Although a 7-7 season (including a 1-3 mark in the Big 12) may not have been what Missouri wrestling coach Brian Smith expected at the beginning of the season, he believes that his team will do well at the Big 12 Championships this weekend.
Missouri finished fourth at The Midlands in December, and Smith thinks his team could put together another strong performance in a tournament setting.
Senior No. 5 Max Askren will be the favorite to win at 184 pounds after going 4-0 in Big 12 dual play this season. Senior No. 5 Nick Marable also looks to have a good chance at 165 after going 3-1. Marable has already won two conference titles at 165 pounds.
Senior No. 6 Mark Ellis went 2-2 in Big 12 dual play this season, but is confident about his chances this weekend. Ellis has beaten senior No. 1 Jared Rosholt of Oklahoma State in past seasons, but has never beat senior No. 3 David Zabriskie of Iowa State. Ellis will face Zabriskie in the semifinals.
Junior No. 17 Todd Schavrien could be a surprise for Missouri this weekend. Schavrien went 2-2 at 141 pounds in Big 12 dual play, but lost his two matches to top 10 opponents by a total of four points.
Redshirt freshman No. 11 Brent Haynes and sophomore No. 20 Dorian Henderson, at 197 and 174 pounds respectively, are the only other Tiger wrestlers that will go into the conference championships ranked. Both wrestlers had losing records in Big 12 dual play, and both are competing in weight classes in which all five conference wrestlers are ranked.