No. 7 Tigers Set for Wrestling Season Opener
COLUMBIA -- The Tigers open up the regular season this weekend in West Lafayette, Indiana, with a starting lineup that boasts nine NCAA qualifiers. This will be Missouri's first season as a member of the Mid-American Conference. The seventh-ranked Missouri Tigers begin their 2012-13 campaign against Old Dominion and Purdue on Saturday, November 10. Nine of Missouri's starters are currently ranked in the top-20 of their individual weight class to start the season.
Senior Dom Bradley returns this season after taking an Olympic redshirt last year. Bradley is not one of the returning NCAA qualifiers from last season, but the No. 2-ranked heavyweight is the most experienced grappler on the roster. Bradley holds a career record of 66-12 and finished the 2010-11 season with All-America honors and a third place finish at the 2011 NCAA Championships. After falling just short of qualifying for the2012 Olympic games, Bradley begins his quest for a national championship onSaturday against Old Dominion's Matt Tourdot (6-1) and Purdue's Alex White (2-2).
Junior Alan Waters opens this season ranked No. 5 at 125 pounds. Waters notched a 29-4 record last season en route to a Big 12 Championship and an NCAA tournament appearance. Waters holds a 68-11-career record and fell one match short of All-America honors last season as a sophomore. Waters will take on Purdue's No.17-ranked Camden Eppert (3-1) at 125-pounds on Saturday.
Overall, this weekend's meets boast five matchups where both opponents are ranked in the top-20 nationally. No.9-ranked Nathan McCormick matches up against Purdue's No. 8-ranked Cashé Quiroga at 133-pounds. Senior Brent Haynes, who opens up this season ranked No. 6 at 197, posted a 24-8 record last season. He squares off against Purdue's No. 17-ranked Braden Atwood. Last year's Big 12 Champion at 157-pounds, No. 13-ranked sophomore Drake Houdashelt looks to build off hisstrong Black and Gold Meet performance against Purdue's No. 16-ranked Ivan Lopouchanski (4-0). Houdashelt is dropping to the 149-pound category this season to make room for junior Kyle Bradley, last year's Big 12 runner-up at 149-pounds. Bradley opens the year ranked No. 20 at 157-pounds and will match up against Old Dominion's No. 17-ranked John Nicholson (3-0).
Old Dominion joinsMissouri as new members of the Mid-American Conference this season. The Monarchs finished last season ranked No. 24 NCWA Poll and third in the Colonial Athletic Conference. Purdue finished last season ninth at the Big Ten Championships and tied for 28th in team points at the NCAA Championships.
The Tigers will wrestle Old Dominion at 10 a.m. CT, followed by the Purdue matchup at 2 p.m. CT in West Lafayette. The Tigers then return home to the Hearnes Center for their home opener against the Baker Wildcats on Wednesday, November 14 at 6:30 p.m.