Posted: Dec 1, 2012 10:47 AM
LAS VEGAS -- After a full slate of wrestling matches on day one at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, the seventh-ranked Missouri Tigers are in second place among 32 programs. Mizzou rolls in with 80.5 team points, just 4.5 back from the No. 5-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. Despite trailing, the Tigers do hold an advantage in participantsstill alive in the invitational, with nine of 10 total weight classes still containing a Missouri grappler. Ohio State has eight remaining, as does Cornell, who comes in to Saturday as a distant third place occupier in this year's Invite.
Friday featured first round, second round, and quarterfinal matches for both the championship and consolation brackets. Of the nine remaining wrestlers, six are in the championship semifinal rounds. Ohio State will also feature six in the championship bracket when wrestling resumes at 11 a.m. C.T. on Saturday morning.
Junior Alan Waters (12-0) continues to live up to his role as the leadoff man for the Tigers this season. Waters, ranked atop his bracket and No. 4 nationally, went a perfect 3-0 on Friday to advance to the semifinals, with each win coming with bonus points to increase Missouri's team score. In the quarterfinal bout, Waters blanked David Terao of American, 11-0. A takedown at 1:15 in the first period gave Waters a lead he would never surrender. He was able to add three points as time expired in the first frame with a near fall after putting Terao in a tilt.
Waters faced off against Taylor Hall of California Baptist in the first match of the invitational and made quickwork of him with a pin at 2:59. A 12-3 major decision over William Watterson of Brown solidified a spot in the quarterfinals for the junior grappler.
The No. 6-ranked Nathan McCormick (12-0) also finds himself in the semifinal round Saturday. McCormick holds the two-seed at 133-pounds and advances after a technical fall victory over West Virginia's Colin Johnston in the quarterfinals. Johnston, tabbed 20th by Intermat at 133-pounds, didn't seem to stand much of a chance against Missouri's senior captain. McCormick used two takedowns and a near-fall in the first period to jump out to a 7-2 advantage, and after adding another takedown and near-fall in the second frame, McCormick finished off his counterpart for the technical fall at 5:50. He defeated Drew Van Anrooy of Oregon State in the round of 16 by decision, 12-5.
Missouri will also feature semifinalists at the 165, 184, 197, and heavyweight classes. At 165 pounds, No. 15 Zach Toal (10-2) held tough in his match versus Taylor Massa of Michigan to advance. Massa is ranked 10th in the nation and was seeded fifth in that bracket. Toal was down early after a Massa takedown but battled back with a couple two-pointers of his own and eventually a 9-7 decision. The junior finished the day with two decisions and a fall at 4:59 in the first round against Austin Rugraff of Brown.
Eighth-ranked Mike Larson (13-1) only needed two wins to get to the final four at 184-pounds. After a bye, Larsondefeated Mark Fiala of Nebraska-Kearney in a close match that was decided by riding time, 2-1. The senior would then face off with Ty Vinson of Oregon State. Vinson, ranked 18th by Intermat, took a 2-0 lead in the first minute of the match, but that would be all he would get. Larson held a one-point lead after the second, and with 16 ticks remaining, he solidified the decision and a trip to the semifinals with a takedown.
Brent Haynes (13-0) improved his 2012 winning streak to 13 with a perfect 3-0 day. The senior 197-pounder won by a technical fall in his first round matchup versus Thomas Martin of San Francisco State, and then added a major with a 17-6 victory over Nebraska-Kearney's Matt Lenagh. No. 5 Haynes will make a semifinal appearance Saturday after defeating the No. 19 Maxwell Huntley of Michigan. Following a combined 34 points in his first two rounds, the quarterfinal didn't provide as many fireworks. Haynes won by decision 4-1 after a takedown at 1:32 in the final frame.
Senior heavyweight Dom Bradley also improves to a perfect 13-0 in 2012-13. Bradley advances to the semifinal round after winning by injury forfeit against Cal Poly's Atticus Disney. The quarterfinal was a highly competitive bout between the two upperweights. Tied at one-a-piece after three periods, Disney and Bradley went to sudden deathwhere even then the match wasn't decided. With about five seconds left in the first sudden victory period, Disney needed to take an injury timeout to attend to his left leg. He hobbled up and wrestling continued, but Disney once again went down with more leg trouble in the first tie breaker period, and this time for good.
Bradley added two major decisions to advance to the quarters over Adam Fager (Utah Valley) and J.T. Felix (BoiseState), 11-1 and 10-2 respectively.
Drake Houdashelt (149), Kyle Bradley (157), and Todd Porter (174) will all compete for Mizzou in the single-elimination consolation round. Houdashelt and Porter both lost in the quarterfinals and will need to win three matches to claim third place in their weight classes. Bradley (11-4) dropped his first round match, but two pins and a major has put him three wins away from third place at 157 as well.
Houdashelt (10-3) dropped a tough match to the fifth-ranked Jason Chamberlain of Boise State. The sophomore was down 4-1 in the second, but an escape and takedown tied the match up and sent it to overtime. Houdashelt had positioning against Chamberlain in the one-minute sudden victory frame, but the Boise State grappler found his way out of Houdashelt's grip and with 26 seconds left, Chamberlain completed the winning takedown.
The 174-pound Porter (11-2) also dropped a tough quarterfinal bout. In a battle of the 4th and 5th seeds, Porter simply couldn't get anything going against Navy's Mathew Miller. Miller, ranked 15th nationally, took the match by decision, 6-0.
Missouri's 141-pound senior Nicholas Hucke (5-4) is the only Tiger not alive in this year's invitational anymore. Hucke dropped his first two matches to Ridge Kelly (Nebraska) and Jarrett Morrill (North Idaho), 4-2 and 5-3 respectively. The Tigers finished day one at 23-5 with eight major decisions, two technical falls, four pins, and one win-by-forfeit.
Day two is sure to bring present some exciting matches and high-powered wrestling in the championship bracket. At125, Waters will face off against No. 11 Nikko Triggas of Ohio State in a semifinal match that could have huge implications on the final team score. McCormick will battle with No. 17 George DiCamillo of Virginia at 133, and should he advance, he will see the winner of No. 1 Logan Stieber (Ohio State) and Devon Lotito. Junior Zach Toal may have the hardest semifinal match when he faces off against No. 1 Kyle Dake of Cornell. Dake has recorded two falls and a major so far in Las Vegas as he looks to continue his dominance at the 165-pound level. At 184, No. 8 Mike Larson will try and add to his 13-1 record when he meets No. 7 Ryan Loder (Northern Iowa). The No. 5-ranked Haynes will meet the No. 4-ranked 197-pound Alfonso Hernandez of Wyoming for the chance to face Kent State's Dustin Kilgore in the final. Kilgore is ranked No. 1 by Intermat. Finally, 2011 All-American Dom Bradley looks to improve his undefeated record against fifteenth-ranked Connor Medbery of Wisconsin.