MU wrestling team gets big win

Sunday, January 25, 2009 | 6:02 p.m. CST; updated 12:53 a.m. CST, Monday, January 26, 2009

The Missouri wrestling team keeps getting big wins against big opponents.

Sunday, it defeated Cornell 18-14. Entering the match, Cornell was ranked second in the nation in USA Today's wrestling poll. Missouri was ranked 12th.

The Tigers came from behind to win with victories in the last five matches of the dual. Freshman Dorian Henderson  earned the biggest victory of his college career, defeating Cornell's Justin Kerber 2-1 in the 184-pound weight class with a takedown in the final 15 seconds. MU coach Brian Smith called the win the turning-point of the dual.

“This was his breakout big win for us,” Smith said by phone. “It was a big pressure situation. We knew we had to get that win. We didn’t tell him that, but he won and it was huge.”

Henderson, who has been frustrated with his results so far this season, said he attributes a lot of his success to his coaches.

“They just told me to wrestle and relax,” Henderson said by phone. “They have helped me so much this season with my confidence, technique and conditioning. I trust them a lot.”

Henderson has high goals for himself and his team before his time at MU is over.

“I would love for us to be national champions,” Henderson said. “At the least, I want to be an All-American.”

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Tigers. They prepare to take on fourth-ranked Nebraska on Saturday at the Hearnes Center.

“We have a gauntlet coming up,” Smith said. “We are in a six-match stretch where we face all top-10 teams.”

Smith said he hopes that with this victory, more people will show up on Saturday.

“We have bigger crowds on the road than we do at home,” Smith said. “We’ve been in the top 10 and people don’t come out. It’s frustrating, but we keep chugging along and winning.”


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