In a little more than two weeks, the Mizzou Tiger Style Wrestling Team will take to the mats to kick off their 2022-23 campaign, opening with a warm-up dual against newly-joined Division I school, Lindenwood University, out of St. Charles. A dual that is being labeled as “Dual on the Diamond” due to its unique location on the Missouri softball field.
Rolling into the new season, the Tigers will be returning two All-Americans and eight NCAA Championship qualifiers while looking to defend their Big 12 crown. For those who don’t know, Mizzou Wrestling has been competitive in the NCAA Championships for over a decade and counting. As I mentioned in a previous article, “Tiger Style Wrestling: What Will It Take?” we learned that Mizzou Wrestling will need to put together one of its most historic performances in a single season to win it all. So what is going to get these guys over the hump? And what do these guys think as they put on the black and gold, Mizzou scrawled across their chests?
When others think of the Mizzou Wrestling brand, they may mention Ben Askren, J’den Cox, Michael Chandler, or any number of current or past alumnus, But what if you actually ask those guys? You will likely get a simple response: “Tiger Style.”
Dating back to 1998 when Head Coach Brian Smith stepped on campus at the University of Missouri, he ingrained “Tiger Style” into the team. “Tiger Style” IS the wrestling program. It has become a national brand throughout the wrestling community. Being part of the Tiger Style family is something that you can carry with you wherever you go. Being able to go out into the community and make a difference or to be able to step into the classroom ready to take on whatever is thrown in your direction.
If you simply type “What is Tiger Style?” on Google, it says, “Tiger style is characterized by its extensive footwork, acrobatic kicks, low, wide stances, and unique fist position (where the thumb is curled in the same manner as the other fingers, rather than wrapped around them).”
While a small portion of that may relate to wrestling, it does not answer the question.
The term “Tiger Style”, as we know it at the University of Missouri, cannot be summed up in a few short words. Tiger Style is a way of life and a way of conducting yourself as a person in and out of the wrestling room. It is a way to believe in yourself and those around you to go the extra mile. When someone says you can walk or run, you run. When someone says to do five, you do six. The drive to do one better than the last and not be afraid of taking the chance. The ability to take defeat, learn from your mistakes, and respond to adversity when it is staring you.
So what will get them over the hump? Their embodiment of Tiger Style, which includes each wrestler, coach, and a commitment to themselves. They need to show up and show out.
This team is pushing itself to be the best it can be and it is going to drive them to the top. What is to come from this team could be one for the ages. A youthful and motivated squad will be looking to take that next step in bringing home more hardware than in years past. The talent level of this team is off the charts and has the potential to make noise for the next foreseeable future.
Mizzou Wrestling is on the brink of an exciting run and it all starts with buying in and believing in Tiger Style! So fill the seats and fuel them with support!