Mizzou Wrestling Storms the Stage
The University of Missouri wrestling team had a very specific goal this season, to storm the stage.
"Its you know a great thing for the program. It's also a great thing for the state of Missouri, and for the University of Missouri. It's the first hardware that's been brought home in all the sports programs since 1965 and that's important," said Missouri head coach Brian Smith.
Mizzou's Matt Pell, Tyler McCormick, and Ben Askren achieved All-American honors.
Pell had an outstanding tournament finishing third overall, with his best match against Eric Tannenbaum of Michigan. Pell threw Tannenbaum to the mat at a minute nine seconds for his fourth pin of the championships. That pin earned him the Gorrarian award, given to the wrestler with the most pins in the least amount of time.
"I think I had it all in me all year long and I just had to dig down deep and bring it out and I did when it mattered," said Missouri senior wrestler Matt Pell.
Tyler McCormick topped Jake Strayer of Penn State in a 4-1 decision to earn the team captain All-American honors for the second straight season.
"You go out there and he's got the goals of being an All American, and you've got the goals of being an All American. It's just who can out last the other guy and you just go to war," said Missouri junior wrestler Tyler McCormick.
Defending National Champion Ben Askren faced number two Pittsburgh's Keith Gavin. And while Mizzou was out of the running for the team National Championship, they were in a close race for third with Oklahoma State. In an 8-2 decision, Askren beat Gavin for the third time this season to earn his second National Championship. And while the victory crowned Askren as the only tiger to win back-to-back National Championship titles in wrestling, he was far from excited about his performance.
"I didn't wrestle my match, I didn't wrestle my best, I didn't go as hard as I could, you know, I'm ashamed of that," said senior wrestler Ben Askren.
Askren plans to compete at the U.S.Nationals in just a few weeks, and will compete for a World Championship title in less than a year.
The tigers celebrated the best finish in their program's history by reaching their goal and storming the stage at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Ben Askren completed his tiger career with a string of 87 consecutive victories.