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A slamming event

Mizzou wrestling and gymnastics compete side by side

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  • Story by Shane Epping
  • Published: Feb. 6, 2008
Nicholas Marable takes down Jake Dieffenbach

At the 165-pound weight class, No. 2 ranked Mizzou wrestler Nicholas Marable takes down No. 5 ranked Oklahoma State wrestler Jake Dieffenbach for a 3-1 win in overtime on Jan. 19. Photo by Shane Epping.

When the Hearnes Center is rocking, don’t be afraid to come knocking. Just before Valentine’s Day, “Beauty and the Beast” arrives in Columbia — but this show won’t be a musical.

On Friday, Feb. 8, the Tiger gymnastics team will compete alongside the Mizzou wrestling squad at Hearnes for the second annual combined event.

Gymnastics initiates the affair at 6:30 p.m., and wrestling keeps the passion alive at 7:30 p.m. Action will overlap for about an hour while gymnasts take on Centenary College and wrestlers battle the University of Oklahoma. Last year’s crowd for this event included more than 6,000 non-secret admirers. “Everybody talked about what a great night it was and how much fun it was to bring the whole family,” wrestling Coach Brian Smith says. “It’s a big dual [meet] for us, and we’d like to set a new attendance record.”

The No. 11 wrestling team has several top-10 grapplers in their respective weight classes this season, including Big 12 Wrestlers of the Week Nicholas Marable (Jan. 28) at No. 2 and Max Askren (Jan. 14) at No. 9, plus Raymond Jordan at No. 4. Top-20 wrestlers include Mark Ellis, Michael Chandler and Josh Wagner. With wrestlers in more than half of the 10 total weight classes sporting a top-20 ranking, the team (7-3-1 overall, 0-1-1 Big 12) treats every day like the national tournament. “We’re not afraid to talk about nationals,” Smith says. “Our goal is to win a national title.”

For Max Askren — who started wrestling with his older brother, Ben, Mizzou’s first national champion — wrestling always has been a blend of pleasure and hard work, the perfect combination for this event. “I just want to go out there and have fun,” Askren says. “But, of course, I never train to lose.”

Friday night’s upcoming dual meet against Oklahoma will be followed by the team’s last home match against Oregon State at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10.

Junior gymnast Adrianne Perry

Gymnast Adrianne Perry has worked her way into the national spotlight and ranks 15th in the all-around. Photo courtesy of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Mizzou gymnastics, like Mizzou wrestling, has made huge strides in national prominence in the past few years. The team is ranked at No. 14 currently. Adrianne Perry is ranked 15th in the nation in the all-around (a combination of events), and Sarah Shire ranks 12th in the nation in the floor event.

Admission for “Beauty and the Beast” is $5 for adults, $3 for children or free with two canned food items for the Central Missouri Food Bank.

Read more in:  Sports

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Last updated: Feb. 22, 2012