Wrestlers gain experience at Missouri Open

MU won five of the 10 individual titles.
Monday, November 21, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:12 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Although there was no team score kept, the Missouri wrestling team stood out as the big winners at the sixth annual Missouri Open on Sunday at the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse.

The Tigers won five of the 10 individual titles, and six other Tigers wrestlers placed in the top five of their weight classes.

“We had some people do really well,” coach Brian Smith said. “We had five champs, so I’m very pleased with that.”

The highly competitive Missouri Open featured five teams from the Top-20 teams in the country. The tournament also included top-ranked wrestlers from around the nation.

“It’s a good tournament to get better,” Smith said. “There are a lot of good wrestlers in this tournament.”

Missouri’s Ben Askren, who is No. 1 at 174 pounds in the preseason rankings, dominated his weight class. After pinning his first three opponents, the junior captured the title with a 25-10 technical fall against No. 16 Donny Reynolds of Illinois. Askren improved to 10-0.

Although he didn’t not win the tournament, sophomore Tyler McCormick’s performance at 133 pounds was also impressive. McCormick battled top-ranked Shawn Bunch of Edinboro in the finals, but fell 9-4.

“I was pleased with little McCormick’s performance,” Smith said. “He did a lot of good things. I thought he wrestled well.”

Tyler’s older brother Chris McCormick won at 141-pounds. He defeated teammate Josh Wagner 4-1 in the finals. They have been fighting for the varsity spot all season.

Arguably the biggest win of the day for the Tigers took place at 184 pounds when Raymond Jordan upset top-seed Alex Clemsen of Edinboro. Smith said he has come to expect upsets from Jordan, who also beat No. 20 Gregg Nurrenbern of Truman State on Sunday.

“He has the talent,” Smith said. “He’s just not seeded first because he hasn’t made a name for himself yet. That’s what he’s doing now.”

Smith said the tournament provides the team with good experience, and it also gives him a chance to assess the team’s progress.

“We still have some things we need to improve on,” Smith said. “I think we could be more aggressive at times. But I feel like we’re getting better every week.”

The Tigers have two weeks to make adjustments before traveling to Las Vegas for the Cliff Keen Invitational on Dec. 2-3.

Missouri senior Austin DeVoe (125 pounds) and junior Matt Pell (165) also won titles.

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