The No. 9 Missouri wrestling team, fresh off a 21-15 win over Purdue in their season opener, jump right into Big 12 action with a pair of duals this weekend. Mizzou will head to the state of Oklahoma to take on the No. 12 OU Sooners and the No. 3 Oklahoma State Cowboys. Action between the Tigers and Sooners will start at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18, while Missouri and OSU will face off at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20.
Links to free live stats will be available at mutigers.com, and live audio and video will be available for a fee at soonersports.com and okstate.com. Additionally, fans can get live match-by-match results by following the Mizzou Wrestling Twitter page, @MizzouWrestling.
SCOUTING THE SOONERS The Oklahoma Sooners come into this dual ranked 12th in the country according to the latest NWCA Division I Coaches Poll. The Sooners are currently 1-0 on the season, having defeated Oklahoma City University on Nov. 3 to open the season. Last weekend, the Sooners won their 13th straight Brockport/Oklahoma Gold Classic Title with 182 points, edging out Maryland and Rutgers.
Oklahoma returns five of their starters from last year’s squad, which finished 16th at NCAA’s and third at the Big 12 Championships. Six of their projected starters are ranked within the top-20 of Intermat’s latest individual rankings, led by No. 3 Jared Patterson at 125 pounds. Jordan Keller is ranked 11th at 133 pounds, while Kendric Maple steps in at 141 and ranks in at eighth. Also earning top-20 nods are Nick Lester (14th) and 149 pounds, Matt Lester, who’s 12th at 157 pounds, and Erich Schmidtke, who ranks 18th at 184.
The Sooners are led by head coach Mark Cody, who is in his first year as head coach for Oklahoma after taking over for the legendary Jack Spates, who retired following the 2010-11 season. He was the head coach at American University for the last nine years and is the reigning NCAA Wrestling Coach of the Year after guiding American to a fifth place finish at last year NCAA Championships.
Last year, the Sooners edged the Tigers by an 18-12 final. In their last 10 meetings, Missouri has won six of those contests dating back to the 2002-03 season.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH With each team having six wrestlers ranked in Intermat’s top-20 individual rankings, there are plenty of key matchups for fans to check in on. Add in the fact that many of these wrestlers have seen each other numerous times over the past few seasons and you’re primed for some intriguing bouts. Here’s a look at a few that stand out:
• 125: #5 Alan Waters vs. #3 Jarrod Patterson - The best match of the night might very well be the first match of the night when Waters and Patterson go at it in a matchup between top-five 125 pounders. These two met up twice last year, with Patterson edging Waters both times. However, the matches went to the wire, with Patterson pulling out a 3-2 win in the duals and a 1-0 win in overtime at Big 12’s. • 133: #14 Nathan McCormick vs. #11 Jordan Keller - These two familiar foes, who each rank outside the top-10, will surely provide another exciting matchup. They met twice last year and split the two contests. Keller won 6-2 in overtime at the Midlands, while McCormick bounced back and pulled out a 3-2 decision in the dual meet. • 149: #11 Kyle Bradley vs. #14 Nick Lester - This top-15 battle between two sophomores should be another tight one. These two have only met one previous time, with Bradley pulling out a 5-4 win at the Midlands last year. • 184: Mike Larson vs. #18 Erich Schmidtke - These two are no strangers to one another, as they faced off three times during the 2010-11 campaign. Larson came out victorious at the Midlands, winning 2-1, but Schmidtke pulled out a 7-3 win at the dual and a 3-1 victory at the Big 12 Championships.
SCOUTING THE COWBOYS The No. 3 ranked Cowboys are entering their first weekend of duals this season, as they host Rutgers this Friday before the Tigers come to town on Sunday. Oklahoma State has competed at the Oklahoma City Open, where they won two titles, and the Central Missouri Open, where they had nine champions.
Five of Oklahoma State’s 10 starters were starters on last year’s Big 12 Champion squad that finished fourth at Nationals. Nine of their 10 projected starters are ranked in the top-10 according to Intermat, highlighted by No. 1 Jordan Oliver at 133 pounds, who was an NCAA Champion last year. Senior Jamal Parks is the No. 2 ranked 149 pounder, while Cayle Byers is third at 197 and Alan Gelogaev is fifth at heavyweight. Sophomore Josh Kindig ranks seventh at 141 pounds, 184 pounder Chris Perry sits at eighth and Ladd Rupp is ninth at 125. Coming in at 10th in their respective classes is Albert White (157) and Dallas Bailey (165)
John Smith enters his 21st season as head wrestling coach at Oklahoma State. He is the program’s winningest coach of all-time with a career record of 311-46-6. The Tigers and Cowboys split their two meetings last year. Missouri won their meeting at the National Duals, 21-19, but the Cowboys got their revenge in Stillwater, winning 28-6. In their last seven meetings, Missouri is 4-2-1 against Oklahoma State.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH A combined 15 top-20 wrestlers, according to Intermat, are expected to wrestle when these two top-10 teams go at on Sunday night. Many of these wrestlers have faced off in the past. Here’s a look at four of the more intriguing matchups:
• 125: #5 Alan Waters vs. #9 Ladd Rupp - The Big 12 is totally stacked at 125 pounds again, and Waters will get his second matchup against a top-10 ranked opponent on Sunday with sophomore Ladd Rupp. Rupp steps in as the starter after beating last year’s starter Jon Morrison by a 2-1 final at last weekend’s UCM Open. Morrison beat Waters by 3-1 and 3-2 decisions during the season last year. • 149: #11 Kyle Bradley vs. #2 Jamal Parks - Bradley gets his second matchup against a top-11 opponent in three days when he goes up against the second ranked 149 pounder in Parks. These two faced off three times last season, with Parks winning all three bouts. He took the contest at the National Duals yb a slight 3-1 decision, and then won 10-4 at the dual in Stillwater. They met again at Big 12’s, with Parks winning 4-0. • 165: #13 Zach Toal vs. #10 Dallas Bailey - These two sophomores became pretty familiar with one another last season, facing off three times. Toal won the first two matches, scoring a 6-5 decision at the National Duals and a 3-2 win in Stillwater. However, Bailey got revenge at Big 12’s, defeating Toal 5-2. • 174: #6 Dorian Henderson vs. Chris McNeil - Henderson may have the edge in the rankings, but these two go way back to 2008-09, when they were both redshirt freshman. McNeil defeated Henderson twice, winning 7-3 at the Missouri Open and 9-4 at their dual. They haven’t faced off since, so this rivalry could be renewed this weekend.
FOLLOW LIVE Fans will be able to get live scoring and results for free at mutigers.com. For a fee, fans can also get free audio/video through soonersports.com and okstate.com. Additionally, fans can get live match updates by following the team’s Twitter page, @MizzouWrestling.
WHAT’S NEXT The Tigers continue their five game road trip next weekend when they head west for another pair of top-25 matchups. On Friday, Missouri will take on No. 18 Oregon State before facing No. 22 Stanford on Sunday afternoon.
BIG 12 DUAL CHAMPIONS With just four teams in the Big 12 this year, there have been a few format changes to the league. The most notable is how every team will face each other twice during the regular season, with one match at each team’s venue. With the six conference duals, the league will crown a dual champion for the first time in Big 12 history, given to the team with the best conference dual record at the end of the season.
NO. 9 TIGERS ROLL BY PURDUE, 21-15 The No. 9 Missouri wrestling team opened their season with an impressive 21-15 win over the Purdue Boilermakers. The Tigers overcame a forfeit at 125 to open the match by winning six of the nine remaining contests on their way to win No. 1 on the year.
Down 6-0 right off the bat, Missouri won six of their next seven matches to take a commanding lead. Junior Nathan McCormick scored two takedowns in the final minute to send his match to OT, where he scored the winning takedown in seven seconds. Brandon Wiest recorded his first career dual win, while Drake Houdashelt scored an 11-4 decision in his first collegiate match. Zach Toal won 7-4 over his opponent, and Dorian Henderson gave the Tigers a huge lead when he pinned his foe in just 18 seconds. Mike Larson coasted to a 6-1 win to help clinch the match for the Tigers.
SIX SIGN FOR 2012-13 The Missouri wrestling program announced the addition of six future student-athletes that signed their National Letter of Intent on Wednesday. Joining the Missouri program starting in the 2012-13 season will be Tony Deangelo (Burlington, N.C.), Cody Hummer (Savannah, Mo.), Matt Manley (Perry, Okla.), Willie Miklus (Polk, Iowa), Austin Roper (Kirksville, Mo.) and Marc Schmidt (Centralia, Mo.)
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