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Missouri's Ben Askren named Big 12 Wrestler of the Month



IRVING, Texas - Missouri's Ben Askren has been named Big 12 Wrestler of the Month for his performances in December, the conference announced. Askren receives this recognition for the third time in his collegiate career.

At the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, Askren pinned Big 12 rival Casey Roberts of Nebraska in 1:35 improving to 4-0 on the season against league opponents. Pinning all five of his competitors, Askren collected his third consecutive Cliff Keen Invitational Title and first Most Outstanding Wrestler and Gorrarian Awards in four appearances at the tournament. The senior from Hartland, Wis., now claims the No. 1 spot for his weight division at 174 pounds.

After Vegas, the co-captain continued his streak in Michigan, dropping sixth-ranked Brandon Sinnott of Central Michigan in 2:56 and John Murphy of Michigan State in 1:18. At the Tigers' home opener, Askren was paired with No. 2 Keith Gavin of Pittsburgh and pinned the Panther in 2:34.

Missouri wrapped up 2006 in Greensboro, N.C., at its third appearance at the Southern Scuffle in four years. Askren pinned all five of his opponents within the first period to claim his third Southern Scuffle title and second Most Outstanding Wrestler Award at the tournament. His achievements set Missouri's career wins record at 134. The previous high, 131, was set between 1978-82 by former Tiger All-American Wes Roper.

To date, Askren is 23-0 on the season, pinning 21 of his opponents with 19 recorded in the first three minutes of action. Askren owns the nation's longest active win streak at 68 and has notched 16 consecutive wins by fall this season (dating back to his Nov. 19 pin of Oklahoma's Jeff James in 3:21).
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