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Drake

Drake It to the Limit

Mizzou senior Drake Houdashelt becomes NCAA national wrestling champion; Tigers team finishes fourth

Mizzou wrestlers arrived at the 2015 NCAA DI Wrestling Championships in St. Louis with all 10 wrestlers qualified to compete. After three long days and six sessions of wrestling, the Tigers earned a team trophy, finishing in fourth place out of 69 teams. The top finishers earning All-American recognition included senior Drake Houdashelt (national champion, 149 pounds), senior Alan Waters (third place, 125 pounds), sophomore J'Den Cox (fifth place, 197 pounds), sophomore Levion Mayes (seventh place, 141 pounds) and freshman Willie Miklus (seventh place, 184 pounds). Houdashelt is only the fifth University of Missouri wrestler to win the NCAA tournament and become a national champion.

Drake Houdashelt hugs head assistant coach Alex Clemsen after defeating Edinboro's David Habat 3-1 in sudden victory for a national title.

Senior Drake Houdashelt hugs head assistant coach Alex Clemsen after defeating Edinboro's David Habat 3-1 in sudden victory for a national title.

Drake Houdashelt enters the main floor of the Scottrade Center

In the first match of the NCAA DI Wrestling Championship Finals and the last match of his college career, Drake Houdashelt enters the main floor of the Scottrade Center to Johnny Cash's version of 'Hurt.' A three-time All-American, Houdashelt finished sixth as a sophomore and fifth as a junior.

Drake Houdashelt raises his arms and faces Mizzou fans in celebration of being a national champion.

Drake Houdashelt raises his arms and faces Mizzou fans in celebration of becoming a national champion. Houdashelt's father is among many of his family members in the crowd.

Wrestlers shouting to the crowd.

Wrestlers and coaches share a M-I-Z! Z-O-U! chant with fans after taking fourth place in the 2015 DI NCAA Wrestling Championships with a total of five All-Americans. Only two team points separated Mizzou from earning third place. Ohio State, Iowa and Edinboro took the top three spots.

More than 18,000 wrestling fans fill the Scottrade Center and watch the action on eight mats for Session 3 of the NCAA DI Wrestling Championships.

More than 18,000 wrestling fans fill the Scottrade Center and watch the action on eight mats for Session 3 of the NCAA DI Wrestling Championships.

Drake Houdashelt throws Edinboro opponent David Habat to the mat in the third period of their match to maintain a 1-0 lead before Habat escapes and ties the match.

Drake Houdashelt throws Edinboro opponent David Habat to the mat in the third period of their match to maintain a 1-0 lead before Habat escapes and ties the match.

Returning national champion J'Den Cox celebrates a 3-2 victory on Friday morning against Michigan's Max Huntley in the 197-pound division.

Returning national champion J'Den Cox celebrates a 3-2 victory Friday morning against Michigan's Max Huntley in the 197-pound division.

Lavion Mayes lifts Nebraska's Anthony Abidin in a 141-pound match on Friday night. Mayes won with a 16-8 major decision and earned himself All-American status.

Sophomore Lavion Mayes lifts Nebraska's Anthony Abidin in a 141-pound match Friday night. Mayes won with a 16-8 major decision and earned All-American status.

Nebraska's Anthony Abidin yells in pain after Lavion Mayes brings him to the mat in the 141-pound weight class.

Nebraska's Anthony Abidin yells in pain after Lavion Mayes brings him to the mat in the 141-pound weight class.

Fans enter the Scottrade Center in downtown St. Louis for the 2015 NCAA DI Wrestling Championships.

Fans enter the Scottrade Center in downtown St. Louis for the 2015 NCAA DI Wrestling Championships.

Senior Drake Houdashelt faces Mizzou fans after defeating Cornell's Christopher Villalonga in the semi-finals and earning Houdashelt his first trip to a national title match.

Drake Houdashelt faces Mizzou fans after defeating Cornell's Christopher Villalonga in the semi-finals and earning Houdashelt his first trip to a national title match.

Head coach Brian Smith looks for an explanation about a call by the referee in Alan Waters match against Michigan's Conor Youtsey in Session 2 on Thursday night.

Head coach Brian Smith looks for an explanation about a call by the referee in Alan Waters match against Michigan's Conor Youtsey in Session 2 Thursday night.

Freshman Willie Miklus returns Lehigh's Nathaniel Brown to the mat in the 184-pound weight class.

Freshman Willie Miklus returns Lehigh's Nathaniel Brown to the mat in the 184-pound weight class.

Willie Miklus faces Mizzou fans and celebrates a 6-5 victory against Nebraska's Timothy Dudley for seventh place and All-American recognition in the 184 pound weight class.

Willie Miklus faces Mizzou fans and celebrates a 6-5 victory against Nebraska's Timothy Dudley for seventh place and All-American recognition in the 184 pound weight class.

Head coach Brian Smith warms up his team in a make-shift practice room on the second floor of the Scottrade Center.

Head coach Brian Smith warms up his team in a makeshift practice room on the second floor of the Scottrade Center.

Mizzou fans cheer on the Tigers at the Scottrade Center on Friday morning.

Mizzou fans cheer on the Tigers at the Scottrade Center Friday morning.

J'Den Cox faces Mizzou fans and celebrates a 4-2 win against Duke's Conner Hartmann for fifth place and All-American recognition in the 197 pound division.

Sophomore J'Den Cox faces Mizzou fans and celebrates a 4-2 win against Duke's Conner Hartmann for fifth place and All-American recognition in the 197-pound division.

Mizzou super fan Larry Wyatt II leads the M-I-Z-Z-O-U chant in the Tiger section of the crowd.

Mizzou super fan Larry Wyatt II leads the M-I-Z! Z-O-U! chant in the Tiger section of the crowd.

Head assistant coach Alex Clemsen points out a move in Drake Houdashelt's match against Purdue's Brandon Nelson.

Head assistant coach Alex Clemsen points out a move in Drake Houdashelt's match against Purdue's Brandon Nelson.

Wrestling fans check the brackets of all ten weight classes to identify the winners and losers in each division.

Wrestling fans check the brackets of all 10 weight classes to identify the winners and losers in each division.

Sophomore Zach Synon takes Nebraska's Eric Montoya to the mat in the 133-pound weight class.

Sophomore Zach Synon takes Nebraska's Eric Montoya to the mat in the 133-pound weight class.

Senior Devin Mellon takes a shot against Michigan's Adam Coon in Session 2 on Thursday evening in the 285-pound division.

Senior Devin Mellon takes a shot against Michigan's Adam Coon in Session 2 Thursday evening in the 285-pound division.

Sophomore Joey Lavallee kneels to the mat before his 8-6 win against Oklahoma's Justin DeAngelis in the 157-pound weight class.

Sophomore Joey Lavallee kneels to the mat before his 8-6 win against Oklahoma's Justin DeAngelis in the 157-pound weight class.

Senior Mikey England takes on Pittsburgh's Troy Reaghard for an eventual 12-4 major decision victory in the 165-pound weight class.

Senior Mikey England takes on Pittsburgh's Troy Reaghard for an eventual 12-4 major decision victory in the 165-pound weight class.

Senior Alan Waters prepares for his semi-finals match against Ohio State's Nathan Tomasello on Friday night.

Senior Alan Waters prepares for his semi-finals match against Ohio State's Nathan Tomasello Friday night.

Willie Miklus celebrates a 13-7 win against Oregon State's Taylor Meeks for immediate qualification as a top-8 finisher and All-American recognition.

Willie Miklus celebrates a 13-7 win against Oregon State's Taylor Meeks for immediate qualification as a top-8 finisher and All-American recognition.

More than 18,000 spectators fill the Scottrade Center on March 21, 2015, to watch the top 20 wresters in the country battle for first and second place.

More than 18,000 spectators fill the Scottrade Center March 21, 2015, to watch the top 20 wrestlers in the country battle for first and second place.

After escaping and taking a 1-0 lead, Drake Houdashelt takes a shot in the second period of his national championship match against Edinboro's David Habat.

After escaping and taking a 1-0 lead, Drake Houdashelt takes a shot in the second period of his national championship match against Edinboro's David Habat.

Sophomore Joey Lavallee defeats Boise State's Steven Hernandez by a 9-0 major decision in the 157-pound weight class on Thursday evening.

Sophomore Joey Lavallee defeats Boise State's Steven Hernandez by a 9-0 major decision in the 157-pound weight class Thursday evening.

Head coach Brian Smith and head assistant coach Alex Clemsen keep an eye on J'Den Cox on Saturday morning in his fifth match of the tournament against Penn State's Morgan McIntosh.

Head coach Brian Smith and head assistant coach Alex Clemsen keep an eye on J'Den Cox Saturday morning in his fifth match of the tournament against Penn State's Morgan McIntosh.

J'Den Cox loses his second match of the tournament by a score of 3-1 against Penn State's Morgan McIntosh.

J'Den Cox loses his second match of the tournament by a score of 3-1 against Penn State's Morgan McIntosh.

Lavion Mayes lifts Nebraska's Anthony Abidin in a 141-pound match on Friday night.

Lavion Mayes lifts Nebraska's Anthony Abidin in a 141-pound match on Friday night. Mayes won with a 16-8 major decision and earned All-American status.

Assistant coach Joe Johnston squats next to Lavion Mayes on Friday nigh after Mayes qualified to be an All-American in the 141-pound weight class.

Assistant coach Joe Johnston squats next to Lavion Mayes Friday night after Mayes qualified to be an All-American in the 141-pound weight class.

Willie Miklus celebrates a win by pin against Wisconsin's Richard Roberston in the 184-pound division.

Willie Miklus celebrates a win by pin against Wisconsin's Richard Roberston in the 184-pound division.

Senior Johnny Eblan takes Iowa State's Tanner Weatherman to the mat on his way to a 8-0 major decision win in the 174-pound weight class.

Senior Johnny Eblan takes Iowa State's Tanner Weatherman to the mat on his way to a 8-0 major-decision win in the 174-pound weight class.

Lavion Mayes takes Iowa's Josh Dziewa to the mat for a 9-3 win in the 141-pound weight class.

Lavion Mayes takes Iowa's Josh Dziewa to the mat for a 9-3 win in the 141-pound weight class.

Head coach Brian Smith accompanies sophomore J'Den Cox in a tunnel leading to the main floor of the Scottrade Center on Saturday morning.

Head coach Brian Smith accompanies sophomore J'Den Cox in a tunnel leading to the main floor of the Scottrade Center Saturday morning. Cox lost his first match of the season during the previous evening of wrestling in the semi-finals.

Alan Waters defeats Iowa's Thomas Gilman with an 8-4 final score and earns third place for an All-American finish in the 125 pound weight class.

Alan Waters defeats Iowa's Thomas Gilman with an 8-4 final score and earns third place for an All-American finish in the 125 pound weight class.

Head assistant coach Alex Clemsen, left, and head coach Brian Smith watch Drake Houdashelt compete in the semi-finals on Friday night.

Head assistant coach Alex Clemsen, left, and head coach Brian Smith watch Drake Houdashelt compete in the semi-finals on Friday night.

Before the championship finals begin, sophomore J'Den Cox and Willie Miklus stand on the main stage will all eighty All-Americans.

Before the championship finals begin, sophomore J'Den Cox and freshman Willie Miklus stand on the main stage will all 80 All-Americans.

J'Den Cox removes his fifth place trophy from its packaging after awards were given in the 197 pound division.

J'Den Cox removes his fifth-place trophy from its packaging after awards have been distributed in the 197-pound division. Cox earned a national championship in 2014 as a freshman.

Minutes after becoming a national champion, Drake Houdashelt attends a press conference where he answers questions from the media.

Minutes after becoming a national champion, Drake Houdashelt attends a press conference, during which he answers questions from the media.

Drake Houdashelt hugs competitor David Habat (Edinboro) after their match for the national title where Houdashelt won in sudden victory for a 3-1 final score.

Drake Houdashelt hugs competitor David Habat (Edinboro) after their match for the national title where Houdashelt won in sudden victory for a 3-1 final score.

Drake Houdashelt hugs teammate Willie Miklus after finishing his press conference and being congratulated by Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.

Drake Houdashelt hugs teammate Willie Miklus after finishing his press conference and being congratulated by Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.

Drake Houdashelt faces the Mizzou section of the crowd at the Scottrade Center and pumps his fist while standing in the top spot on the 149 pound podium.

Drake Houdashelt faces the Mizzou section of the crowd at the Scottrade Center and pumps his fist while standing in the top spot on the 149-pound podium.

Before the championship finals begin, Senior Alan Waters stands on the main stage will all eighty All-Americans.

Before the championship finals begin, senior Alan Waters stands on the main stage will all 80 All-Americans.

Head coach Brian Smith answers questions from the media about Drake Houdashelt.

Head coach Brian Smith answers questions from the media about national champion Drake Houdashelt.

Before the championship finals begin, sophomore Lavion Mayes stands on the main stage will all eighty All-Americans.

Before the championship finals begin, sophomore Lavion Mayes stands on the main stage will all 80 All-Americans.

Drake Houdashelt sits on the floor and stares at the completed bracket for the 149 pound weight class.

Drake Houdashelt sits on the floor and stares at a completed bracket for the 149-pound weight class. Houdashelt was the top seed and won all five of his matches to earn first place out of 34 wrestlers.

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