No. 4 Tigers Eye First-Ever MAC Championship in Buffalo

MUTIGERS.COM
The Tigers left the Big 12 Conference on top last season as conference champions.

MUTIGERS.COM
The Tigers left the Big 12 Conference on top last season as conference champions.
MUTIGERS.COM

March 8, 2013

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The No. 4-ranked Tigers will make history this weekend in Buffalo, NY as they compete in their first-ever Mid-American Conference Wrestling tournament.

Missouri (16-3) battled admirably at the National Duals at the University of Minnesota two weekends ago, earning third place in the tournament. The Tigers kicked off with a dominating 28-6 team victory over No. 6 Ohio State in the opening round. No. 1-ranked junior Alan Waters set the tone with a 3:08 pin over Ohio State's twelfth-ranked Nikko Triggas at 125 pounds. Seniors Todd Porter and Brent Haynes followed his lead with upsets of No. 6 Nick Heflin (Dec. 4-3) and No. 12 Andrew Campolattano (Dec. 5-0).

Missouri would fall to top-ranked Oklahoma State in the semifinals 22-9, but the fifth-ranked squad rebounded in the consolation round to upset the No. 2 Iowa Hawkeyes. Waters knocked off top-ranked Hawkeye Matt McDonough 4-0 in the opening match and junior Kyle Bradley followed suit at 157 pounds, toppling No. 1 undefeated Derek St. John with a takedown in the final seconds.

Coming off the program's first Big 12 Championship last season, the Missouri wrestling squad accomplished another first when the program announced they would join the MAC Conference in 2012-13. Along with Missouri, Old Dominion and Northern Iowa joined as affiliate members of the MAC. Missouri defeated both of those schools earlier this year. The Tigers have squared off against two other MAC foes this season. In January, No. 11 Central Michigan edged Missouri at home 17-16. The Tigers responded the following weekend with wins over Northern Illinois and No. 21 Northern Iowa, 39-3 and 27-9, respectively.

Central Michigan has won the MAC Tournament eleven years in a row dating back in 2001. This year's field includes two of the nation's top-ranked wrestlers, Missouri's Waters and Kent State's Dustin Kilgore at 197 pounds. CMU's Ben Bennett is the second-ranked 184-pounder and a three-time MAC conference champion. No. 3-ranked senior Dom Bradley has a long history with CMU's No. 7-ranked Jarod Trice. The two grapplers trained for the 2012 Olympics together last season. Bradley won their last matchup 3-1 via tiebreaker this past January.

 

 

Missouri leads the all schools in the tournament with six number one seeds at their respective weight classes, which can be found at the official Conference website. The MAC holds 30 of the 290 qualifying spots for the NCAA Championship bracket. Missouri was the only school in the nation to qualify all 10 starters for the 2012 NCAAs.

The Mid-American Conference Wrestling Championships will be held on Sunday, March 10 at the University of Buffalo in Buffalo, NY. The matches begin at 9:00 a.m. CT and will conclude with the championship bouts at 4:20 p.m. CT. The tournament will be streamed live on the official MAC Conference . Fans can also follow @MizzouWrestling and @MACWrestlingResults as well as searching the hashtag #2013MACWrestling.

ON THE MAT
125 - No. 1 Alan Waters, Jr., (26-0)
Junior is ranked No. 1 for the first time in his career after defeating former No. 1 Matt McDonough of Iowa. He is only six wins shy of 100 in his career and holds a perfect 26-0 record in 2012-13.

133 - No. 7 Nathan McCormick, Sr., (28-4)
Senior-captain has had a phenomenal year with his only losses coming against No. 1 Logan Steiber and No. 4 Jon Morrison. Has a 3-0 record against MAC opponents this year, including a 7-1 decision over CMU's Scotti Sentes.

141 - Nicholas Hucke, Sr., (11-12)
Senior grappler comes in ranked fourth in the MAC Championships in a weight class that only has one NCAA qualifying spot.

149 - No. 11 Drake Houdashelt, So., (25-9)
Been one of the most aggressive Tigers this year in terms of takedowns (46) and major decisions (10). Through two full seasons at Mizzou, he holds a 53-16 record.

157 - No. 15 Kyle Bradley, Jr., (24-12)
Tied for the team lead in major decisions this year (10) and has been wrestling well as of late, including an upset over No. 1 Derek St. John of Iowa at the National Duals.

165 - No. 15 Zach Toal, Jr., (21-14)
Starting to find a stride in the last couple of bouts. Many of his 14 losses have come against ranked foes.

174 - No. 8 Todd Porter, Sr., (28-9)
Beginning to turn heads after finding his way into the top-10 in rankings. One of the most consistent grapplers this season some big-time wins over higher-ranked opponents. Leads the team with 58 takedowns.

184 - No. 12 Mike Larson, Sr., (25-9)
Has inched closer to becoming a part of the 100-win club at Mizzou (94) and holds a 25-9 record in 2012-13. Looks to avenge his loss against No. 2 Ben Bennett (CMU) from earlier this year.

197 - No. 12 Brent Haynes, Sr., (29-7)
Was the only Tiger to go a perfect 3-0 in Minnesota for the NWCA National Duals Finals. Ranked tied for 9th in Mizzou history in wins (110).

HWT - No. 3 Dom Bradley, RSr., (32-1)
Two wins shy of 100-career and leads the Tigers in decisions this year (19). Dropped his first bout of the year against No. 3 Alan Gelogaev, 4-3. Bradley and CMU's Jarod Trice have squared off four times since 2009, including Bradley's 3-2 third-place victory over Trice at the 2011 NCAA Championships.

GAME NOTES
Mizzou was the only program in the country to qualify all 10 of their starters to last year's NCAA's. Nine of the wrestlers earned automatic qualifier bids after their performance at the Big 12 Championship. Two Tigers earned national seeds, with Alan Waters coming in at No. 3 at 125 pounds and Brent Haynes getting the No. 6 seed at 197. Four Tiger wrestlers won Big 12 conference championships last season.

WHAT'S NEXT
This will be the final Tiger wrestling event of the 2012-13 season before the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. The NCAA Championships will be held from Thursday, March 21 through Saturday, March 23 at Wells Fargo Arena. For the latest on Missouri Wrestling, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and right here on MUTigers.com.

*All rankings are from Intermat Wrestling

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