Wrestling Set to Host Big 12 Championships

Alan Waters is expected to be the No. 1 seed at 125 pounds

Alan Waters is expected to be the No. 1 seed at 125 pounds

March 1, 2012

Big 12 Wrestling Championships

For the first time since 2007, the University of Missouri will play host to the Big 12 Championships, held on Saturday, March 3 at the Hearnes Center in Columbia. 40 of the league’s grapplers will be fighting for 31 allotted automatic qualifier spots for the 2012 NCAA Championships, held in St. Louis on  March 15-17.

In their last year in the league, the Tigers are looking to capture their first team championship. Mizzou has finished second on three separate occasions, first in 2003, again in 2007 and most recently last year. Oklahoma State won their 11th Big 12 title last season, while Iowa State has three championships. The Oklahoma Sooners have also won a pair.

First round matches will begin at 11 a.m. CT on two mats, with the third/fourth place matches beginning at approximately 1 p.m. The evening championship session will start at 6:30 p.m. and be televised live on Fox Sports Net. Tickets are still available for both sessions, starting as low as $10 for a full day pass.

Fans unable to attend can follow along with the live blog at mutigers.com and check the team’s Twitter page (@MizzouWrestling) for updates. Big12Sports.com will provide a free live stream of the first round and third/fourth place matches. To see if the championship round will be televised live in your area, check mutigers.com.

Most of the wrestlers in Missouri’s lineup are no strangers to this event. Dorian Henderson is making his fourth appearance, while Nathan McCormick and Brent Haynes have each wrestled at the Big 12’s three times. Alan Waters, Kyle Bradley, Zach Toal and Mike Larson each made their first appearance last year. Drake Houdashelt and Devin Mellon will wrestle in their first Big 12’s, as will Brandon Wiest if he starts at 141. If Nicholas Hucke gets the nod, it’ll be his second appearance at the conference championship.

• Live Results - Live play-by-play and results will be provided via TrackWrestling. Links will be available at mutigers.com.
• Live Video - A live video stream for the morning session (both mats) will be provided at Big12Sports.com.
• Television - The evening session, consisting of all 10 finals matches, will be shown live on FSN. To see if the championship round will be shown in your area, check mutigers.com.
• Social Media - MUTigers.com will live blog the event, as well as provide updates via the official Twitter account, @MizzouWrestling.

Fans interested in attending the 2012 Big 12 Wrestling Championships at the Hearnes Center in Columbia, Mo., on Saturday, March 3, can get their tickets for as low as $10. Those interested in purchasing tickets can do so through mutigers.com or by calling the ticket office at 1-800-CAT-PAWS.

There are two sessions for the Big 12 Wrestling Championship. An all-session ticket consists of a separate ticket for each session. Single Session tickets will be made available on the day of the championship if available. All-Session reserved tickets in the lower level can be purchased for $15, while upper level GA seats are on sale for $10. If fans just want to purchase single-session tickets, they can get reserved lower level seats for $10 and GA seats for $8.

Doors will open at 10 a.m. on March 3, with the semi-finals matches beginning at 11 a.m. The consolation round will take place at 1 p.m., with the championship finals starting at 6:30 p.m.

Parking at the Hearnes Center will be free for all fans on either side of the facility. General public parking is available on the West side of the building (Lot J), with more parking available on the East side (Lot M).

Sophomore Alan Waters (125) and junior Mike Larson (184) are expected to be No. 1 seeds at their respective weight classes. Nathan McCormick (133), Kyle Bradley (149), Drake Houdashelt (157) are the potential No. 2 seeds in their class. Depending on who wrestles for Oklahoma State at 197 pounds, junior Brent Haynes will end up as the top seed or the No. 2 seed. Dorian  Henderson (174) and Devin Mellon (HWT) are anticipated to be the third seed, while Brandon Wiest or Nicholas Hucke (141) and Zach Toal (165) will be the fourth seeded wrestlers. The official brackets come out Friday evening.

The NCAA has announced the qualifier allocations for the 2012 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. Each qualifying tournament was awarded spots per weight class based on current year data. Each wrestler was measured on the following: Division I winning percentage; rating percentage index (RPI); and coaches ranking.

For each wrestler that reached the threshold in at least two of the three categories, his qualifying tournament was awarded a qualifying spot in that weight class. Each qualifying tournament, with automatic qualifying status, was awarded a minimum of one wrestler per weight class, which will go to the tournament champion, even if they did not have any wrestlers reach at least two of the three thresholds. NCAA tournament spots for each qualifying event will be awarded at the tournament based solely on place-finish.

After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 40 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 7. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers. The at-large selections will be made based on the following criteria: head-to-head competition; qualifying event placement; quality wins; results against common opponents; winning percentage; RPI; coaches ranking and the number of matches contested at that weight class.

31 of the league’s 40 wrestlers will earn automatic spots at the 2012 NCAA Championships in two weeks. The Big 12’s allotment is below. All conference wrestlers from 125 pounds and 165 pounds have automatically qualified, barring any unforeseen changes to the Big 12 bracket on Saturday.

125: 4    165: 4
133: 3    174: 3
141: 3    184: 3
148: 3    197: 3
157: 3    HWT: 2

With each team facing each other twice this year in dual meets, these wrestlers are no stranger to each other. Here’s a breakdown of how Mizzou’s grapplers have fared against the rest of this weekend’s competitors.

•125 - Alan Waters: Waters is a perfect 4-0 against Big 12 opponents this year. He sat out the first match against Oklahoma and the final contest against Oklahoma State due to injury. Against Iowa State’s Ryak Finch, Waters has a 13-4 major decision and a 4-0 win. He defeated OU’s Jarrod Patterson by a 7-0 score in Columbia and OSU’s Jon Morrison, 4-0, also at home.
•133 - Nathan McCormick: McCormick has a 3-1 record this year in the Big 12. He’s 2-0 against OU’s Jordan Keller, winnin 2-1 on the road and 5-3 at home. His lone loss came in his one match against OSU’s Jordan Oliver, getting pinned in the first round.
•141 - Brandon Wiest/Nicholas Hucke: Wiest is 0-3 against Big 12 opponents, losing 15-3 to Kendric Maple (Oklahoma), 6-5 to Luke Goettl (Iowa State) and was pinned in 2:30 to Josh Kindig (Oklahoma State). Hucke also lost to Maple, getting pinned late.• 149 - Kyle Bradley: Bradley split his six Big 12 dual matches this year. He went 1-1 against OU’s Nick Lester, losing 1-0 in Norman before pulling out a 2-0 win in sudden victory in Columbia. He won both his contests against Iowa State wrestlers which included a fall over Joe Cozart, who is expected to start Saturday, with one second left in the match. Bradley lost both matches to OSU’s Jamal Parks, 12-3 and 10-3.
• 157 - Drake Houdashelt: Houdashelt went 4-2 in conference duals this year. He was swept by OU’s Matt Lester, losing 5-2 and 6-1. He scored a pair of majors over Iowa State’s Michael Moreno, winning 13-3 at home and 11-1 in Ames. He also swept Albert White of Oklahoma State, scoring victories of 3-1 and 2-1.
• 165 - Zach Toal: Toal won two of his five Big 12 matches this season. He split with Bubby Graham of Oklahoma, winning 8-3 at home and falling 4-3 in Norman. He also split with Dallas Bailey of Oklahoma State, pulling out a 5-4 win at home before losing, 4-1, in the final dual of the year. Toal was majored by Andrew Sorenson in Columbia in December.
• 174 - Dorian Henderson: Henderson was also 2-3 in Big 12 duals this year. He won both matches against Oklahoma, winning 8-5 over Chase Nelson and majored Kyle Detmer, who could wrestle Saturday, by an 11-0 score. He fell once to Chris Spangler (Iowa State), 7-4, and twice to Chris Perry (Oklahoma State), 7-2 and 6-3.
• 184 - Mike Larson: Larson went 4-2 in Big 12 duals this year and pinned three of the grapplers he faced, two of which are expected to wrestle at 184 on Saturday. After falling to Erich Schmidtke by a 6-4 final on the road early in the year, he bounced back with a third period pin of Schmidtke at home last month. He defeated Boaz Beard, 5-2 in tiebreakers, in the road dual against Iowa State. After suffering a 4-2 loss in sudden victory to Chris McNeil of Oklahoma State at home, Larson came back and pinned McNeil in 4:32 at OSU.
• 197 - Brent Haynes: Haynes finished the year with a 5-1 record at 197 pounds in the Big 12. He did not face Iowa State’s Jerome Ward, who just returned from injury in the last few weeks. He faced OU’s Keldric Hall once, earning a 6-3 win, and defeated OSU’s Blake Rosholt, 10-4 at home. His only loss came to OSU’s Cayle Byers, 7-1, last weekend. Either Byers or Rosholt will wrestle on Saturday.
• HWT - Devin Mellon: Mellon went 3-3 this year in the Big 12. He defeated former OU starter, 6-4, back in November, and current OU starter, Kyle Colling, 3-2 earlier this month. He split with expected-No. 1 seed Matt Gibson, winning 3-2 and losing 5-0. He fell twice to Oklahoma State wrestlers, losing to Alan Gelogaev, who is now out for the year, by a 10-5 score, and new starter Austin Marsden, 3-2.

Missouri’s qualifying grapplers will make the quick trip down I-70 to St. Louis, Mo., for the 2012 NCAA Championships, held at the Scottrade Center on March 15-17. For more information, visit ncaa.com.

If you’re on Facebook or Twitter, make sure to follow the official University of Missouri Wrestling team to get exclusive updates, pictures, video content and live results throughout the entire season. Head to facebook.com/MizzouWrestling or twitter.com/MizzouWrestling and follow us today.

The NCAA Wrestling Championships will return to the Midwest in 2012, as the event heads back to St. Louis, Mo., after a two year hiatus.  The three day tournament will run from March 15-17 and be held at the Scottrade Center. A limited number of tickets remain for the NCAA Championships and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com.

Missouri captured second place for the third time in program history last year at the Big 12 Championships, held at the Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. The Tigers finished with 60.0 points, slightly ahead of Oklahoma’s 59.5 points and behind champion Oklahoma State, who scored 77.0 points. Missouri crowned two champions on the evening - Todd Schavrien at 141 pounds and Dom Bradley at heavyweight. Kyle Bradley and Nick Gregoris placed second at 149 pounds and 157 pounds, respectively.

The University of Missouri has hosted the Big 12 Wrestling Championships on three separate occasions prior to this year - the inaugural championship in 1997, in 2003 and again in 2007. Here is how they fared in front of the hometown crowd at the three previous Big 12’s in the Hearnes Center:
• 1997: Finished in fifth place with 20.0 points ... Mike Harp placed second at 142 pounds and Justin Thaw was runner-up at 167, the highest finishes of all Mizzou wrestlers ... Thomas Patterson placed fourth at heavyweight, the only other Tiger to finish in the top-four.
• 2003: Missouri placed second for the first time ever with 55.5 points ... Tyron Woodley and Scott Barker captured individual titles at 165 and 184 pounds, respectively, after entering the tournament as No. 2 seeds ... J.P. Reese (141), Jeremy Spates (149) and Dante Stone (197) finished in third ... No. 5 seed Joe Sioredas (174) wrestled above his ranking and took fourth place.
• 2007: The second runner-up finish for Missouri came four years later, placing just five points (61.5) behind champion Iowa State (66.5) ... Ben Askren (174), Raymond Jordan (184) and Max Askren (197) took first in their weight classes ... Tyler McCormick (133) finished in second, while Michael Chandler (157) and Mark Ellis (HWT) each placed third.

The Missouri wrestling team is still looking for their first Big 12 wrestling team championship. Their highest team finish ever was second place, a feat they’ve accomplished three times. The Tigers took second in 2003 and 2007 - both in Columbia, Mo. - and last year in Ames, Iowa.

Missouri has had 16 Big 12 Champions in the program’s history, all coming since 2003. The Tigers have had at least one champion in each of the last six years. The most champions they’ve ever had in a year is three, accomplished in both 2004 and 2007. Mizzou has had three repeat winners: Ben Askren (04, 06, 07), Max Askren (07, 08) and Nicholas Marable (08, 09, 10). Last season, senior Todd Schavrien placed first at 141 and junior Dom Bradley captured the heavyweight crown. Both would go on to be All-Americans at NCAA’s.

The Big 12 Conference has named 20 student-athletes to the 2012 Academic All-Big 12 Wrestling Team, as announced by the league office on Wednesday afternoon. Missouri tied for the second-most selections with five – one first team and four second team.

Junior Nathan McCormick was named to the first team for the third consecutive year. The Leawood, Kan., native is majoring in business. Second team selections include senior Dorian Henderson, redshirt freshman Drake Houdashelt, junior Nicholas Hucke and sophomore Alan Waters. It is the second career honor for Henderson and the first time Houdashelt, Hucke and Waters have been recognized.



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