TOP 10 SPORTS MOMENTS OF 2013: No. 9 — Missouri wrestling breaks Central Michigan streak, wins MAC Championship

Wednesday, December 18, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:13 p.m. CST, Thursday, December 19, 2013
No. 1 ranked Missouri senior Dom Bradley wrestles Oklahoma senior Keldrick Hall in a heavy weight match Feb. 2 at Hearnes Center. Bradley won by a 10 -4 decision. Missouri won the MAC Championship tournament on March 10.

COLUMBIA— With every other Missouri sport transitioning to the Southeastern Conference for the 2012-13 season, the wrestling team was almost left without a home.

The SEC does not have wrestling in its conference, so the Tigers had to look elsewhere, eventually finding themselves in the Mid-American Conference.

Missouri quickly proved that it would be a leader of the conference by winning the MAC Championship tournament on March 10.

The Tigers won in dominant fashion with all 10 wrestlers placing in their weight class. Alan Waters (125 pounds), Nathan McCormick (133 pounds), Drake Houdashelt (149 pounds) and Dom Bradley (heavyweight) took home the gold in their weight class.

Coach Brian Smith said that he and the team knew they would win walking in. 

"We knew that if we wrestled to our potential at the tournament, we should win it hands down," Smith said. "There was no question in our minds that we were going to do that."

Missouri finished with a record-breaking team score of 136 points. The Tigers also ended Central Michigan's 11-year conference championship streak. The Chippewas finished in second place with 88 points. 

Smith said the reason Missouri won by such a large margin was multiple wrestlers earning bonus points.

"What we did great at the tournament was score bonus points," Smith said. "I think we had bonus points in half of the matches, if not more."

The tournament win was one of many highlights for Missouri's season. The Tigers finished seventh out of 72 teams at the NCAA Championship on March 23. Waters, McCormick, Houdashelt, Bradley and Mike Larson earned All-American honors, tying the school record for most All-Americans in a single season.

For winning the conference in such dominant fashion, Smith was named the 2013 MAC Coach of the Year. Smith said winning the NCAA Championship is still the team's ultimate goal.

"For us, the MAC (Championship) was a big thing, but performing at the national tournament is what we focus on year in and year out," Smith said. 

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