Reese plays role of fall guy

Wednesday, February 18, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:19 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

J.P. Reese has a unique wrestling style that allows him to earn a lot of falls. So many falls that he owns the Missouri record.

Missouri coach Brian Smith said Reese (141) is one of the most dangerous wrestlers in the nation because of his ability to get a fall in any situation.

“He’s pinned the national champions before,’’ Smith said. “He’s pinned All-Americans. It’s not just the average guys he’s pinning. He can pin anybody at any moment.”

Reese is No. 18 in the latest Intermat poll. He has 15 falls this season and 46 in his career. Reese said he earns so many falls because his technique is more pin oriented and because of his unique frame of mind going into a match.

“The other guys go out there and try to get a takedown,’’ Reese said. “I go out there and I’m like, ‘I’m going to throw this kid to his back.”’

Reese is looking for another fall during the dual against Northern Illinois at 4 p.m. today at the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse.

Smith said the Tigers, ranked No. 5 in the nation, need to be competitive against the Huskies.“They beat us last year,” Smith said. “They always come and wrestle hard. If you have a letdown, have a couple guys not wrestle their best, it’s going to be a tight dual.”

Smith said coming off a loss against Iowa State (20-15) on Friday the Tigers (13-3) need a win to boost their confidence for the coming conference match against Oklahoma at noon Sunday in the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse.

Reese said he thinks the team shouldn’t have a problem getting the win but can’t go into the match assuming it’s going to be easy.

When Reese arrived at Missouri the team never had the luxury of assuming any match was going to be easy.In his five-year tenure, Reese has seen the program do a turnaround.

“When I came here … I think there’s like 90 Division I programs and we were like right at the bottom,” Reese said. “Now we’re up at the top, so I’ve seen a whole turnaround in five years.”

Reese said he and his teammates are trying to create a dynasty.

“We feel we work harder than any other school in all aspects: running, lifting, wrestling,” Reese said.

Reese also said chemistry is a big part of the team’s success. He said the team spends all of its time together traveling across the country and going to camps and tournaments.

In a pair of excellent matchups, Missouri captain Jeremy Spates (No. 3) will wrestle Josh Wooton (No. 13) at 149, and MU redshirt freshman Matt Pell (No. 8) will meet Ben Heizer (No. 2) at 184.

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