COLUMBIA — Leading 3-1 after the second period, sophomore Nicholas Marable, Missouri’s 165-pound wrestler, grabbed a trash can, ran off the floor of the arena and vomited.
Despite feeling drained by his sickness, Marable came back to the mat and held off Cornell’s Mark Lewnes for a 3-2 victory.
After the match, he ran straight back to the trash can.
“Not good,” Marable said about how he felt. “It wasn’t a pretty win, but it got the job done, I guess.”
Marable’s win tied the team score at 10 in a back-and-forth match against Cornell that Missouri eventually won 21-13 Sunday at Hearnes Center.
Key victories for the Tigers included major decisions from senior Josh Wagner (149 pounds), senior Raymond Jordan (184) and sophomore Max Askren (197). Jordan took down his opponent five times within the final 49 seconds of his match to earn the extra team points needed to put Missouri ahead 14-13.
The 165-pound match pitted the two highest ranked wrestlers of the afternoon. Marable was No. 2 in the nation in the weight class and Lewnes was No. 4 according to the most recent coaches poll.
Marable led 2-1 after the first period thanks to two takedown points. With 1:44 left in the second period he scored an escape point and the crowd began chanting ‘Let’s go Nick’ for the remainder of the period.
Then Marable left the mat for a few seconds alone with the trash can.
He didn’t have long. The referee called him back less than a minute later.
“When we asked him, he said he wasn’t tired, just that his stomach was killing him,” Missouri coach Brian Smith said.
Back on the mat, Lewnes scored an escape point just four seconds into the third period.
Down 3-2, Lewnes was the aggressor for the rest of the match and nearly scored again in the final seconds. He tried desperately for the winning points, but Marable managed to hold him off.
“I was just thinking ‘keep wrestling,’” Marable said. “There was one minute left, but it felt like five minutes. Nothing was really going through my head because I felt so bad.”
Marable said he began feeling sick at the beginning of the week and took a day off from practice to rest. However, he felt better by Sunday and thought he could wrestle.
“I just gave everything. I was like, ‘I don’t know what’s going to go on, but I have to keep fighting.’ So I kept fighting and didn’t give up the two. It was close and I was scared, but I got out with the win,” he said.
Smith said that Marable is no stranger to wrestling while sick.
Last year the flu hit the Tigers hard before the Big 12 Conference Championships, and Marable wrestled at one dual while sick.
Smith remembers him performing well.
However, the Tigers don’t want a repeat of their battle with the illness.
“Hopefully it’s not the flu,” Smith said.