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Celebrate, for Mizzou Wrestling season is upon us

#TigerStyle kicks off their dual season, but have had lots going on in the past week with National Signing Day and some Open Tournaments. BST, Shaffe and I recap the goings-on and get you ready for tonight

Zach Synon is one of two wrestlers who are ranked at the top of their weight class in the MAC rankings
Zach Synon is one of two wrestlers who are ranked at the top of their weight class in the MAC rankings
The Beef

The Beef – With signing day behind us, let’s take a our first look at the future #TigerStyle wrestlers.

Shaffe - Park Hill!

It's always funny to me to realize that the national signing period that gets so much attention for basketball also applies to the other sports at the same time. Sounds like another good crop of kids.

BST - Some tidbits on the recruiting class from InterMat

Dante Jiovanetta (Coral Shores, Fla.), a Junior National champion in Greco-Roman this summer at 285 pounds, committed to the University of Missouri. Ranked No. 14 in the country at 285, he projects as a 285-pound wrestler in college. In addition, he won state during his junior season of high school, and was undefeated in the AAU Scholastic Duals district all-star division this summer.

Wyatt Koelling (Davis, Utah), a Junior National Greco-Roman champion this summer, made his college decision late on Sunday evening. The projected 197 pound wrestler verbally committed to the University of Missouri. Koelling is ranked No. 79 overall in the Class of 2016, also finishing sixth in Junior freestyle this summer after placing sixth at the Flo Nationals during the spring.

Prior to the 2014-15 high school season, Koelling was a Preseason Nationals champion at 195 pounds. During that high school season, he won a state title. Koelling joins No. 43 Ethan Andersen (Southeast Polk, Iowa) as a top 100 commit to Missouri in the 2016 recruiting class

Marriott #11 ranked 170lber in 2016 class.

Hosford 2x state champ

Shaffe - I’ll be brutally honest and admit that I’m not all that big into the wrestling recruiting scene. Based on what BST provided from our good friends at Intermat it sounds like there’s some good talent for Brian Smith to mold once they hit campus next year. With all of the young talent on the current team these guys should have plenty of opportunity to get coached up and #MizzouMade.

I will give a shout out to my alma mater, Park Hill high school in KC, for continuing to churn high level wrestlers.

BST, who are the gems from this collective? And how shiny are these gems?

BST – I think Jiovenetta and Koelling are the big gets out of this class. They are from outside of MO and have each won high profile national tournaments and should finish their HS careers as multi-time state champs. Hosford and Marriott are interesting local kids. As you said Shaffer, Park Hill keeps producing top flight wrestlers and Hosford looks like yet another in that long line. Marriott is projected at 174 and could have a chance to come in and compete after Blaise Butler is done at Mizzou.

All in all, highly ranked kids, who will certainly meet some needs at big time spots in the line up.

The Beef -So now that we have the future out of the way, let’s get to the present.  While the Tigers are preparing for the dual season opener this coming Friday, a number of wrestlers were involved in Open tournaments all over the place this past weekend.  Anything you guys were keeping close tabs on?  Most of the time, open tournaments will have wrestlers who are destined for a red shirt, but I am thinking we also saw some "varsity" wrestlers participating.  Anything hop off the page at you guys?

BST - Big thing that jumped out right away to me was youngsters Will Roark and Jaydin Eierman. The 2 frosh had themselves a heck of a weekend. Jaydin finished 3rd at the Michigan St. Open, including a fall and a tech fall in the 3rd place match. Roark won the UCM (Central MO) Open with 2 tech falls, a fall and a 6-2 decision in the finals. These two local frosh had some good pub coming into the year and they both appear ready to contribute at the Varsity level.

Shaffer, anyone/thing else catch your attention?

Shaffe - One quick reminder as the regular season begins on Friday night is that these tournaments from the past two weekends do not count for burning redshirts. Any of the guys who still have the option available can still take a redshirt year despite competing in these tournaments, which are commonly referred to as open tournaments.

Jargon aside, one negative that stood out to me was the performance of the two heavyweights at the Maryville Open on November 14. Mike Monaghan went 0-2 losing by tech fall and pin while the man who knocked him off in the black and gold meet, James Romero, also went 0-2 getting pinned twice himself. This was against competition a fair bit below what they’ll see for much of the schedule this year so it really stood out to me. The week before in Warrensburg Romero did manage to place third (picking up three pins and a tech fall) while Monaghan found himself 1-2 – so there is certainly still a very definite pecking order at the end of the lineup. While the 133-149 range will be fun to keep an eye on to see how the bodies shake out, heavyweight officially has me the most concerned about being a possible pitfall on the team for this year.

I was encouraged to see Joey Lavallee finally hit the mat this past weekend and take second at the Michigan State Open over a field that actually had some teeth to it for an open tournament. Notably he took down fellow MAC wrestler Spartak Chino of Ohio in the semifinals, which was nice to see. However he did so in the 157 pound division, which is a bit puzzling since he was ranked in MAC preseason at 149. Things sure do get funny this time of year as we try to figure out what is going through the mind of Brian Smith and his lineup strategy.

The Beef - Yeah, I do wonder if Lavallee is having trouble with the cut and we perhaps don’t yet know who is going to hit the mat and where.  And truth be told, Friday’s opponent is of such caliber that we may STILL not know after the dual, just because we might be able to give some time to other wrestlers who might not see mat time during MAC or high-end duals.

Shaffe - When you consider how many guys are vying in the low to middle weights, we may not get much of a grasp on the true first choice lineup until well after the new year. All in all I’m really excited to see what’s in store for the next few months on the mat.

BST - I too am looking forward to all the different faces out there and seeing who can step up and really show what they've got….(later)… So this was just released, and it looks like some weight changes are in there, also no Lavallee.

Shaffe - I liked it better last year when all 10 guys were ranked in the top 4 of their weight class, it was a lot easier to keep tabs on the lineup.

The Beef - Well..I see Mayes back to 149, so I guess that could mean Manley or Barnes (assuming they keep the RS on Roark) at 141.  Thoughts?

BST - Yeah, I'd think the first shot is gonna go to Manley/Barnes. If they can't deliver Roark may get a shot. I dunno, really. Smith is gonna have an interesting time with lineups this year for sure.

Shaffe - I really like Mayes at 149 because it opens up both 133 and 141 for a lot of the youth on the team to compete and improve. I think early on we’ll see a lot of Synon/Manley/Barnes in those two spots while Smith assesses whether to pull the shirt off of Eierman and/or Roark this year. To a lesser extent somebody like redshirt freshman John Erneste could also build toward stepping into the lineup a bit down the road in these two spots of the lineup.

Of course, before we just write off Synon we must remind ourselves that he is the defending MAC champion at 133, so he’s certainly capable of holding his spot all season long.

The Beef - I think this year may become all about next season.  I certainly don’t say that to say we don’t intend to compete and win this year, far from.  But as we all know, most college sports (but wrestling in particular) can be cyclical through the use of redshirts.  If you project this year’s lineup for NEXT season, the only person we are likely to lose is the graduating Blaise Butler,  But everyone else is likely to be back, plus redshirts from a VERY solid class.  The only other senior we would potentially lose is if Barnes get the spot at 141 over Manley, though my vote would be for Manley.  So I think Smith should be mindful of development for sure, but I don’t see a huge need to go burning shirts this year because we might have some gaps we did not have last year.

BST - I agree Beef. I think that Smith rightfully could be looking towards next year. We have 4 returning AA's who should all still be here next season as well. If those 4 continue to improve and our newer varsity guys step up as well, we could be looking at another possible run to a top 3 finish with sights set on the title. I'm ok with that.

The Beef - Alright, let’s turn our focus to Friday night then.  Each of you give me two things you are hoping to see out of the results from Friday night

Shaffe - Aside from the obvious (win the duel):

1. I’m looking for something positive out of the heavyweight spot

2. Don’t burn any redshirts yet

BST - 1 - Stay healthy.

2 - See wins out of guys who weren't starters last year.

The Beef - Alright then, all of that seemed short and to the point.

I will go with an impressive debut from Daniel Lewis at 165 and a comfortable looking Mayes at 149.  I think we know what we will get from people like J’Den and Willie, but these two and their next steps (albeit different steps) are what I will be looking for.