So the Tigers headed to the Northeast and came home with the four wins pretty much everyone expected them to against Nassau CC (43-6), Hofstra (33-9), #20 OU (27-9) and #22 Purdue (23-9). On the day, of the 40 total matches, the Tigers only dropped 9 matches, and two of those were given up as forfeits at the HWY (more on that later). While the caliber of opponent varied from pretty solid to a Community College, were you surprised to see the Tigers be that dominant?
I honestly was. I was following along on Twitter most of the day and at one point I had to go back through and look for the few losses they had. This team is doing an outstanding job so far of winning the matches they should, taking a lot of the toss-ups and even stealing their fair share of upsets as well. The younger guys in the lower weights got their seasoning through out last season and it definitely appears to be paying off now.
I think one wrestler worth highlighting is RS Sr. Johnny Eblen who racked up a 3-0 record on the weekend including an upset over #8 ranked Atwood of Purdue 3-0. There appears to be a serious log jam now at the 184 & 197lb weight classes. Take that along with the HWY forfetis and what do you make of it all?
What I make of the logjam at 184 and 197 is that we are a VERY strong dual meet team right now, even with the hole at HWY. Beyond that, I think it may mean Coach Smith could have a REALLY tough decision to make come the MAC’s in March, as those will determine who vies for the NCAA spot at 184. I remain steadfast in my belief that while J’Den may see some/more/a lot of time at HWY during duals (until Mellon returns…assuming he does), he will not be the choice at HWY when we get late in the season. That means that Smith would need to choose between Miklus and Eblen, both of whom have had tremendous wins this season. Good problem to have I suppose, but certainly an interesting one to pay attention to at the season progresses and Mellon remains MIA.
So let’s take one more pass at the results from the weekend before moving on to some recruiting talk. Any results or wrestlers who you thought needed to do more? Anything that left you rolling your eyes?
Lavallee continues to impress with a win over #13 DeAngelis of OU, Cox did knock of the #12 ranked HWT in the country, Larson of OU. I think OU was the best dual team we faced over the weekend and it was nice to also see Houdashelt get a fall and Waters pick up a Tech Fall. Those are both guys that need to continue to put guys away and set the tone for the underclassmen on this team.
The only wrestler I could say I was a bit disappointed in is Mikey England. He dropped 2 close matches 5-2 and 5-4. England is better than that but he may have just had an off weekend so I'm not overly concerned.
As you mentioned, we haven't talked about recruiting yet. Mizzou has already received commits from 8 high school wrestlers. Whom amongst those 8 stand out to you and is there anyone else out there Smith may still be after or a weight class that has a need that has yet to be filled?
Excited to see Lavallee go 3-0 on the weekend, and for Mayes to go 4-0. Not necessarily the best competition at 141, but coming off of his big win against Mecate of ODU last weekend, it was good to see him not take a step back.
Was interesting to me to see Zach Synon take the match against #3 Brewer of OU after Manley suffered a 7-4 loss to Sabatello of Purdue. 2-1 on the weekend for him was not what I was hoping to see.
As for recruiting, the two most interesting names to me are Jaydin Clayton and Will Roark. For Clayton, I am not sure if maybe he can step right in at 141 and push Mayes up to 149 to cover the loss of Houdashelt. For Roark, I assume he gets in line behind some people, but nice to be generating some depth at the lower weights. The other who raises an eyebrow is Dylan Wisman, who is up at the higher weights. Depending on where Miklus wants to land next year (which may depend upon where Cox wants to go), he might have a chance to see some time around 184 right off the bat.
What about you? Did I steal your three? Thoughts on the class as a whole?
Ha, those are the big 3 rankings wise but one more I'm excited to see is yet another McCormick brother out of Lee's Summit is heading to CoMo. He doesn't have the record of the others, but knowing how good his family has been at Mizzou, I'd say hes got a shot to be a decent college wrestler.
No action this weekend for the Tigers, but next week’s piece will have our preview of the Tigers’ weekend in Ohio as the take on the Bobcats of Ohio in a conference dual before they head to Columbus for a big showdown with the #3/#7 (Tournament/Dual) Buckeyes
That it will, is that match-up at 197 the biggest non-tournament match we see all season?
Tune in next week to read my answer!