Missouri wrestlers dominated the semifinal rounds of the Missouri Open on Sunday, but familiar competition stopped them in the finals.
About 400 wrestlers from more than 20 teams competed on 12 mats at the fourth annual tournament at the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse. Five Tigers wrestlers reached the finals, the most from any team. Only one gained a title, though, with two falling in their finals to wrestlers from Oklahoma State.
The Tigers had one day of rest after their 21-17 victory against the Cowboys on Friday snapped the Cowboys’ 24-match winning streak.
Missouri’s Ben Askren, the third seed at 174 pounds, pinned Missouri Valley’s Kiel Grese in 32 seconds in the second round and Central Missouri State’s Brett Barbarick in 38 seconds in the quarterfinals. He fell 7-3 in the final, though, to Oklahoma State’s Chris Pendleton.
The match was decided in a flurry of moves at the finish. Pendleton, the top seed, led 3-1 with less than 10 seconds left. Askren tied at 3 with a reversal, but another reversal by Pendleton secured the win.
Pendleton had defeated Askren 9-7 in overtime at Friday’s dual meet. Askren said his next goal is to beat Pendleton.
“He’s the one to beat,” Askren said. “I’m right there with him and I can’t keep making these mistakes.”
InterMat ranks Pendleton No. 2 and Askren No. 10 in the nation at 174 pounds. Askren could wrestle Pendleton at the National Duals, Big 12 Tournament and NCAA Final Tournament.
“Every time that match is going to be a dogfight,” Tigers coach Brian Smith said. “Especially after we cut out the mistakes, he is going to be a
tough kid to beat.”
Missouri’s Tyron Woodley and Oklahome State’s Tyrone Lewis, two All-Americans, met in the 165-pound final with Lewis prevailing 8-2. Woodley couldn’t come back from a takedown and a 3-point nearfall in the first period. Lewis had defeated Woodley 11-5 on Friday.
Missouri’s Jeremy Spates, the No. 2 seed, defeated No. 4 Matt McIntire of Indiana 4-3 in the 149-pound final to give the Tigers their only championship.
Missouri’s J.P. Reese forfeited the 141-pound final because of a sprained knee. Reese had two pins at the tournament, putting him at 35. Heavyweight Kevin Herron set the Tiger record for most pins in a season at 41 last season.
The Tigers’ Kenny Burleson, the second seed at 157 pounds, lost 3-1 to Illinois’ Alex Tirapelle in the their final.
Smith said he was pleased with the outcome of the tournament.
“You have a bull’s-eye on your shirt when you pull off an upset like that, then everyone wants to beat you,” Smith said. “I am pleased with the performance our team gave today. We had five individuals in the finals, that’s the most we’ve ever taken.”