5. A chance for the Kansas City wrestlers to compete at home.
Missouri’s Thursday night is taking place at an unusual locale. Far from the cozy confines of the Hearnes Center, The Tigers are instead taking a home dual at Park Hill High School in Kansas City. #14 Park Hill, MO is typically a nationally ranked wrestling powerhouse and they have a huge dual with #38 Liberty, MO taking place at 5 pm Central time before the Mizzou dual at 7 pm. John Erneste the ninth ranked 133 lb wrestler in the country will wrestle in front of his home fans for the Tigers. Canten Marriott who may earn the start at 184 is also a Park Hill graduate. In addition it will be a homecoming of sorts for 174 lb starter Daniel Lewis (Blue Springs) and 285 lb starter Zach Elam (Staley), as they will also likely get to wrestle in front of extended family and friends.
4. Potential ranked clashes at 125 and 141
No. 14 Colby Smith and No. 3 Jaydin Eierman for the Tigers have a chance to meet No. 15 Louie Hayes and No. 14 Sammy Krivus at their respective weight classes. Smith handed Hayes a 10-4 loss earlier this season at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Tournament, which at the time was a big upset. It vaulted Smith into the rankings and dropped Hayes quite a ways. Smith really controlled the match aside from one big move from Hayes. Will be interesting to see if Smith goes given that he has not competed since his win over Hayes and he has a huge weight cut to 125. Eierman is a big favorite over the stingy Krivus. The bout does provide and interesting stylistic match however as Eierman is an offensive juggernaut, who delights in scoring creatively and often and Krivus wins a lot of low scoring one point matches.
3. A big match for Wisman/ Marriott at 184
The bout at 184 is a big one for the Tigers. No. 15 Will Schany is a tough out for the UVA Cavaliers and the Tigers have two very capable wrestlers who each are likely to really want this bout. Wisman’s home state is Virginia, so for him it is a chance to beat his home state school, while for Marriott, as aforementioned it represents a chance to wrestle in front of the hometown fans. Wisman defeated Marriott 5-3 at the UNI Open to put an early claim to the spot. Wisman has been hot lately and has won seven bouts in a row. This match presents either Tiger wrestler a huge claim to the spot if they can win it.
2. Can Koelling throw Aiello?
Wyatt Koelling has been a solid starter this season for the Missouri Tigers at 197 lb. He carries a 9-5 record and is a bubble guy for most national rankings. One thing Koelling is known for is big throws. He has two wins this season that have come off of big throws that resulted in pins. In this bout Koelling will be tested by #8 Jay Aiello. Aiello is a very smooth, and fluid wrestler for this weight class, but he likes to go upperbody occasionally. Going into greco ties with the former Greco World teamer Koelling is a bad idea. It will be interesting to see if Aiello works from space here and respects Koelling’s abilities, or if he decides to wrestle where he is more comfortable and gets tossed. I will take Aiello to win the bout as far as predictions go, but It should be a fun match either way as Koelling has performed well lately.
1. How fresh will the Tigers be? They have four big duals to peak for on the 29th and 30th.
The collegiate wrestling season is a long slog that lasts about five months out of the year. Maintaining a weight class that long, and wrestling through sickness and illness oftentimes comes with the territory and that is obvious without my blanket statement. What casual fans think about less often is how well does a team peak for certain events? Or during what events are the athletes overtrained and fatigued in preparation for a potentially larger upcoming event? This happens a lot in sports, and do not get me wrong coaches and athletes come out to win every time. They never intend to lose or give anything less than their best, nor do they often overlook opponents. What does happen without exception is that wrestlers are not at their best for certain events, because the goal is to peak in March and prior to March to earn a good seed to set yourself up for March. Missouri has a big dual event called the South Beach Duals coming up on December 29th and 30th. The Tigers will take on perennially strong Lehigh, Conference foe Kent State, Purdue and #17 Cornell over a two day stretch. Those duals will feature a lot of ranked opponents and wins in those situations are important factors in seeding later in the season. We might see a better version of Missouri at that event than we do against Virginia.
In closing this should be a fairly competitive dual between two very well coached teams. The team rankings for the high school teams were utilized courtesy of Intermat and all other rankings featured in the article are from Flowrestling. This dual will be streamed on Flowrestling for a fee. Thanks for reading and have a Happy Holiday!