Tigers Book Trip to Finals After Two Wins Sunday
COLUMBIA - The sixth-ranked Mizzou Tiger wrestlers took home two duals on Sunday and booked a trip to the University of Minnesota next weekend to face off against many of the top programs in the nation. The Tigers knocked off No. 16 Purdue 27-15 in the second dual of the day after taking care of Maryland 27-13 in round one. Alan Waters, Drake Houdashelt, and top-ranked Dom Bradley all had big days for the Black and Gold in what happened to be the last time wrestling would be in the Hearnes Center this year.
The Tigers won the first six matches of the day and were well on their way to a 27-13 victory over the Maryland Terrapins. Waters, Houdashelt, and Kyle Bradley all addedmajor decisions for the Tigers against the Terps, and No. 5 Nathan McCormick got his third consecutive win against a ranked opponent in No. 12 Geoffry Alexander. The Terps took three straight bouts from 174 pounds to 197. No. 5 Josh Asper avoided an upset against Mizzou senior Todd Porter with a successful takedown late in the third period. Jimmy Sheptock won by major decision over Johnny Eblen and Christian Boley was able to pin Brent Haynes at 2:59. Haynes had Boley nearly on his back but left his back exposed and the 14th-ranked grappler from Maryland was able to cash in on a defensive fall as time expired in the first period.
On the adjacent mat, the Purdue Boilermakers and the Wyoming Cowboys came down to the heavyweights, where Alex White of Purdue tallied a takedown with two seconds remaining to win 4-1 after a point for riding timewith an added point for riding time to secure the victory for the Boilermakers 20-16. A sudden victory win by Wyoming's No. 4 Alfonso Hernandez over No. 18 Braden Atwood kept the Cowboys alive, but Purdue was able to seal their fifteenth win of the year.
Purdue and Mizzou met up for the final round of the regional with the winner set to advance to St. Paul, Minn., later this week. Waters set the tone once again with a major decision over No. 16 Camden Eppert, 15-3. Waters had already defeated Eppert this season back on November 10, also by major decision. A forfeit at 133 gave the Tigers a 10-0 lead, and then a technical fall by the sophomore Houdashelt at 5:26 put Mizzou in the driver's seat for the remainder of the dual. Houdashelt was able to tally six takedowns, two 3-point near falls, and one 2-point near fall in the match against Purdue's Frankie Porras.
The top-ranked Bradley finished off a victorious day for the Tigers with a couple of big takedowns against Purdue's Alex White in a 21-7 drubbing at heavyweight. Bradley, a perfect 30-0 on the season, finished off his home career as a Missouri Tiger with an undefeated record at home in his four years of attached wrestling. In fact, the last time Mizzou's big man lost in Columbia was in 2004 as a freshman in high school at Blue Springs. Bradley is now just four wins shy of the 100-win club as a Tiger grappler.
Maryland and No. 21 Wyoming met up across the Hearnes Center for their second dual of the day, with Maryland pulling off the upset 20-12. Maryland took the final four bouts of the dual after trailing 12-6 through the 165-pound weight class.
The Tigers are now slated to continue their quest as the 2013 NWCA National Duals Champions this coming weekend at the University of Minnesota. Mizzou will be back in action on Friday, Feb. 22 and will need to battle past top-ranked Oklahoma State, No. 4 Minnesota, and No. 5 Ohio State if they want to be crowned as champions in this year's event.