No. 7 Mizzou Wrestling Makes History on Opening Weekend
WEST LAFAYETTE, IN -- After finishing off the 2011-12 campaign with the University's first Big 12Championship, the Tigers (2-0) have once again made history. In the team's first competition since last year's NCAA Championships, the Mizzou Wrestling squad opened up the year by not only shutting out the Old Dominion Monarchs, but by defeating them 35 to negative-1. In Mizzou Wrestling's 89-year history, they have never won a match where the opponent was in negative numbers. They followed that season opening performance with a 23-9 victory over host school Purdue.
The Tigers took on their new MAC rival Old Dominion early Saturday morning. Junior Alan Waters set the tone in the 125 pound class, winning by major decision over Rob Deutsch, 10-2. Possibly thebiggest matchup came at 141 pounds, when No. 14-ranked Nicholas Hucke rematched against No. 11 Justin LaValle, who had defeated Hucke in last year's NCAAs. Hucke had a huge third period against LaValle, handing him a reversal and a3-point near fall along with an escape to take the match, 8-4.
Sophomore Drake Houdashelt added another four team points at 149 pounds, winning his match in decisive fashion after finishing with 5:22 of riding time. Next up was Junior Kyle Bradley, who took a 3-1 lead into the 3rd period and held on over Old Dominion's No. 11 John Nicholson. Nicholson rejected Bradley's handshake following the 4-1 decision, which led to a misconduct penalty. By rule, a misconduct penalty in wrestling is also a forfeit of one team point. Tyler Prazma, Mike Larson, Todd Porter, Brent Haynes, and Dom Bradley each added 3 points of their own as well, and Mizzou was well on their way to a quick 1-0 start with a 35 to negative-1 win. This is the third time since January 29, 2012 that the Tigers have won all 10 matchups in a dual meet.
The Tigers didn't slow down for their afternoon meeting with Purdue. Again, Waters set the tone yet again, with an 11-2 major decision over No. 21 Camden Eppert. Waters solidified the major decision after a great takedown with four seconds remaining. Senior CaptainNathan McCormick followed up at 133 pounds with a 10-5 decision over true freshman Danny Sabatello, and at 141, Hucke came out on top once again. In another highly contested battle, Mizzou's 141-pound grappler took down his counterpart Brandon Nelson with one second left in the first, which proved to be a huge two points in a match that ended up as an 8-5 decision.
After three bouts, the Tigers had a comfortable 10-0 lead on the hosting Boilermakers from Purdue. But two overtime losses and a 7-3 win by decision for Pat Robinson against Mizzou's Prazma, and Purdue was within a point of the Tigers, 10-9.
Senior Todd Porter responded to Mizzou's three-match losing streak with a dominating 11-5 win, and the Tigers never looked back. After Mike Larson followed at 184 pounds with a 3-1 decision, Haynes outperformed Purdue's 197-pounder Braden Atwood to put the dual away. Atwood is ranked 16th in the nation among the 197-pounders, and the No. 6-Haynes accumulated two takedowns, a reversal, an escape, and an extra tally for riding time to go on and win 8-2.
Senior heavyweight Dom Bradley added his second win of the day over Purdue's Alex White, this time by major decision, 11-3. Bradley, who hadn't wrestled for Mizzou since 2010-11 due to an Olympic redshirt last year, controlled every minute of this grapple, with White's three points coming off of three escapes only.
The Tigers will follow up their 23-9 victory over Purdue with the team's home opener this Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. versus Baker University.