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overall — trailing only two of the seven previous tournaments held in 6W /RXLV ³ WKH


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raised mat at the Scottrade Center. Meanwhile, ESPN announced that a record 8.6 million viewers watched the three-day event over its different cable and on-line outlets.


6. Olympians Prevail – Not since Barry Davis won an NCAA


championship in 1985, one year after the former Hawkeye earned a silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, had an Olympic freestyle med- alist competed in a Division I Championships. Missouri’s Cox and Ohio State’s Snyder won additional college titles after earning a bronze and gold medal, respectively, in Rio last summer.


7. At Home in Missouri — St. Louis is located just 125 miles


from the Missouri campus, which might make some think that the Tiger wrestling program has quite a “home-mat” advantage during the eight different times the Arch City has hosted the NCAAs. But it wasn’t until this year’s event, where three Missouri wrestlers, Cox, Lavion Mayes (149) DQG -RH\ /DYDOOHH


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was named NWCA Coach of the Year. Five years earlier, when the NCAAs were held in St. Louis, another


group of Missouri wrestlers were coming off a Big 12 championship but failed to place anyone and settled for 26th place. “I wanted to quit coaching,” recalled Smith of that time. “We just won


the Big 12s but came out and laid a big egg (at the NCAAs). “Obviously, the blame had to be on me, and I just remember how I drove


12 hours (to get a dog). I bought a puppy, and I’ve still got that puppy, and he reminds me I’ve got to coach them up because I don’t want that feeling again. But I love my dog.”


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round at 174 pounds but came EDFN WR ZLQ ÀYH RI VL[ ZUHVWOH- backs to claim seventh place.


GINGER ROBINSON PHOTO Kyle Crutchmer (left) of


8. Record-tying Cowboy AAs — As legendary as the Okla- homa State wrestling program is, this current OSU team tied the school record for most All-Americans as eight Cowboys ÀQLVKHG LQ WKH WRS HLJKW RI WKHLU weight classes in St. Louis. Six other Oklahoma State teams also placed eight in a year, but this ZDV WKH ÀUVW WLPH FRDFK -RKQ Smith saw that many wrestlers reach the medal stand in over 25 years.


9. Goodbye Gary – Chad Walsh (165) and Ryan Wolfe (197)


made sure their coach, Gary Taylor, got a chance to smile on his 39th DQG ÀQDO 1&$$ WRXUQDPHQW DV WKH 5LGHU ZUHVWOHUV HDUQHG $OO $PHULFDQ honors.


“Last year, it was about me,” said Walsh. “This year, it was about


honoring him and sending him off right. We wanted to be on the national VWDJH LQ WKH ÀQDOV EXW WR JHW KLP WZR PRUH $OO $PHULFDQV LV D EHDXWLIXO thing.”


10. Changes at the Top – Three programs — Pitt, Iowa State and


Virginia Tech — wrestled in the NCAAs without head coaches who started the year at those schools. The most notable departure came when Kevin Dresser announced he was taking over at Iowa State, where former Cyclone coach Kevin Jackson announced he would not coach in St. Louis. Meanwhile, at Minnesota, which was adjusting to longtime coach J


5RELQVRQ EHLQJ ÀUHG EHIRUH WKH VHDVRQ EHJDQ WKH *RSKHUV SHUIRUPHG very well under new coach and Minnesota alum Brandon Eggum as two ZUHVWOHUV ³ /L]DN DQG %UHWW 3IDUU ³ UHDFKHG WKH ÀQDOV DQG ZHUH among four Gophers to place. Q


USA WRESTLER/WIN MAGAZINE 17


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