Missouri Head Coach Brian Smith
March 5, 2009
Five of the nation's top-ranked wrestling programs are set to converge on the campus of the University of Nebraska for the 13th annual Big 12 Championships, Saturday, March 7, beginning at 11 a.m. (CT). The all-day event will be broadcast live on Big12sports.com, while Fox Sports Network (FSN) will air the finals live beginning at 7 p.m. (CT). The entire day of action will be held in the NU Coliseum with reserved all-session passes available for $20 and general admission all-session tickets selling for $15. Single session tickets start at $8 for general admission and $12 for reserved seats. Fans unable to attend the event can tune in and listen to a live radio broadcast beginning at 9 a.m. (CT) courtesy of Takedown Radio available at mutigers.com
This marks the third time in program history that the Cornhuskers have hosted the Big 12 Championships. Nebraska held the event in 2000 and 2005.
Three of the five Big 12 schools carry a top five ranking into the annual event with Iowa State, Nebraska and Missouri standing at third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Oklahoma State, who owns eight Big 12 titles, ranks 12th, while Oklahoma, with two team titles, is No. 13. The Iowa State Cyclones, led by Head Coach Cael Sanderson, have captured the last two Big 12 titles, 2007 and 2008.
Seven of Missouri's 10 starters sit ranked among the top 20 of their respective weight class with three ranked among the top five. Junior heavyweight Mark Ellis holds the highest ranking of his teammates at second. The 2009 Big 12 Championship heavyweight bracket features the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 ranked wrestlers in the nation. David Zabriskie of Iowa State ranks No. 1 while Jared Rosholt of Oklahoma State is third. This season, Ellis is 1-1 against Rosholt and 0-1 against Zabriskie.
Official seeds for the annual event will be released the evening of Friday, March 6. Four Missouri wrestlers, 141-pounder Marcus Hoehn, 165-pounder Nicholas Marable and 174-pounder Raymond Jordan, all finished the year with a spotless 4-0 record in Big 12 duals and are likely to earn the No. 1 seed in their respective weight class.
Three Missouri wrestlers enter the Coliseum in hopes of securing an additional Big 12 title. Junior Maxwell Askren is a two-time champion at 197 pounds (2007 and 2008) and could tie older brother Ben Askren for most league titles in program history. Marable claimed the 165 pound title last season, while Jordan was crowned champion at 184 pounds his sophomore season (2007) and could potentially become Missouri's first Big 12 Champion to earn the honor in two different weight classes.
As a team, Missouri's highest finish at the league championships came in 2003 and 2007 when the Tigers took second. A 2009 win by Missouri would mark the University's first outright Big 12 victory by a male team (football has claimed two Big 12 North titles).
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