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Missouri wrestlers pick up season-opening victory

Sunday, November 13, 2011 | 5:27 p.m. CST; updated 7:02 p.m. CST, Sunday, November 13, 2011

COLUMBIA — Starting out with a six-point deficit was no problem for the Missouri wrestling team.

The No. 9 Tigers were forced to forfeit the first match against Purdue because of an injury to starting 125-pound wrestler Alan Waters.

Despite being down a man, Missouri won six of the next seven matches on its way to a 21-15 victory in its first dual meet of the season.

Missouri coach Brian Smith said Waters tweaked his elbow the night before the match but would not give any details on the exact nature of the injury.

Smith said he was impressed at how his team was the aggressor in Sunday's contest at Hearnes Center, even though it's the beginning of the season and Missouri faced some early adversity with Waters' default.

"They're making mistakes out there, sure, but they're finding ways to win," Smith said.

In the 174-pound weight class, senior Dorian Henderson only needed 18 seconds to defeat Purdue's Drake Stein by fall. Henderson lifted Stein off the ground and threw him down on his shoulders, pinning him quickly. Henderson is ranked eighth in the country at his weight class by WIN Magazine.

The Tigers travel to Oklahoma on Friday to face the Sooners in their first Big 12 match of the season. This will be the Tigers' last season in the conference now that Missouri has been accepted into the SEC.

However, because there are no schools in the SEC that offer wrestling as a sport, Missouri is looking at different options for joining regional conferences in 2012.

For his part, Smith is tired of hearing about whether or not the Tigers will be hampered by the exit from the Big 12. Smith said his wrestlers have no concerns about the program beyond this season, and neither should anyone else.

"The best way to stop people talking is to go win, and that's what we did," Smith said.


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