Wrestling Ready for Nationals in St. Louis

MUTIGERS.COM Alan Waters is the highest seeded Tiger, coming in at No. 3 at 125 pounds
Alan Waters is the highest seeded Tiger, coming in at No. 3 at 125 pounds

March 12, 2012

NCAA Championship NotesGet Acrobat Reader

One year after sending a program-best nine wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, the Missouri wrestling team will top that as all 10 starters will compete at the 2012 event, held in St. Louis, Mo., at the Scottrade Center. The Tigers are fresh off their first Big 12 Championship after taking home the crown in front of their home fans on Saturday, March 3 at the Hearnes Center. Mizzou crowned four individual champions at the event and qualified a program-best eight grapplers into the finals. This year’s squad consists of four Big 12 champions, seven returning NCAA qualifiers, three first timers, and one four-time qualifier. As a team, Missouri has finished in the top-20 at NCAA’s in each of the last 10 seasons. Last year, the Tigers finished in 19th place with two All-Americans in Todd Schavrien (141) and Dom Bradley (HWT).

Nine of the 10 Tigers earned automatic bids to the tournament by the amount of allotted wrestlers per conference, per weight class, which was set by the NCAA before conference tournaments began. Alan Waters (125), Nathan McCormick (133), Nicholas Hucke (141), Kyle Bradley (149), Drake Houdashelt (157), Zach Toal (165), Dorian Henderson (174), Mike Larson (184) and Brent Haynes (197) picked up the auto bids with their performances at Big 12’s. Redshirt freshman Devin Mellon picked up one of the four available wild card spots at the heavyweight class. This is the 10th straight year in which Missouri has qualified five or more wrestlers to the NCAA Championships.

Henderson will make his fourth career appearance at the NCAA Championships as the lone senior in the Tiger lineup. Larson and Haynes have qualified for the third time, while Waters, McCormick, Bradley and Toal punched their ticket for the second straight year. Hucke, Houdashelt and Mellon are making their first appearance at NCAA’s.

Last year, Waters, McCormick, Bradley and Toal went 1-2 at nationals, with each grappler dropped their first match and winning their first wrestleback match. Henderson went 3-2 , while Haynes won two of his four matches. Larson fell in both of his contests last season.

Over the past 13 years in which head coach Brian Smith has been at the helm, 14 Missouri wrestlers have been crowned All-American with nine earning multiple honors. In all, Mizzou has claimed 26 All-America slots since Smith has been at Mizzou, which includes four national champions. Ben Askren is the program’s only repeat champion, taking first in 2006 and 2007 at 174 pounds. Mark Ellis won the heavyweight title in 2009, while Max Askren finished first at 184 pounds in 2010.

• Live Results - Live play-by-play and results will be provided via TrackWrestling. Links will be available at mutigers.com.
• Television - Each session will be shown live online at ESPN3.com. Sessions III, IV and V will be aired live on ESPNU, while the final session on Saturday night will be shown live on ESPN HD.
• Social Media - Updates will be provided via the official Twitter account, @MizzouWrestling.

Thursday, March 15
Session 1 - First Round: 11 a.m. CT (Live on ESPN3.com)
Session 2 - Second Round and Consolation Rounds: 6:30 p.m. CT (Live on ESPN3.com)
Friday, March 16
Session 3 - Quarterfinals and Consolation Rounds: 10 a.m. CT (Live on ESPNU HD/ESPN3.com)
Session 4 - Semifinals: 6 p.m. CT (Live on ESPNU HD/ESPN3.com)
Saturday, March 17
Session 5 - Medal Rounds: 10 a.m. CT (Live on ESPNU HD/ESPN3.com)
Session 6 - Finals: 6:30 p.m. CT (Live on ESPN HD/ESPN3.com)

• 125 - No. 3 Alan Waters vs. Pat Rollins (Oregon State): Rollins is 24-15 on the season for Oregon State. Waters scored a 19-3 technical fall over Rollins back in November. Winner will face Coltin Fought (NC State) or Anthony Zanetta (Pitt).
• 133 - Nathan McCormick vs. No. 6 Devin Carter (Virginia Tech): Carter is 30-3 on the season. McCormick and Carter have never met. Winner will take on winner of Steven Keith (Harvard)/Geoffrey Alexander (Maryland) and Jordan Keller (OU).
• 141 - Nicholas Hucke vs. No. 1 Kellen Russell (Michigan): Russell is a perfect 38-0 on the season for the Wolverines. Hucke and Russell have never faced each other. Winner takes on the winner of Tanner Hough (Duke) and Luke Vaith (Hofstra)
• 149 - Kyle Bradley vs. Josh Wilson (Utah Valley): Pigtail match. Wilson is 20-10 on the year. Bradley and Wilson have not met. Winner will take on Mario Mason (19-3) of Rutgers in the first round. Bradley lost, 10-4, to Mason last season.
• 157 - Drake Houdashelt vs. No. 2 Derek St. John (Iowa): St. John is 17-2 on the year. He and Houdashelt have never met. Winner will take on the winner R.J. Pena (Oregon State) and Corey Mock (UNC) in the next round.
• 165 - Zach Toal vs. No. 8 Robert Kokesh (Nebraska): Kokesh is currently 25-4 on the season. Toal has never faced the Husker. Winner will face the winner of No. 9 Conrad Polz (Illinois) and Bubby Graham (OU) in the second.
• 174 - Dorian Henderson vs. Kyle Czarnecki (Boston): Czarnecki has a 19-10 record this year. Henderson and Czarnecki have not wrestled. Winner will face either No. 1 David Taylor (Penn State) and Corey Lear (Bucknell)
• 184 - Mike Larson vs. No. 1 Joe LeBlanc (Wyoming): LeBlanc has a 30-1 record this season for Wyoming. These two have not met. Winner takes on Erich Smith (Penn) or Kevin Radford (ASU) in the second round.
• 197 - No. 6 Brent Haynes vs. Max Huntley (Michigan): Huntley is 15-13 on the year. Haynes majored Huntley, 8-0, at the National Duals in February in their only previous meeting. Winner will take on No. 11 Micah Burak (Penn) and Andrew Campolottano (Ohio State).
• HWT: Devin Mellon vs. No. 1 Ryan Flores (American) OR Ernest James (Edinboro): Flores and James face in a pigtail match. Flores is 17-0 on the year, while James is 30-10. Mellon defeated James with riding time in a tiebreaker at the Virginia Duals, while Mellon has never faced Flores. Winner will take on Kevin Lester (Columbia) or Wes Schroeder (EMU).

Here’s a look at the rest of the field this season and what the Tigers have done against potential future opponents:
•125 - Alan Waters: 12-2 against the rest of the field. Has wins over Pat Rollins (Oregon State; 19-3), Nic Bedelyon  twice(Kent State; 12-1 & 7-5), Ryak Finch twice (Iowa State; 13-4 & 4-0), Frank Perrelli (Cornell; 3-2), Jared Germaine (EMU; 15-4), Jon Morrison twice (OSU; 4-0 & 2-0) and Jarrod Patterson twice (OU; 7-0, 7-0). Both losses came against Minnesota’s Zach Sanders by scores of 1-0 and 8-6.

•133 - Nathan McCormick: 3-4 against the rest of the field. All three wins came against Oklahoma’s Jordan Keller (2-1, 5-3 and 4-2). Has losses to Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State) by fall and a 10-2 major. Also lost to Minnesota’s Chris Dardanes by major, 15-5.

•141 - Nicholas Hucke: 3-7 against the rest of the field. Victories over Evan Henderson (UNC; 7-5), Mike Kessler (Appalachian State; 5-4) and Luke Goettl (ISU; 9-0). Lost to Darius Little (NC State; 3-2 in overtime), Nick Nelson (Virginia; 6-2), Goettl (ISU; 9-2), Tyler Small (Kent State; 5-0), Kendric Maple twice (OU; fall and 4-0 decision) and Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly; 7-4).

• 149 - Kyle Bradley: 5-11 against the rest of the field. Wins over Ian Miller (Kent State; fall), Dean Pavlou (UTC; 5-3 in overtime), Nick Lester twice (OU; 2-0 in SV & 2-0) and Eric Grajales (Michigan; 5-2 in SV2). Has fallen to Ivan Lopouchanski (Purdue; 5-3), Lester (OU; 1-0), Scott Sakaguchi (Oregon State; 8-5 & 5-2), Dylan Ness twice (Minnesota; 9-3 & 8-6 in SV), Dave Habat (Edinboro; 3-2), Miller (Kent State; 7-3), Jamal Parks three times (OSU; 12-3, 10-3 & 8-3).

• 157 - Drake Houdashelt: 10-4 against the rest of the field. Victories over Tommy Churchard (Purdue; 11-4), RJ Pena (Oregon State; 11-7), Mallie Shuster (Kent State; 13-4), Corey Mock (UNC; 7-6), Daniel Waddell (UTC; 3-0), Aaron Sulzer (EMU; 2-0), Albert White three times (Oklahoma State; 3-1, 2-1 and 2-1 in tiebreakers) and Matt Lester (OU; 3-1). Losses are to Lester twice (OU; 5-2 & 6-1), Shuster (Kent State; 10-5) and Steven Monk (NDSU; 4-1).

• 165 - Zach Toal: 6-9 against the field. Wins against Bubby Graham twice (OU; 8-3 & 3-2), Coleman Gracey (Army; 8-6), Marshall Peppelman (Cornell; 7-3), Dallas Bailey (OSU; 5-4) and Andrew Sorenson (ISU; 3-2). Has fallen to Sorenson (ISU; 12-4), Kyle Blevins (Appalachian State; 2-0), Paul Gillespie (Hofstra; 6-2), Nicholas Sulzer (Virginia; 9-1), Graham (OU; 4-3), Dominic Kastl (Cal Poly; 3-1 in SV), Dan Yates (Michigan; 4-1), Cody Yohn (Minnesota; 6-3) and Bailey (OSU; 4-1).

• 174 - Dorian Henderson: 4-6 against the field. Victories against Peter Huntley (Navy; 3-1), Turtogtokh Luvsandorkj (The Citadel; fall), Kyle Detmer (OU; 11-0) and Ryan DesRoches (Cal Poly; 3-2). Has lost to Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford; 3-0), Phillip Joseph (EMU; 6-2), Justin Zeerip (Michigan; 2-0), Logan Storley (Minnesota; 2-0) and Chris Perry twice (OSU; 6-3 & 8-2).

• 184 - Mike Larson: 5-3 against the field. Has wins over Braden Atwood (Purdue; 6-1), Ryan Garringer (Ohio; 6-2), Boaz Beard twice (ISU; 5-2 and 5-4) and Erich Schmidtke (OU; fall). Lost to Schmidtke (OU; 6-4), Quentin Wright (Penn State; fall) and Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota; 6-3).

• 197 - Brent Haynes: 7-6 against the field. Wins vs. Matt Powless (Indiana; 15-0), Sonny Yohn twice (Minnesota; 6-0 & 10-0), Keldric Hall twice (OU; 6-3 & 6-2), Ryan Smith (Cal Poly; 7-1) and Max Huntley (Michigan; 8-0). Lost to A.J. Kissel (Purdue; 7-2), Taylor Meeks (Oregon State; fall), Keith Witt (Kent State; 2-0), Chris Honeycutt (Edinboro; 14-4) and Cayle Byers twice (OSU; 7-1 & 5-0).

• HWT - Devin Mellon: 5-8 vs. the field. Wins against Brendan Barlow (Kent State; 5-3), Matt Gibson (ISU; 3-2), Ernest James (Edinboro; 3-3 by RT in TB), Wes Schroeder (EMU; 6-4) and Ben Apland (Michigan; 4-3). Lost to Clayton Jack (Oregon State; fall), Andrew Delaney (The Citadel; 3-2), Gibson (ISU; 5-0), Barlow (Kent State; 3-2), Tony Nelson (Minnesota; 4-1) and Austin Marsden twice (OSU; 3-2 & 3-1 in SV).

Coming off the program’s first Big 12 Championship this past weekend, the Missouri wrestling squad accomplished another first on Wednesday afternoon, as the NCAA announced that all 10 of Missouri’s starting grapplers have qualified for the NCAA Championship. Last season, the Tigers set a program record when they earned nine bids to the national tournament.

Mizzou is the only program in the country to qualify all 10 of their starters to this year’s NCAA’s. Nine of the wrestlers earned automatic qualifier bids after their performance at Saturday’s Big 12 Championship. The lone remaining non-qualifier, heavyweight Devin Mellon, landed one of the four remaining wild card spots at the weight. Mellon went 19-12 as a redshirt freshman, which included two wins over top-15 wrestlers. He’ll face the winner of No. 1 Ryan Flores (American) and Ernest James (Edinboro), who wrestle in the pigtail round.

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. Waters will open up against Pat Rollins of Oregon State, while Haynes is paired up with Maxwell Huntley of Michigan in the first round.

For the first time in program history, the Missouri wrestling team has captured the Big 12 Championship, doing so in front of their home crowd on Saturday night. Missouri sent eight of their 10 starters to the championship round, with four of them capturing individual titles. The four champions are the most in program history, besting the previous high of three set in 2004 and again in 2007, and all four placed first for the first time in their careers

Alan Waters, the top-seeded wrestler at 125 pounds, got the Tigers off on the right foot with a dominating 7-0 victory over No. 2 Jarrod Patterson of Oklahoma. The two were scoreless into the third when Waters reversed Patterson and scored five points in near falls in the final seconds of the match to get his second win over the Sooner this year.

Oklahoma State tightened up the team race with wins over Missouri at 133 and 149, but redshirt freshman Drake Houdashelt topped No. 1 seed Nick Lester of OU with a 3-1 win. Lester had a 1-0 lead in the third but Houdashelt reversed Lester and rode him out to secure the extra point. Lester had beaten Houdashelt in both their previous matchups this season.

Arguably the biggest win of the tournament came from Mizzou’s Zach Toal, who upset top-seeded and fourth-ranked Andrew Sorenson in the championship.  Toal, who was majored by Sorenson early in the season, hit the first takedown and took a 2-1 lead into the second period. After Sorenson evened the score, Toal got the escape in the third and scored the victory.

The Cowboys were victorious at 174 and 197, but junior Mike Larston captured his first individual crown at 184 in a 5-4 win over No. 2 seed Boaz Beard. Beard hit the first takedown of the match and led 2-1 after one, but Larson tied things up with an escape and hit a takedown with short time left in the second. Up 4-2 in the final period, Beard evened things up with a reversal, but Larson escaped less than 10 seconds later and held on for the win.

Heading into the final match of the night, Missouri held a four point lead over the Cowboys, who had one of the two competitors in the heavyweight bout. A win by decision would have brought the Tigers and OSU to a tie, while a win with bonus points would’ve given the Cowboys their third straight conference title. However, Iowa State’s Matt Gibson hit three back points in the second and rode that to an 8-3 win over OSU’s Austin Marsden, clinching the trophy for Mizzou.

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.



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