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Step 2 for Mizzou Wrestling: Find order in the middle weight classes

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The Beef

BST: Flowrestling is one of the few publications that already has their rankings out for this season, so I'll go off that for the matter of Conference/National outlook. Mayes is ranked 3rd nationally at 141, which I think is a respectable spot. Maybe 1 higher than he should be, but nothing I'm going to argue with. He has company from 2 conference mates in the top 20, Mecate (Old Dominion) at 5th and Horan (Cent. Michigan) at 12th. Mayes split with Mecate last year, dropping their 2nd match at the conference tourney.

That might have been Mayes' single worst matches I've seen him wrestle. He was lethargic and gave up with at least 10 seconds to go in each period, and Mecate made him pay. Mayes dropped his 1 matchup with Horan in SV, at the Central Michigan dual. I think that Mayes can be better than both of these guys, but it comes down to what we've said about him time and again. If Lavion comes out fired up, wrestles aggressively and works his top game, he should win the MAC undefeated.

As for Lavallee, Flo has him pegged at 12th nationally to start the season at 149. Again, I think this is right about where he should be. Joey made the knock out round at the NCAA's last year and should of course have AA's as his goal this year. Lavallee is joined by 3 other MAC wrestlers in the top 20: Richardson (ODU) at 7th, Heffernan (UCM) at 13th, and Depalma (KSU) at 18th. From what I can tell, Lavalle hasn't faced any of these guys previously, so your guess as to how he might respond is as good as mine. Richardson did finish 7th at the NCAA's last year, so hes obviously the guy to beat in this class at the MACs. I think the biggest thing is going to be if Lavallee can keep his strength at this weight. He showed flashes last year of flat out handling guys because he was stong as an ox at 157. If he has that at 149, he could seriously fun to watch. Also, his dad is HIGHLY entertaining to sit near while Joey wrestles.

The Beef: Before we move on to 157, let’s talk quickly about one of the two big transfers who Brian Smith received in the off-season. Grant Leeth was a Missouri kid who started his career at Duke and had a couple of decent wins as a redshirting frosh. The move of Lavallee to 149 does surprise me a bit because I had Leeth pegged here, giving me what I figured would be a Mayes/Leeth/Lavallee run through some of the lower middle weights. Does the move of Lavallee down to 149 give us a hint about where the coaches thought Leeth might be at this still-early stage of his career?

BST: I guess since Leeth "technically" red shirted last year, hes good to go right away this year?

The Beef: Yes, in wrestling there is no sitting out for transfer rules. Regardless of what he did last year, he could wrestle this season

Shaffe: Which makes it all the more surprising to me that he's not manning the 149 spot for this year. Maybe he's injured, or maybe he's not quite ready to crack the starting lineup. With lots of eligibility still it's not like he NEEDS to wrestle this year or else, though as BST mentioned he's already taken a redshirt so the clock won't pause for him now

BST: Huh, TIL.

Just looking at Leeth, dude is jacked. He seems like the fit for 157 and i gotta say, I love the mixture of youth/experience we have going at these lighter weights. We have some guys that can move around if need to as well. I say Leeth gets the first nod at 157 and if he doesn't live up to Smith's expectations, move him over and move someone else up

The Beef: So since BST has already weighed in on who he thinks will get first crack at 157, let’s move it on over to Shaffe. Do you agree with BST or do you have someone else in mind at 157?

Shaffe: As for who steps in at 157, your guess is as good as mine. It could be Leeth bulking up, it could be somebody we’re not expecting at all. Unfortunately whoever it is the MAC coaches didn’t deem it necessary to vote him as one of the 4 best in the conference, which is what tipped us to Lavallee being at 149 in the first place. Looking over the roster posted at MUTigers.com the only non-freshman wrestlers from 149 to 165 are LaVallee, Redshirt Junior Blake Pepper (157), and Redshirt Junior Matt Lemanowicz (165). Otherwise there’s a collection of 8 true or redshirt freshmen, so I’d say whoever takes the mat at 157 is probably going to be a young buck.

The Beef: Lemanowicz was an interesting name to me, but I think he might be too big at this point, having been at 152 in high school, but at 165 for his Mizzou career. Pepper is the only one with experience (albeit very limited), so I think that gives him some sort of lead over anyone else. You do have a McCormick in the mix there, and as do love those wrestling McCormicks

Alright, we’ve come through the lower weights with some surprises and some question marks. Our move to the upper weights starts at 165 and appears to be pretty cemented at this point, and I am sure BST is chomping at the bit to talk about the guy who appears to have landed at this weight. BST…care to start us off?

BST: First, off I have to tip my hat once again to Mikey England. That dude worked his tail off this past season, dropping into the 165lb class, battling just to get into the NCAAs and then making his way to the blood round with some extra team points along the way. He was the epitome of a fan favorite and I'm gonna miss him.

Now, looking forward. I think this spot starting out has to be Daniel Lewis of Blue Springs. Lewis won 4 state tiles in high school, while dropping only 4 total matches. He was a high school free style all american and 2x folk style All American. Lewis wrestled in some open tournaments for Mizzou this past season with decent success, but I expect him to put up just as good if not better results than England this year.

Shaffe: I don't think it's too much excitement considering how well freshmen have performed across the country in recent years. There in the fact that he was able to redshirt and get better there's no reason to think he can't step right in and give what England did during the regular season last year.

In and around this weight though I wouldn't count out Tim Miklus. He could probably move up if he needed or wanted but at the very least should pose a challenge to Lewis. Incoming freshman Keegan McCormick probably won't be able to knock off Lewis or Miklus but I just wanted to point out that yet another McCormick will be in the room again starting in the fall.

BST: Oh, I already geeked out about McCormick earlier. LOVE seeing those LS kids come into the program. Smith & Co. have been doing a damn good job of recruiting the KC area the last few years and I hope it continues.

Shaffe: I checked the transcript and did not see the aforementioned gushing in this piece, so I stand by my bringing him up. The number of bodies to compete at the low to mid weights next year should hopefully pay dividends for quite a while.

Death, taxes, and a McCormick wrestling for Mizzou - three true guarantees.

BST: So sorry Shaffe, it was before this, when Beef and I first discussed wrestling recruiting. GET OFF MY LAWN!

The Beef: Yeah Shaffe…pay attention to ANYTHING WE HAVE EVER WRITTEN.

So…we started to bring up a Miklus, so do we think we see two Miklus’ in the lineup next season? And will one of them be at 174?

BST: Just like with Leeth, I think the other transfer Blaise Butler (amazing name) has got to be considered the heavy favorite. He is a 5th yr senior that went 21-6 last year for UVA and made it to the knockout round of the NCAAs. I don't see how Smith won't put that guy out there unless we see both Miklu's (Miklii?) move up a weight class to 184 & 197 with Cox moving to HWT.

Butler is a great addtion as he was 2nd in the ACC last year, should be reliable in the wrestling room and on "game day". He'll earn points and shows that Coach Smith really isn't looking at this as a rebuilding year at all.

The Beef: I agree with you about the placement of Butler, but I will be quick to caution that his situation is a bit different from Leeth in that Leeth has only red-shirted so far and has plenty of eligibility remaining. Butler has the one year (and certainly a stronger track record on the mat)

That is all….I will now return to my moderator duties

Shaffe: At 174 give me the veteran for next year. Nothing against Tim Miklus, but Butler has too much quality on his resume for me to see the redshirt freshman knocking him out of the lineup. Wisman is almost certainly headed for a redshirt, but his summer has made him a name to keep a very close eye on as he wrestles the open tournaments. However, as BST alluded to, that still doesn't totally shut out the chance of a Multi-Miklus starting 10. I haven't decided yet what I think of more shifting in the heavier weights, so I'll let you two weigh in first.

BST:I agree that its almost guaranteed to be Butler this year. He’s got NCAA tournament experience and has put together a solid resume. He should be a guy that competes for an AA for us and gives us some solid team points at the NCAAs. Tim Miklus was not quite as highly touted as his brother, so I'm not quite sure what to expect from him. Wisman has had an excellent summer. Just took 2nd at the JR. Freestyle Nationals and was highly recruited out of HS. If nothing else, the wrestling room will have plenty of very good competition in it this year and we shouldn't see much of a drop off at this weight class next year.

The Beef: I like the idea of Butler for a year (and only a year since he is a grad transfer), with Wisman then knocking on the door next season.