So the weekend felt a little more like a coronation of sorts, but it is still important to break down what we saw from our Tigers as they hit the road to Buffalo and Ypsilanti to finish off the MAC season. All told, the Tigers would win 17 of 20 matches (including one where they took a forfeit). Let’s hit the highlights first…what did you love from the weekend?
First off #TigerStyle set a new school record for wins this season at 20. They are still undefeated and captured the regular season MAC title. Thats a pretty darn good start. Also, in the Buffalo dual Mizzou wrestlers finished 7 out of 9 matches with extra team points, which they are seriously grinding out as they ramp up for the NCAAs. It was a pretty solid weekend all around that also let some younger guys get some dual/MACtion against decent opponents.
What are you loving?
The extra team points were nice to see, even from some of the kids off the bench. I liked seeing Miklus getting another pin, as well as Eblen and Drake. I enjoyed how the coaching staff mixed up the lineup so you had 17 different wrestlers going in 19 matches (only Cox and Mellon were repeats). I also liked the move of getting England over to the Edinboro Open to get him some more work at 165, now that he is finally starting to feel more comfortable. He ended up taking 2nd place, but saw another five matches on the weekend.
I will point out that neither Buffalo nor Eastern Michigan have a MAC win this season, so "decent" is probably not quite a word I would use here. Our results were very solid, but I don’t see those teams providing many wrestlers to the NCAAs in a few weeks.
Alright, since I’ve already gone into Debbie Downer mode, talk about any disappointments from the weekend.
I really don't have anything to get too nit picky about at all. This was a scrub weekend that we should have dominated and we did. Guys won the matches they should, at times in dominant fashion, and hopefully got through it all healthy. On to the Duals Tournament!
And for me, I thought it was interesting that Waters took off the 3rd period against Soria (even though he had the large lead). I do have to mention how fortunate Cole Baumgartner was in picking up his pin over Colt Cotton (good name) of Buffalo. Baumgartner got the first takedown, but soon found himself getting rolled to his back. He did a great job using his neck to post up on his head to keep his shoulders off the mat, but Cotton paid no attention to his own body placement and very clearly pinned himself. The reaction of everyone in the arena was pretty hilarious because EVERYONE (Baumgartner included) thought Cotton had picked up the pin. For a brief moment, Buffalo had just picked up a forfeit at 133 and then a pin at 141, and was going to be up 14-3 on Mizzou. And then…the entire arena was punched in the gut and the dual was over (though obviously the pin result here mattered not to the entire dual result).
Anyway, on to the National Duals. In looking at American, I see one solid wrestler (#16 David Terao at 125) and another decent one at 157 (John Boyle). Terao is 30-3 on the season, with losses to #20 Tolbert of Utah Valley, Connor Youtsey of Michigan and an unattached wrestler. Best win would probably be over #19 Brandon Jeske of ODU (2-0). For Boyle, he has losses against #1 Ness of MN (8-1), #13 DeAngelis of OU (3-2) and #20 Staudenmeyer of Brown (9-0), but he does have wins against DeAngelis (3-1 SV1) and Elder of Oregon State (ranked #20 at the time, 7-4). Beyond that? Yeah.
But because it is Senior Day, I would expect to see the seniors (Waters, Drake, England, Eblen and Mellon) all take the mat. Beyond them? I am thinking we might see Wiest at 157. Would be nice to get Prazma out there, but to do that, you’d have to have England and Eblen move up (which they certainly could). Anyway, any thoughts from you on American?
I have minimal thoughts other than I'd love to see all the Seniors get out on the mat, get a win and get to walk off with what is hopefully the first of 4 more wins to finish the season.
To shift things just a bit, since we have a few weeks before the duals tournament really gets interesting. Has this been the best "regular season" in Mizzou wrestling history?
Regular season? Could be closer than you think.
2007 had wins over teams who were ranked 4, 4, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 14, and 24, along with wins at the Vegas Invitational and the Southern Scuffle. The two dual losses were against #2 and #3 (MN and Iowa State). The number of ranked teams was helped by our participation in the National Duals.
This year, our wins were over teams ranked 4, 7, 7, 19, and 22, along with a 2nd place finish at the Scuffle.
So honestly, I think it is almost too soon to tell about comparing them. Get back to me after the National Duals and I think I will have a better sense for which one ultimately was better.
Damn, that 2007 season was something to behold.
It was quite the gauntlet, that is for sure. I don’t recall exactly how deep the field was at the Scuffle…but it is the Scuffle…it is always pretty decent.
Look, being undefeated is tremendous. And I love the MAC for giving us a home in wrestling. But right now, only one other team in the MAC is ranked. That means we had seven pretty easy matches. We dominated them for sure, but it is what it is. This is not me saying I fear we are not prepared for the post season. This is just more means of comparison.
Looking nationally, there were a couple of duals over the weekend which had results of note. Want to tackle tOSU vs. MN first?
tOSU won but the dual was actually a bit closer than the 22-13 final score would lead you to believe. At 197 freshman and J'Den Cox foe Kyle Snyder upset Scott Schiller for the 3-1 after nailing a TD with less than 10 seconds to go in the dual. Schiller won the exact same way last weekend against Iowa. Also, Logan Stieber was able to hold on late 10-9 to beat Dardanes and keep his record perfect on the season. OSU could move up to #3 after this and be our semifinal matchup in the National Duals and would set up a rematch of our closest dual victory of the season.
What about the Iowa vs Penn State dual?
Iowa at Penn State was the most exciting thing I had seen all season. Penn State typically wrestles in their old Rec Hall, where they sell out 6,700 seats for each match. But once a year, they come to Bryce Jordan Center and get the big arena. Over 16,000 people showed up for this one. Penn State is wrestling this season with AA’s they have at 125 and 141, and if those two were in play, they likely would’ve won against Iowa. As it was, Iowa took the match 18-12, with it coming down to HWY. There were FIVE matches on the day between top-8 wrestlers, with Iowa getting wins at 125 and HWY and Penn State picking up 133, 174 and 197. If anyone is so inclined and able to access (I assume) BTN on-line, you would LOVE to see the finish to the match at 133, where #7 Gulibon of PSU got a late TD and NF-2 for a win over #3 Clark of Iowa, along with unranked Garrett Hammond of PSU getting a late TD against #7 Moore of Iowa. In both cases, I defy you to find a more electric scene in wrestling.
That’s about all I’ve got. National Duals preview to come next week after our wrap-up of the American dual. You got anything else before we close the book?
I think that's it. The last few weeks have really excited me about watching all the wrestling upcoming and not just Mizzou.