Mizzou Beats Wyoming for Howell Crowd

Article excerpt

The University of Missouri wrestling team made its first appearance in St. Charles County a successful one Monday night.

The Tigers, ranked 23rd nationally, beat the University of Wyoming 21-17 in a dual meet at Francis Howell High.

"Going in, we figured it'd be pretty tight," Mizzou coach Wes Roper said. "We're not at full strength right now, so it was nice to be able to pull it out. We got a big lift when Brooks Travis got the pin at 118 pounds and again when (heavyweight) Jeremey Lay got the quick pin.

"The bonus points in those two matches were the difference tonight."

Travis, a sophomore from Arkansas City, Kan., pinned Wyoming freshman Chris Bryson 1 minute, 26 seconds into the night's first match.

The dual meet concluded when Lay, a senior from Hiawatha, Kan., needed just 35 seconds to pin Cowboys' freshman Keyn Mader. Lay (15-3) is ranked eighth nationally.

"It was an exciting finish, no doubt about it," said Roper.

Missouri's team triumph also included a slow-paced 2-0 victory by Francis Howell North product Jason Sexton over Wyoming's Pete Szymczak at 167.

A senior who's ranked 11th nationally, Sexton improved to 19-7 on the season.

"Jason wrestled a smart match," Roper said. "He wanted the pin tonight in front of the hometown fans, but he didn't force it. (Szymnczak) wasn't going to open up, so Jason took what was there and got the win - that was the key."

Fourth-ranked Kenny Liddell (McCluer North) won a 12-8 victory over the Cowboys' Jason Gregersen in a match at 142. Liddell, a senior, is 21-2 on the season.

Missouri's other winner was sophomore Justin Thaw (Newton, Kan.); he posted an 8-4 decision over Wyoming's Darin Smith at 190.

Wyoming was led by senior Reese (Andy, who's ranked third nationally at 177 pounds. Other Cowboy winners were Justin Martin (major decision at 126), Tom Hickenlooper (134), Shilo Mathill (match termination at 150) and Brandon Alderman (158).

"There were some pivotal matches that could've gone either way," Roper said. "But again, the pins at 118 and at heavyweight gave us the points we needed for the win."

Missouri was scheduled to return to Big Eight action Tuesday, playing host to Iowa State in a dual at the Hearnes Center.

Roper said the switch to Francis Howell was forced by the Big Monday basketball game between Missouri and Kansas at the Hearnes Center.

KU knocked off the Tigers 102-89.

"We'd already agreed on the date with Wyoming when ESPN announced its schedule," the coach said. …