Missouri wrestling opens season with Black and Gold meet

The Gold team took the intra-squad wrestle-off 21-12.

Redshirt freshman Brent Haynes grapples with redshirt freshman Jake Glore during the Black and Gold Wrestle-Offs on Sunday at the Hearnes Center. MU wrestling is ranked eighth in the NCAA, according to InterMat.

The Missouri wrestling team got its season started with the Black and Gold Wrestle-Offs on Sunday at the Hearnes Center. The Gold team won with a score of 21-12.

The match started with a surprise result in the 125-pound weight class, in which freshman Brad Wisdom beat sophomore Troy Dolan by a 5-2 score.

After the match, coach Brian Smith put down any speculation that Wisdom could start on opening day, and said Dolan would be the starter.

Junior Todd Schavrien, who wrestled in the 133-pound weight class last season, was victorious in the 141-pound weight class. Smith gave no indication of which weight class Schavrien will compete in at the start of the season.

Redshirt freshman Nathan McCormick defeated sophomore Taylor Crane by a score of 3-1 in the 133-pound weight class. Wisdom, Schavrien and McCormick all competed for the Gold team.

The first wrestler to win for the Black team was sophomore Patrick Wright, who beat redshirt freshman Nick Gregoris 2-0 in an exciting match of 157-pounders.

"I was able to beat a lot of top kids last year, guys who were almost All-Americans," Wright said. "I expect to do that again next year, and expect to be an All-American."

In the 165-pound weight class, senior All-American Nicholas Marable continued the Gold team's dominance with an 8-2 victory over freshman Zach Toal and appeared poised to put together another All-American season.

Both the 174-pound and 184-pound weight classes brought a lot of intrigue as starters sophomore Dorian Henderson and senior Max Askren moved down to a new weight class for this season. Both wrestlers won their matches in the Wrestle-Off, Henderson for the Gold team and Askren for the Black team, and built confidence for the upcoming season.

"I felt great today," Askren said. "It was my first day at 184 in a couple years, but I felt really good and I'm really fired up for the season."

The Gold team had pretty much sealed up a victory, but the heavyweight match between senior Mark Ellis and sophomore Dominique Bradley still brought Missouri fans to their feet. The match lived up to the hype, and Ellis, the defending national champion, won 2-0.

Smith was pleased with his team's performance.

"We were pretty good, pretty aggressive," Smith said. "A lot of times you see guys not be so aggressive in a Wrestle-Off because they all know each other, but we were. I'm pleased with where we are at right now."

Missouri opens up its season Nov. 12 at home against Illinois.

"We expect to beat Illinois," Smith said. "This team has unlimited potential and we will get better as the season goes on."

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