No. 5 Matt Pell faces two of his toughest tests this weekend.
Feb. 10, 2006
Columbia, Mo. - The Missouri wrestling team travels to the state of Iowa this weekend for a pair of duals against ranked teams. The No. 10 Tigers will compete against No. 7 Iowa State Sunday, Feb. 12, in Ames, Iowa, then finish up their road swing in Cedar Falls, Iowa, against No. 25 Northern Iowa Monday, Feb. 13.
Finishing off the Big 12 regular season schedule, Missouri travels to Ames with a chance to secure third place in the conference, having upset then-No. 10 Oklahoma at home one week ago, 17-16. It will be the second meeting between the two squads this season. Competing at the NWCA National Duals Jan. 14, Head Coach Brian Smith's Tigers earned a hard-fought 21-18 win over the Cyclones in the consolation bracket. The win marked the second time in the past four years that Missouri has emerged from a battle with Bobby Douglas's troops victorious, having last beaten Iowa State in 2002-03, 24-11.
Wrestling in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the day after their dual against Iowa State, the Tigers face another tough team in No. 25 Northern Iowa. The last time Smith led his team against the Panthers occurred during the 2002-03 season at the NWCA National Duals, a match the Tigers lost 21-15. The Panthers send another strong lineup into this year's bout, having compiled a 5-7-2 dual record, with all seven losses coming to ranked opponents.
Three members of the Tigers starting lineup will face ranked opponents in both duals this weekend, led by junior Matt Pell (Luxemburg, Wis.), the No. 5-ranked competitor at 165 pounds. Pell will square off against two top-10 opponents in No. 9 Travis Paulson of Iowa State and No. 6 Nick Baima of Northern Iowa, neither of whom Pell has faced on the season.
One week after losing a hard-fought match to No. 2 defending national Teyon Ware of Oklahoma 9-5, senior Chris McCormick (Leawood, Kan.) will take on No. 1 Nate Gallick of Iowa State, who carries a 26-0 mark on the season. McCormick has compiled a 26-8 record thus far, earning wins over No. 7 David Hoffman of Virginia Tech Dec. 30 at the Southern Scuffle and No. 11 Ron Tarquinio of Pittsburgh Dec. 19. Traveling to Northern Iowa on Monday, McCormick faces No. 20 C.J. Ettelson, the fourth-straight ranked opponent he's wrestled in dual competition.
Redshirt freshman Michael Chandler (High Ridge, Mo.), who has picked up big wins for the Tigers in each of the last two duals, is the third Missouri grappler to face ranked opponents in both of the team's duals this weekend. Facing a familiar opponent against Iowa State, Chandler will take on No. 2 Trent Paulson, to whom Chandler dropped a hard-fought 5-2 decision at the National Duals Jan. 14. Grappling another tough opponent against Northern Iowa, Chandler will take on No. 19 Chris Bitetto.
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