Missouri crowned its third wrestling National Champion after senior 184-pounder Max Askren’s 10-3 victory over top-seeded Kirk Smith of Boise State. Click here to listen to Askren’s post match comments.
Askren started the match out strong racking up seven points in the first period to counter Smith’s sole escape. With a 7-1 lead, the Hartland, Wis. Native began the second period in the down position, earning a point for an escape. Smith made a run at Askren, picking up a takedown to begin the third period, with Askren escaping again at the :30 mark. With a point for riding time, Askren won the match by decision, 10-3, and became Missouri’s first National Champion at 184 pounds.
“It feels great. I’m just happy I was able to do what everybody around me thought i could do. I know my technique was always up to part to be a National Champion and in the finalist finally came out,” said Askren. “I was the one hiding my ability. I was afraid of what I was capable of doing or not doing. The pressure was trying and holding oneself back. At some point, I had to do it.”
As a team, the Tigers finished the 80th annual Division I Wrestling Championships in tenth with 48 points. Iowa captured its third consecutive team title with 134.5 points, while Cornell took second (90 points) and Iowa State third (75 points). The top-10 finish is Missouri’s fourth in program history, with the last coming in 2009 when the Tigers finished seventh. Three of the top-10 finishes have come under current Head Coach Brian Smith.
20-2 for the season, Askren finishes his career with a record of 104-16 and stands at 13th on Missouri’s top career victories list.
In addition to Askren, Mark Ellis collected his second All-America honor, finishing sixth at heavyweight.
In the first NCAA Championships to be held at Nebraska’s Qwest Center, over 93,702 fans attended the event over six sessions, including over 15,617 at the title finals.
Story courtesy of mutigers.com