COLUMBIA — Brian Smith, the head coach of the Missouri wrestling team, brought his team together at the end of Friday's practice. He reminded his wrestlers to stay focused on the task at hand and to remember their goals.
The Tigers are scheduled to compete Sunday against Eastern Michigan, Truman State and host Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
The team is looking for continued improvement after finishing second Jan. 14 at the 14-team Virginia Duals. Missouri was ranked No. 9 in the NCWA/USA Today Division I Coaches Poll at the time but was beat out by then-No. 22 Kent State for the title.
“After a loss, we do what we always do — look at the mistakes made and improve because it's not where you are right now, it's where you are in March,” Missouri assistant coach Mike Pell said.
The Tigers have wrestled well all season and are ranked No. 15 heading into Sunday's match. The Tigers come home Feb. 4 and 5 to face No. 1 Oklahoma State and No. 10 Oklahoma.
Despite the challenging matches ahead of them, they are staying focused on the next opponents.
"When you look past teams, that’s usually when you lose matches that you shouldn’t,” Missouri assistant coach Jason Mester said.
Tigers 125-pounder Alan Waters (17-1), a two-time Big 12 Conference Wrestler of the Week this season, added, “We need to work on getting bonus points. This is a big weekend for us to improve and get better on our takedowns.”