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Mizzou Wrestling - Dual Season has Begun

The first win for the Tigers is in the books, as well as some strong finishes at the Lindenwood Open Tournament this past weekend. Let's get caught up on the action and look ahead to the first MAC dual meet of the year

Lavion Mayes got off to an OK start at his new weight of 149
Lavion Mayes got off to an OK start at his new weight of 149
The Beef

The Beef - Lots of great action from the weekend, but let’s take it in order, which puts us in Edwardsville, IL as the Tigers opened their dual season against SIU-E.  They did not trot out EXACTLY what we figured the starting lineup might look like (even with all the confusion around Joey Lavallee and the 157 class), but the Tigers still came away with an easy 36-7 win, taking eight of the ten matches on the night.  Considering they really were not tested, what was something which still impressed you about the results from the evening?

BST - Thing that impressed me the most was, and stop me if you've heard me geek out on him before, but Daniel Freaking Lewis. D-Lew picked up his first pin on the season in under a minute. Lewis racked up 15 pins in only 21 matches last year, so keep an eye out on this kind of a result from him. Ben Askren even talked a little smack, saying Daniel only needed 90 more to match his record.

What about you Shaffer?

Shaffe - Outside of the obvious of Lewis picking up a pin just a minute into the season, I was pleased to see Willie Miklus get back to his pinning ways himself. Miklus is the type of guy that can make a difference in a tournament setting due to his ability to take down an opponent at any time and it was quite good to see him break that ability out right off  the bat. Another positive for me was Synon and Manley performing well to hold on to those 133/141 spots, hopefully giving Brian Smith some confidence to keep the redshirts on Jaydin Clayton/Eierman and Will Roark.

The Beef - For me, I liked seeing McGhee be pretty impressive at 125 (and we will get to more of this as we go) and showing off a STRONG shot and double-leg. I agree about Synon and as I said in the post on Friday, I was really taken aback by how much Manley had filled out at 141. I know he had a solid summer in some of the open tournaments, so I am starting to generate some confidence in how he will perform as the season goes on.

Anything you guys saw/read which disappointed at all before we get to Saturday?

BST - Biggest disappointment/takeway is that its gonna be a LONG season at HWT. True frosh Romero got the nod in this one and was dropped 5-0. I have no idea how good Johnson from SIUE is, but man, I was hoping Romero would at least be competitive. I don't know if there are any answers currently on the roster for this weight class tho.

Shaffe - Between the loss here and the disappointments in the early open tournaments I’m officially down on the HWT spot this year. I don’t want to pile on the guy or anything, but I’m lowering my expectations from Romero to nearly zero. Another mild disappointment I had was Lavion Mayes only pulling out an 11-6 decision. This is a disappointment purely due to expectations for Mayes, but I really had hoped he would be able to put out at least a major decision against what I’m guessing was an overmatched opponent. Always finding room for improvement, I suppose.

The Beef - I will echo the sentiment on Mayes. He started his match very strong, getting out to an early 7-1 lead I believe thanks to a solid shot and near-fall. However, he got moving backwards in the 2nd and gave up a couple of points, and was doing the same in the third when his opponent made it 7-6. Mayes was cut to make it 8-6 and the match felt like it was really moving in the wrong direction, but Mayes finally put his double together and scored the takedown and pushed the RT back over a minute to get back to the 11-6 result.

I will also say I remain a little intrigued about how passive I feel like J’Den Cox is on offense in neutral. Now, don’t get me wrong, he still scored from most angles and CERTAINLY out-worked his opponent, who ultimately gassed out and gave up a tech fall with RT, but I still saw Cox allow a couple of decent shots to get in on him. With a dominant wrestler (at least in my mind), I want to always see them on their offense, the defense of the opponent be damned. With Cox, I think this is almost magnified just because of how last year finished (and even how the title was won his freshmen year). I know I am being too hard, but it is what I keep an eye on.

Alright, let’s move the discussion into my backyard (Lindenwood) for the Parisi Open. Solid field came to St. Charles, so commence gushing about some of the results.

Shaffe - Since BST stole the obvious gush from the dual meet, I’m going to steal the obvious high point of the open tournament and bring up Barlow McGhee’s win over West Virginia’s Zeke Moisey. By most accounts Moisey was a consensus top 10 wrestler nationally with some rankings having him in the top 5 at their weight class. This was a big big win for McGhee and hopefully shows that he’s taken quite the step forward after spending a redshirt year in the room with Alan Waters. He’ll have plenty of chances to show whether that result was a fluke or legitimate as he has nationally ranked Dylan Peters looming this weekend and defending 125 lb champion Nate Tomasillo on December 12. Very exciting times are ahead for Barlow.

BST - Gotta say the most interesting result of the tournament for me was Eierman/Clayton taking the 133lb title and beating Synon in the title match 5-3. I was happy to see Synon continue a solid weekend by making the final, but with Lavallee a big question mark at this point, I don't know how some reshuffling isn't done to make sure Eierman/Clayton makes it into the varsity line up. Thought from you two on this weight class?

The Beef - Well…I don’t see how reshuffling because of Lavalle at 157 results in another spot opening that Synon and/or Eierman/Clayton could fill. It is not as if Mayes could suddenly and effectively go up ANOTHER class and bring Manley up with him (along with either Synon or E/C to 141). I think our situation at 157 is not solvable with a move at 133 unfortunately.

As for 133, I am fine with Synon going this season and keeping the redshirt on E/C at this point. I thought Synon looked good when I saw him on Friday night against SIU-E and he does have decent experience and success from last season.

Shaffe? Any magical puzzle piece I am not considering?

Shaffe - Nope, I don’t think there’s any magic bullet here. While there is much more fluidity in the lineup at 133/141 than we’ve seen in a while at Mizzou I don’t see any way the glut of bodies here can help solve the odd situation at 157. I’ll echo that the important thing right now, especially with early season open tournaments abound, is keeping the redshirts on the talented true freshmen until absolutely necessary. However, Jaydin Eierman/Clayton just might force Brian Smith’s hand if given many more opportunities to do so.

The Beef - I agree with the keeping of the redshirts where possible. And while the notion of someone like Jaydin is exciting, it is not as if the returning MAC champion is chopped liver as well.

Alright, on to this coming Saturday and the first MAC dual against UNI. Sort of like NASCAR starting off with the Daytona 500, is this the best conference dual of the season?

BST - I think this is easily in the top 2 of duals that we'll be seeing in our conference season. UNI has a better team at top than Central Michigan, but CMU may have the better rounded team, so its a toss-up for me. There is a good amount of top end firepower for UNI. They have four guys ranked in the top 10 of their respective weight classes by Intermat, so there is potential for some big time matchups and hopefully, big time upsets by our boys.

Shaffe - The obvious matchup to watch here is 125, as Barlow McGhee looks to prove his upset of Zeke Moisey was no fluke. It would bode exceptionally well for the result of the dual if McGhee is able to pull out this matchup and negate some of the advantages UNI has elsewhere in the lineup. Care to make any predictions, at the 125 pound matchup or otherwise?

BST - 125 is the only matchup right now that looks to be a top 25 competition. 133 could be interesting with Synon/Eierman facing off against #16 Alber of UNI, if one of those 2 can pull of that upset I'd feel MUCH better about that weight class going forward for Mizzou. The Fightin' Smiths should also clean house at 174-197, with 3 top 10 guys going up against un-ranked competition.

Thoughts, Beef?

The Beef - Nice to see McGhee hop up the (Intermat) rankings coming off of his win against Moisey, as he now sits at #13 before facing #7 Peters.  And if he wins, what a start to the season, eh?  I will be curious to see what Synon (I assume) will do against a highly-ranked frosh in Alber from UNI (as sometimes those highly ranked frosh are overrated coming in).  Great opportunity for Daniel Lewis at 165, with junior Cooper Moore (#3) likely his opponent.   I’d certainly like to see Butler make his debut, especially since conference matches have much to do with conference tourney rankings.

Intermat has us at #11 as a dual team and #10 as a tournament team.  UNI is #12 as a tourney team, but not ranked as a dual team.  That should tell you what you need to know about them.  A few VERY highly-ranked wrestlers, but not enough depth through the other weights.  In the end, people like Mayes and Butler (presumably) and Miklus and Cox should carry the day for us.

Anyone else care to close it out?

BST - I'm calling it, Daniel Lewis continues his stellar start to the season and knocks off Moore, to vault into the top 10 at 165!

Shaffe - If Lewis not only wins, but picks up any bonus points, I can’t imagine the epic fist pumping that will ensue.

I don’t think UNI has enough guns to pull out the matchup, but it could be pretty close in the end. I’ll say one of McGhee and Lewis continue their impressive early seasons and pick up key victories to guide the Tigers to something in the neighborhood of a 21-14 total margin behind the strength of their mid to heavier weights.

The Beef - In case anyone thinks we are nuts, here is a GREAT comparison/preview site with lots of good data on common opponents