Nov. 4, 2010
Hey again, it's been a great couple of weeks since the last time I blogged. We had our homecoming weekend two weeks ago where a lot of alumni came into town to watch our football team take down the number one ranked Oklahoma Sooners. This was a great time for me, because I got to see old friends and spend some time talking and rubbing elbows with people who have already accomplished what I hope to accomplish this year like two-time NCAA champion Ben Askren and NCAA champion Mark Ellis. There has been a lot of success throughout the program from both past and present wrestlers.
This past weekend we started with the Lindenwood tournament where we crowned three champions in Nick Gregoris, Danny Gonsor, and Alan Waters. Gregoris got a pin over fellow teammate Phillip Perry in the finals. Gonsor couldn't have had a better day for his debut in black and gold, racking up three pins and two technical falls to win the tournament. Waters also had a first period pin in the finals. I'm glad we have this kid on our side. It's rare that a freshman comes into college as skilled in all three areas of wrestling (top, bottom, and feet) as he is. He reminds me of a guy who was a freshman last year that I of all people should know a bit about and I'm sure all of you have heard of him as well, his name is Kyle Dake. I strongly believe that Waters can and will have the success that Dake has had. The best thing about it all is that Waters' learning curve is so big and his determination and willingness to improve is even bigger. I can't wait to watch this kid grow and improve throughout the year and years to come.
We held our annual black and gold wrestle offs this past weekend as well. The matches went really well, everyone wrestled hard and showed the kind of pace Tiger Style wrestling is about this year. Having these matches helped to set the line up that will take the mat against the University of Illinois in Edwardsville, Ill., on Friday, Nov. 12. If you get a chance, I strongly recommend coming out to watch this match as there is going to be a lot of highly anticipated matches and I assure you your Tigers will be there ready to wrestle. Everyone is chomping at the bit to get out there and compete and prove to the rest of the country what this young team is capable of. According to the most recent Division 1 coaches poll your Tigers are ranked No. 11 where Illinois is ranked No. 10. According to the rankings by wrestlingreport.com on October 20, this matchup will feature four of the 10 matches where wrestlers from both schools are ranked in the top 33. The 133 pound match will be Missouri No. 24 vs. Illinois No. 23, 141 Missouri No. 12 vs. Illinois No. 2, 149 Missouri No. 28 against Illinois No. 31 and 165 Missouri No. 12 vs. Illinois No. 17. We also have five more guys from Mizzou ranked in the wrestlingreport.com top 33. Every one of which I know hopes to and will rapidly climb those rankings starting this coming weekend and every weekend to come as our team is ready to compete at the highest level week in and week out. We look at every week on our schedule as a week to get better and another stepping-stone to where we are now and where we intend to be in March, at the top of the podium.
As I mentioned before there was a lot of success throughout the program of both past and present wrestlers. Former Mizzou wrestler and two-time All-American Tyron Woodley won his Strikeforce bout on October 9th against Andrea Galvao by knockout in 1:48. All-American Michael Chandler picked up a pair of wins in the Bellator Fighting Championships, one on September 30, winning by TKO over Scott Stapp in 1:57 and another on October 14 over Chris Page by submission in 57 seconds. Four-time All-American, two-time NCAA champion and Olympian Ben Askren became Bellator Fighting Championships Welterweight Champion with a unanimous decision over Lyman Good.
Everyone on our team will be competing next weekend. On Saturday, Nov. 13we all will be out in Warrensburg, Mo. for the Central Missouri Open. I also hope to see you all out in Edwardsville on Friday. It's going to be an exciting match to watch as a Tiger fan and we love seeing all of you there. I get more and more excited every day we get closer to this match and kicking off the season. Muhammad Ali said it best when he said "the fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights." Our team across the board has put in an overwhelming amount of time, work, blood, sweat and tears into this program in this off season, now its finally here, it's time to go out there and get our hands raised.