COLUMBIA - After the first session of the 2012 Big 12 Championships, the Missouri wrestling team stands in first place with 61.0 points.
The Tigers advanced eight of their 10 grapplers to Saturday night's championship round, which begins at 6:30 p.m. CT in the Hearnes Center.
Top-seeded Alan Waters opened the morning with a 2-0 win over Oklahoma State's Jon Morrison to move into the finals. At 133 pounds, Nathan McCormick toppled the third-seeded Jordan Keller of Oklahoma for the third time this season, 4-2, to punch his ticket. Waters will face Oklahoma's Jarrod Patterson tonight, while McCormick will face OSU's Jordan Oliver, the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the nation.
Junior Nicholas Hucke dropped his first match of the day to top-seeded Kendric Maple of OU, losing 4-0. However, he bounced back with a 9-0 major decision over Iowa State's Luke Goettl to finish in third and earn an automatic spot to the NCAA Championships. Mizzou would then win their next six semifinal matches, sending each wrestler to tonight's final round.
No. 2 seed Drake Houdashelt defeated OSU's Albert White for the third time this year, winning 2-1 in tiebreaker. Third-seeded Zach Toal pulled the first upset of the day, knocking off No. 2 Bubby Graham of OU, 3-2. Senior Dorian Henderson also scored an upset, edging out Chris Spangler, the No. 2 seed at 174, by a 2-1 score in tiebreakers. At 184 pounds, junior Mike Larson scored a takedown with less than 10 seconds left on Chris McNeil of Oklahoma State to pull out a 7-6 win and knock off the upset-minded Cowboy. Brent Haynes moved to the 197 pound finals with a 6-2 win over Keldrick Hall.
At heavyweight, Devin Mellon took second seeded Austin Marsden to sudden victory but lost 3-1 after getting taken down. Mellon was injured in the third place match and was forced to default. He will wait and see if he can capture an at-large bid to NCAA's next week.
1. Missouri - 61.0 pts.
2. Oklahoma - 56.6 pts.
3. Oklahoma State - 56.0 pts.
4. Iowa State - 21.0 pts.