ASU Wrestling Dealt Tough Hand at National Duals

Jan. 20, 2001

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - A heart-breaking 19-16 upset loss to host Penn State eliminated the ninth-ranked Arizona State wrestling squad in the consolation second round of the 2001 Cliff Keen/NWCA National Wrestling Duals at the Bryce Jordan Center Saturday.

The eighth-seeded Sun Devils opened the double-elimination tournament with a convincing 35-8 win over Montana State Northern, before falling to top-seed Oklahoma State 26-12 in the second round and Penn State in the second round consolation. Coming away with a 1-2 record in the tournament, ASU's overall dual mark stands at 5-3.

Senior All-American Steve Blackford (165 pounds), sophomore All-American Eric Larkin (141) and sophomore Rocky Smart (157) all turned in perfect 3-0 records on the day.

The Sun Devils began the tournament on an optimistic note with a landslide win over Montana State Northern. Larkin, Smart, and junior Curtis Owen (174) recorded major decision wins, while junior Dana Holland (149) won by technical fall. Blackford and sophomore Kellan Fluckiger (HWT) pinned their opponents in 2:17 and 2:43, respectively.

ASU was spared no easy task in the second round, facing top-seed and No. 1 Oklahoma State. The Cowboys, prevailed but Sun Devils Larkin, Smart, Blackford, and Fluckiger picked up decisions. The loss sent ASU to the consolation bracket to face host Penn State.

Needing a victory to avoid elimination, ASU's fate lay in the hands of heavyweight Fluckiger. With the team score tied at 16 going into the final match, Fluckiger lost to Penn State's Bob Jones by a narrow margin of 6-3.

Penn State was later defeated by Oklahoma 33-3 in the consolation third round, but will face Lehigh tomorrow in a battle for seventh-place. Oklahoma State and Minnesota will face-off for the National Duals championship title tomorrow at 2 p.m. EST.

The Sun Devils will remain on the road this week, with contests at Oregon State, Friday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 PST and Fresno State, Sunday, Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. PST.

2001 Cliff Keen/NWCA National Wrestling Duals
Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, Pa.

First Round
Arizona State 35, Montana State Northern 8
125 Abel Valdez (MSN) dec. Chris Knox (ASU), 6-5
133 David Douglas (ASU) dec. Caleb Schaeffer (MSN), 12-5
141 Eric Larkin (ASU) maj. dec. Jason Fratzke (MSN), 10-2
149 Dana Holland (ASU) tech. fall Dustyn Azure (MSN), 3:01
157 Rocky Smart (ASU) maj. dec. Bobby Mantle (MSN), 12-2
165 Steve Blackford (ASU) pinned Kyle Fischer (MSN), 2:17
174 Curtis Owen (ASU) maj. dec. Emmitt Willson (MSN), 14-1
184 R.D. Pursell (ASU) dec. Tyson Thivierge (MSN), 4-2
197 Turk Lords (MSN) tech. fall Andy Swanson (ASU), 3:40
Hwt. Kellan Fluckiger (ASU) pinned Dan Eaves (MSN), 2:43

Second Round
Oklahoma St. 26, Arizona St. 12
125 Matt Brown (OSU) maj. dec. Chris Knox (ASU), 20-8
133 Johnny Thompson (OSU) dec. David Douglas (ASU), 3-1
141 Eric Larkin (ASU) dec. Charles Walker (OSU), 1-1,tb
149 Reggie Wright (OSU) maj. dec. Dana Holland (ASU), 10-2
157 Rocky Smart (ASU) dec. Shane Roller (OSU), 6-4
165 Steve Blackford (ASU) dec. Ty Wilcox (OSU), 6-2
174 Ty Lewis (OSU) dec. Curtis Owen (ASU), 10-3
184 Daniel Cormier (OSU) pinned R.D. Pursell (ASU), 6:15
197 Willie Gruenwald (OSU) forfeit
Hwt. Kellan Fluckiger (ASU) dec. DJ Radnovich (OSU), 2-0

Second Round Consolations
Penn State 19, Arizona State 16
125 Josh Moore (PSU) maj. dec. Chris Knox (ASU), 10-0
133 David Douglas (ASU) dec. Marat Tomaev (PSU), 1-0
141 Eric Larkin (ASU) dec. Nate Parker (PSU), 5-2
149 Nate Wachter (PSU) dec. Dana Holland (ASU), 6-4
157 Rocky Smart (ASU) dec. Aaron Wright (PSU), 8-5
165 Steve Blackford (ASU) maj. dec. Doc Vecchio (PSU), 8-0
174 Curtis Owen (ASU) dec. Mark Becks (PSU), 11-4
184 Jeff Knupp (PSU) dec. R.D. Pursell (ASU), 3-2
197 Dave Heckard (PSU) pinned Andy Swanson (ASU), 4:44
Hwt. Bob Jones (PSU) dec. Kellen Fluckiger (ASU), 6-3

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