the Tigers, though they came up winners on both halves. #4 Raymond Jordan took a 5-2 win over #6 Josh Weitzel of OU to stay undefeated in conference and to move to 20-1 on the season. On Sunday, and with a nice lead, Jordan got the rest and senior James Williamson took the mat. Finishing off a really great Senior Day, Wiliamson gave the Mizzou seniors a 4-0 sweep on the day, taking his last Hearnes match 6-3, which gave Mizzou a 23-10 lead.
A HUGE match this weekend for Raymond Jordan, as he will take on #1 and undefeated Jake Varner of Iowa State. Jordan holds two close wins over Varner, both from last season. Needless to say, this should be one of the top matches of the season at this weight, the kind you would except really in the finals of this class at the NCAA's. And of course, the two are wrestling for the top spot in the conference.
A strong weekend for Max Askren, who unlike last year around this time, is looking very strong. A really nice win for him over #5 Joel Flaggert of OU on Friday night 3-0 gives Max a 3-0 record in conference and moves him to 18-2 overall. Coming back on Sunday, Askren earned the third tech fall of the day for the Tigers, easiily dispatching his OSU opponent 19-2 to push Mizzou's lead out to an impressive 28-10 over the Beavers.
Against ISU, he will take on veteran #12 David Bertolino. For Max, he should retain the #1 seed in the Big XII heading to the tournament in what is a pretty loaded class, with all five wrestlers in the top 17 currently.
Some good and some bad out of Mark Ellis this past weekend. The good was an important win for him over OU's Nathan Fernandez by the score of 6-2. This finished the OU dual as a 23-10 win by the Tigers. This was a big win for Ellis, especially after he lost to the lower ranked May of Nebraska last week. Ellis came back on Sunday though, and lost an OT match to Gardner of OSU, who was able to take Ellis down late for the tie and then again early in OT for the win.
This weekend, Ellis will have his work cut out for him with a match against #6 David Zabriskie. Zabriskie came out on top of Ellis 8-4 last year when they met in the ISU dual, and the did not meet at the Big XII tournament. Ellis was ranked #3 last year in that, but may be looking at #4 because NU was able to upgrade their standing.
A good weekend for the wrestling program, getting the win they should have over OU, and doing so in pretty emphatic fashion with a couple of upsets (McCormick, Wagner and Chandler) along the way. Oregon State is not in the same class as us and so winning like that was to be expected. However, it was made all the nicer because 4 seniors not only got to wrestle, but all walked away winners.
As for the ISU meet...could be nice and close. ISU has the higher ranked wrestler in many of the matches, but a few of those are real close and should pretty much be considered a toss-up. And the Varner/Jordan match should be a barn burner. We will have more on Monday about how it all went down.