Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Mat-titude!

So, for the second week in a row, Mizzou is in Sports Illustrated — and, unlike last week, this time it's positive coverage:

Our wrestlers are awesome.

Under ninth-year coach Brian Smith, the Tigers have risen from the depths of the Big 12 to No. 3 in the country and, thanks largely to [undefeated-over-the-past-two-years Ben] Askren, muscled past reigning four-time national champ Oklahoma State in their conference.

The depths of the Big 12, indeed. That's where they were our freshman year, when I watched them scrape out a tie against Missouri Valley (an NAIA school!) in the Hearnes Fieldhouse. They went 7-10-1 (0-4 in the Big 12) that season, their ninth losing one in a row.

But not only is it great that MU is doing so well — eight wrestlers are going to this weekend's national championships, two of them seeded first in their weight classes — I'm just as happy by this picture:





Look closely: That match is in the Hearnes Center. The wrestlers are no longer relegated to the Fieldhouse, which most students know as "where they have the blood drives, which no longer earn sororities points." And there are people there too! So maybe the student body is noticing after all.

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