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Wrestling Wrap Up: Nebraska

This may be a shorter entry to wrap up last night's meet, as I will be honest and some of the best words you will ever hear when you hear them, but not always the best the next morning.

Wedding Reception, Open Bar, Keg of NewCastle.

Anyway, Mizzou put up a pretty solid performance against the #2 Huskers last night up in Nebraska.  I will cover each weight class and break down how Mizzou ended up falling 22-13.  The match by match breakdown from the NU website is down, so I will have to do some of this off of memory of what I saw last night on the site.  And considering the above words, that might not be much :-)

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Once again, the meet started at an off weight, with Brock Wittmeyer taking on #6 Brandon Browne.  Wittmeyer, who in the past duals had been doing a great job controlling the action, got down early to Browne and could not hold off the action as well as before.  Ending up losing 14-5, the early najor decision put MU in a hole, 4-0.

#4 Raymond Jordan, who came into the evening sitting on a 19-1 record met some stiff competition in #10 Vince Jones.  A scoreless 1st period and a close match after 2 gave way to Jordan totally dominating the 3rd period with repeated takedowns and cutting loose of Jones.  In the end, Jordan got the riding time bonus to give him the major decision, putting Mizzou right back in it at 4-4.

One of the matches of the night did not disappoint, with #9 Max Askren taking on #10 Craig Brester, and was a fight to the finish, with Askren coming out on top of a wild 13-11 decision.  Askren had late points on a reversal and back points to get the win and push Mizzou up 7-4.  Also important, he and Jordan both move to 2-0 in conference, setting themselves up well as they work towards the top seed in the Big XII Championship.

Another one of the SIX match-ups of ranked wrestlers, #11 Mark Ellis took on #20 John May. For Mizzou to come out on top, this was one they needed to have, and though a very close 3-2 match, Ellis found himself on the wrong end of it.  This would tie things back up at 7-7 after 4 matches.

With Pescaglia still out hurt, John Olanowski remains the wrestler taking the mat at this weight, and he had his work cut out for him going up against #4 Paul Donahoe.  Donahoe got up early and often on Olanowski, cruising to an 18-3 tech fall early in the third period.  This would give MU the lead at 12-7, which they would not relinquish.

While the outcome of this match was not desired, I think there were bigger things going on here.  Facing #8 Kenny Jordan, Tyler McCormick returned to the mat after a long injury lay-off, McCormick wrestled hard and well, eventually falling in the sudden victory OT 3-1 after Jordan got the takedown.  Getting McCormick slowly back to ful force by the time March rolls around will be very important to getting Mizzou higher and higher through the national rankings.

The only match of the day with no ranked wrestlers (though I believe he is ranked in some polls), Mike Rowe of NU took on Hoehn of Mizzou.  Another match to sudden victory OT after being tied at 2 after 7  minutes, the NU wrestler once again got the takedown in OT, giving Rowe the 4-2 win.  This moved the match to 18-7, though certainly it could have been much closer at this point.

Though not an upset, certainly a bit of a letdown in terms of outcome, #7 Jordan Buroughs of NU got a major decision on #16 Josh Wagner in a high scoring 15-7 match.  The major decision put the dual out of reach for the Tigers, pushing the score to 22-7.  This moves Wagner to 1-1 in conference after a big win over Okie State.

#14 Mike Chandler stepped out on to the mat after Mizzou had fallen 5 straight matches, and was facing a tough and evenly matched opponent in #16 Chris Oliver.  Getting Mizzou back on track, Chandler took a 6-2 decision, getting him to 2-0 in conference and getting Mizzou back on the board at 22-10 with one match remaining.

In what has been described in most places as the match of the night (which meant it must have been amazing given Askren's 13-11 win), #2 Nick Marable took on #9 Stephen Dwyer.  The two went into OT tied 1-1, and no one came out on top after the the one-minute sudden victory.  In the 2nd OT, a 30-second period, Marable got a reversal with two seconds remaining.  In the 3rd OT, another 30-secord period, Dwyer was only able to answer with an escape, and scrambled hard after Marable, but to no avail.  Marable won the match 3-2, chalking up yet another win over a top 10 opponent this season.

Final Thoughts:
About what I expected in a final score, though glad to see this could have gone the other way too.  Ellis was favored to win his match and lost, and with three other matches into OT, this could have been a Mizzou win with a couple of breaks.  Coach Smith talked about how proud he was of the team, and also how excited he is to see McCormick rounding back into form.

Next up for Mizzou will be the Beauty and the Beast meet next Friday against OU (with gymnastics going on at the same time) at Hearnes, and it will be my first chance to see this team in person.  They will also take on Oregon State at home on Sunday afternoon next weekend in the final home meet of the season and the last chance we will all have to see seniors Tyler McCormick and Josh Wagner (also Justin Cole at 141, Vince Demarest and James Williamson at 174.