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Wrestling on the edge

Three Mizzou grapplers earn All-America honors at NCAA championship

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  • Story and photos by Shane Epping
  • Published: March 25, 2008
Junior Michael Chandler against Iowa State's Cyler Sanderson

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Junior Michael Chandler attempted to keep his feet inside the circle of competition as he went for a takedown against Iowa States Cyler Sanderson in the 157-pound weight class of the 2008 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

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College wrestling fans filled the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on March 20–22 for the 2008 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

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Iowa's Phillip Keddy grabbed sixth-seeded Raymond Jordan from behind. Jordan fought to loosen Keddy's grasp during the fifth-place match in the 184-pound class.

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In his final match of the tournament, fifth-seeded sophomore Max Askren defeated Iowa State's David Bertolino in overtime with a sudden victory takedown. The win placed Askren seventh overall in the 197-pound weight division.

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In front of more than 15,000 fans, Josh Wagner competed against Northern Iowa's Nick Pickerell in the 149-pound weight class. Wagner won with a pin in the first period.

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After picking up Northern Iowa's Moza Fay and then going out of bounds, third-seed Nick Marable released Fay to the mat. Marable won the match 7-4.

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In the first round of the 133-pound weight class competition, Tyler McCormick shot a double-leg takedown on Tyler Dillashaw of Cal State Fullerton. McCormick won 5-2.

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After a 5-4 win against John Wise of Illinois in the heavyweight division, twelfth-seeded Mark Ellis took a moment to celebrate.

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Before Raymond Jordan's semifinal match, a Mizzou fan inspired those around her to chant, “M-I-Z, Z-O-U.” Mizzou wrestling fans purchased approximately 1,200 seats in the Scottrade Center.

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After defeating Cornell's Mack Lewnes, and earning a third-place finish, sophomore Nick Marable raised his arms and faced the Mizzou fans. Marable is a first-time All-American and NCAA Championship competitor.

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Max Askren took down Indiana's Joe Fagiano with a fireman's carry in the first round of competition. Askren went on to win 15-5.

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During an injury timeout called by Tyler McCormick's opponent, Mizzou Head Coach Brian Smith (left) and Assistant Coach Shawn Charles encouraged McCormick to stay focused.

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Raymond Jordan, battling to finish higher than his sixth-seed ranking, took repeated shots against Iowa's Phillip Keddy.

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After losing to Lock Haven's Matthew Fittery, Josh Wagner prepared for a match against Nick Pickerell of Northern Iowa.

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Junior Michael Chandler pointed to his mom in the crowd after winning a 5-3 victory against higher-ranked opponent Cyler Sanderson of Iowa State.

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After winning his first match, two-time All-American Tyler McCormick won his first match but lost 6-1 against James Kennedy of Illinois. Even though the senior suffered an injury-plagued 2007–08 season, Mizzou Head Coach Brian Smith said, “I couldn't be more proud of him.”

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On his way to a 5-3 win in the third round of championship competition, Nick Marable picked up Iowa State's Jonathan Reader.

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Michael Chandler took on Iowa State's Cyler Sanderson in the second round of competition.

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Head Coach Brian Smith watched Raymond Jordan compete for fifth place against Iowa's Phillip Keddy.

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After a 6-4 win against Phillip Keddy, junior Raymond Jordan faced Mizzou fans and pointed in their direction. Jordan, making his third appearance at the NCAA Championships, placed fifth and earned his first All-America title.

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In a close match against Central Michigan's No. 4 seed Wynn Michalak, sophomore Max Askren lost by only one point. After a win against the No. 1 seed, Michalak advanced to the finals where he placed second.

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Sophomore Mark Ellis, Missouri's first heavyweight since 1995 to make back-to-back appearances at the NCAA Championships, lost 4-2 against Oklahoma State's Jared Rosholt, seeded fifth in the bracket.

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In his final match against Cornell's fourth-seeded Mack Lewnes, Nick Marable set up a takedown to defend his third seed.

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After winning three consecutive matches in the consolation bracket, two by fall, senior Josh Wagner lost to Brandon Carter of Central Michigan and was eliminated.

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Ben Askren, volunteer assistant coach and two-time national champion, welcomed his younger brother, Max, off the mat. Max had just lost a match against Nebraskas Craig Brester.

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Before his match against Northern Iowa's Moza Fay, Nick Marable received last minute advice from Head Coach Brian Smith. “The toughest thing about wrestling in this tournament is nerves,” Marable said.

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Nick Marable stood between Iowa's Mark Perry (left) and Northern Iowa's Moza Fay when he received his third-place NCAA trophy. Marable was one of Mizzou's three All-Americans this year, along with fifth-place finisher Raymond Jordan and seventh-place finisher Max Askren.

Nerves — not opponents — put Mizzou wrestler Nick Marable on edge at the 2008 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. The sophomore managed to control his edginess. He lost only one match. He won his final match over Cornell's Mack Lewnes to place third in the 165-pound weight class and earn his first All-America title.

Junior Raymond Jordan and sophomore Max Askren joined Marable on the winner's podium at the wrestling championship. Jordan and Askren also earned All-America honors for the first time at the championship, held at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, March 20–22. (See slide show of championship action at right.)

Jordan said a comment by Mizzou Head Coach Brian Smith on the final morning of competition motivated him to be more aggressive. In his final match against Iowa’s Phillip Keddy, Jordan won with a takedown in overtime to secure fifth place in the 184-pound class.

After defeating third-seeded Mike Tamillow from Northwestern, Max Askren earned All-American status before losing to Nebraska’s Craig Brester 9-2. Askren rebounded and beat Iowa State’s David Bertolino in sudden victory overtime to win seventh place in the 195-pound weight class.

Ranked as high as third at one point, Mizzou finished eleventh out of 74 teams. With three All-Americans from the 2007–08 season returning next year, as well as national qualifiers Michael Chandler and Mark Ellis, Mizzou wrestling Head Coach Brian Smith expects his team to keep taking challengers down. 

“Our success is not a fluke," Smith said. "We’re going to be tough for a while.”

Read more in:  SportsBeyond Campus

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Last updated: Feb. 22, 2012