Dec. 9, 2005
Cedar Falls, Iowa - Competing at the UNI Open Dec. 4, sophomore James Williamson (Blue Springs, Mo.) posted a 5-0 record on the way to a title at 157 pounds, leading the way for a group of Tigers that placed six grapplers among the top 6 at a tournament that included over 350 participants.
After a pair of 4-3 decisions to stay alive in the championship bracket, Williamson faced a tough challenge in the quarterfinals against No. 1 seed Chris Bitetto of Northern Iowa. Unseeded at the beginning of the tournament, Williamson won, 3-1, and earned a place in the semifinals. Knocking off seeded grapplers left and right, Williamson won the title with two hard-fought matches, beating Chris Oliver of Nebraska, 6-5, and Moza Fay of Northern Iowa, 7-6, in the title bout.
Competing at 125 pounds, sophomore Tim Kephart ( O' Fallon, Mo.) completed a 5-1 day in third place, one of four Tigers who recorded third-place finishes on the day. Kephart's only loss came at the hands of No. 1 seed Paul Donahoe of Nebraska, the 15th-ranked wrestler at 125 pounds.
Finishing with just one loss on the day at 133 pounds, junior Amond Prater (Marietta, Ga.) reached double digit points in his first two matches before dropping a 4-3 decision to No. 2 seed Kenny Jordan of Nebraska. Fighting his way back through the wrestleback bracket, Prater earned a spot in the third-place bout, where he decisioned Chris Helgeson of Northern Iowa, 3-2.
Sophomore Justin Cole (Gladstone, Mo.) faced the toughest task of any Missouri wrestler in Cedar Falls, falling in the second round of preliminary competition. Undaunted by the prospect of making his way through the consolation bracket, Cole reeled off seven straight wins to finish in third-place, the final bout a 9-3 decision over Charlie Ettelson of Northern Iowa.
Continuing his stellar run of top-3 finishes in his redshirt season, freshman Max Askren (Hartland, Wis.) placed third at 197 pounds, the fifth time he's ended a tournament in the top 3 this season. The proud bearer of a 14-1 record entering the tournament, Askren pinned his first two opponents before dropping his quarterfinal match to Jon Jones of Iowa Central, 8-5. Making his way through the rest of the bracket, Askren capped off the day with a 5:35 pin over Jacob Marrs of Nebraska-Omaha to finish in third-place. Freshman Dane Espinosa took fifth place at 149 pounds, the only other Tiger to place at the all-day tournament