Mizzou traveled to (and then barely got back from) Norfolk, VA this past weekend as they kicked off their MAC dual season against the Monarch of Old Dominion, who came into the weekend ranked #17 in the Intermat poll. The Tigers caught fire early in the dual and put this one away quickly, dropping only one match (and a forfeit) on their way to a 24-10 win. Certainly some eyebrow raising results from the dual, so what raised yours the most?
I'd say there were certainly 2 VERY BIG wins by the good guys on Sunday. At 141lb Lavion Mayes upset #5 ranked Chris Mecate 5-4 and at 184lbs Willie Miklus upset #2 Jack Dechow in sudden victory. These are very promising returns early on for some young guys.
Also, I have zero clue whats going on at HWT. I'm wondering if Mellon is hurt. Thats the only thing I can think of that would explain his result at the UCM Open and then Smith forfeiting his weight class at ODU.
Agreed on the two big results. For Mayes, and as we chronicled last week, he had been improving a decent bit against Mecate, but the road to the top spot in the weight class still went through him. Getting the win, especially with a late takedown and backpoints is an exciting way to start the conference season. The road to the top seed now goes through Mayes (with Zach Horan being another big match later in the season), and that is a great place to be sitting one match in.
As for Miklus…that was unexpected. I know that Eblen had defeated Dechow last season, and I was a little confused as to how he had come up through the rankings so quickly from last year. But please do not misunderstand that for my trying to take anything away from our RS Frosh. However, it does beg an interesting question about how Coach Smith plans to work the rest of the season. Holding a win over the top wrestler in the conference gives Miklus (like Mayes) the inside track to the top seed in the MAC tourney. Would kind of be weird to go back to using Eblen, because he wont have that when it comes to rankings. Not entirely sure if Miklus getting the start (and now the win) means that he is in and Eblen is out, but it will be interesting to watch develop.
As for Mellon at HWY, I have to believe that an injury is where we are. I am guessing he was a game-time decision, but with the way the Tigers had started the meet (and with only two matches remaining after the HWY bout), Smith had the luxury of taking the 6 point hit on the forfeit and not really risking the result of the dual. I would not mind someone else getting a start there if Mellon needs some time to get better (and I am fine with it not being J’Den), but I am curious to see how the lineup works this coming weekend.
Speaking of this weekend, the Tigers head East to Troy, NY (just north of Albany for those of you keeping score at home) to take on four different opponents in the NE Duals. Aside from a scrap with Nassau CC (yes, Community College), there should be some solid matches against Hofstra, #20 OU and #22 Purdue. What are you looking forward to the most from the weekend?
Oklahoma brings in the best squad of this group and we should see a few solid ranked matches.
133lbs has #3 Cody Brewer of OU going up against now #12 Matt Manley.
141lbs has #17 Jamel Hudson of Hofstra against now #7 Lavion Mayes (up 3 spots after upsetting Mecate of ODU).
149lbs has #15 Cody Ruggirello of Hofstra facing off against #6 Drake Houdashelt.
157lbs #13 Justin DeAngelis of OU will see #15 Joey Lavalee.
197lbs #8 Braden Atwood of Purdue will see #2 J'Den Cox.
I'm most interested in seeing if Mayes can continue to wrestle at AA form and if Cox has any rust after not seeing any real competition lately. What about yourself?
Of the ones you offered, I am looking forward to seeing Mayes, Lavallee and Houdashelt. For Lavion…same reason as you. Quite the deserved jump in the rankings, but now he needs to keep that going. For Joey, he is simply going to be someone I am watching most of the season because I think he could be the difference between a top-10 and top-5 finish at the NCAA’s And for Drake, he’s had some good competition already this season, but I want to make sure he is still ticking off wins against the people he should.
As for J’Den…he majored Atwood in the 2nd round of the NCAA’s last season, so I am curious to see where he goes from there.
Well, thats all for today. Check out www.journeymenwrestling.com or trackwrestling.com to follow all the fun this weekend up in NY.