The Maneater

Countdown to wrestling, part three: the schedule

The Tigers will wrestle in an outdoor match at Mizzou Softball Stadium to start the season.

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Countdown to Wrestling Part three: The schedule

It’s no secret that Mizzou has become a wrestling powerhouse. The Tigers have consistently put out some of the best teams and individual competitors in the sport in recent years, dominating the Mid-American Conference every year since joining for the 2013 season. But wrestling can be a hard sport to understand at times. Follow The Maneater’s “Countdown to Wrestling” series for features, player and coach profiles and even explanations for new wrestling fans in the months leading up to the new season.

The Tigers’ first home dual, apart from the annual Black and Gold dual on Oct. 27, will not take place in the team’s traditional home of Hearnes Center. Instead, it will be less than a block away at the Mizzou Softball Stadium, which officially opened last April.

On Sept. 12, wrestling coach Brian Smith released Missouri’s 2017-18 schedule, which features the opener on the softball field, a slew of intriguing conference matchups and a tournament at Lindenwood University, which the team did not participate in last year.

In the opener at Mizzou Softball Stadium, the Tigers will face Illinois on Nov. 4, the same day as Mizzou football’s home game against Florida. Nick Britton, the director of facility operations at Mizzou Softball Stadium, said that other wrestling teams have done outdoor matches before but that the idea of hosting one on a softball field was different. He said that this was a way for the Mizzou teams to be trend-setting instead of trend-following.

Britton said that there are a lot of details still to be worked out but that the concept seemed like a great opportunity to expose the wrestling team to something different.

On Nov. 12, the team will host three separate dual meets against the University of Central Missouri, Truman State University and Missouri Valley College. The beginning of December will bring the start of conference play for the Tigers; Missouri will host Old Dominion University on Dec. 2 at Hearnes Center to kick off Mid-American Conference competition.

This is the second year in a row the Tigers will open conference competition against Old Dominion. Last year, Mizzou (11-4) beat the Monarchs (4-9), 36-3.

Two of Missouri’s toughest losses came at home last year at the hands of Oklahoma State University and the University of Northern Iowa. The wrestling team will face these universities in January and February, respectively.

The Tigers placed first overall in last year’s MAC Championships, beating second-place Northern Iowa. Mizzou wrestling broke an MAC Tournament record with 154.5 team points.

This year, the MAC Championships will take place in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, a much farther hike than last year’s championships in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The NCAA Championships will take place in Cleveland.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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