No. 15 Wrestling Travels to No. 17 Oregon Friday, Hosts Cal State Bakersfield Sunday
Feb. 1, 2001
This Week: With five dual matches left on the regular season schedule, 15th-ranked Arizona State wrestling (7-3 overall, 2-0 Pac-10) is looking to put two more Pac-10 victories under its belt this weekend. ASU returns to the Willamette Valley for a match-up with 17th-ranked Oregon (7-6 overall, 4-2 Pac-10) Friday, Feb. 2 at 8:30 p.m. MST at McArthur Court in Eugene. The Sun Devils will then find their way back to the friendly confines of Wells Fargo Arena as they face Cal State Bakersfield (8-3 overall, 3-0 Pac-10) Sunday, Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. Last weekend, ASU won two dual matches on the road by nearly identical scores, 21-14 over Oregon State and 24-14 over Fresno State.
Probable Sun Devil Lineup: Overall Dual
125: Chris Knox, RS-Fr. 1-11 0-7
133: #15/#11 David Douglas, Jr. 16-5 8-1
141: #3/#3 Eric Larkin, So. 14-1 8-1
149: Dana Holland, Jr. 16-8 6-4
157: #13/#10 Rocky Smart, So. 18-7 8-2
165: #4/#5 Steve Blackford, Sr. 22-3 9-1
174: #20/nr Curtis Owen, Jr. 15-11 7-3
184: #13/#20 R.D. Pursell, Sr. 19-9 8-2
197: Andy Swanson, RS-Fr. 7-13 2-6
HWT: #10/#13 Kellan Fluckiger, So. 17-7 7-3
Alumni Reunion Sunday: All ASU wrestling alumni are invited to partake in alumni day festivities prior to the Cal State Bakersfield dual Sunday. A pre-match barbecue will be held at noon in the Sun Devil Lounge on the concourse level of Wells Fargo Arena. Alumni are also encouraged to meet in the West tunnel at 1:45 for pre-match introductions.Scouting Oregon:Coached by Chuck Kearney, the Ducks are looking to get well when the Sun Devils come to McArthur Court Friday. Oregon has lost three straight dual matches, including two upsets last weekend at Fresno State and Cal Poly, 21-14 and 23-20 respectively. The Ducks were without junior Shaun Williams, ranked fifth in the nation at 125 pounds, for both matches after suffering from a concussion in practice during the week previous. Williams, who boasts an overall mark of 23-7 and a dual record of 10-2, is listed as probable for Friday night. Five additional Oregon wrestlers rank among the nation's top-20 in their respective weight classes: No. 9 sophomore Brian Watson (133 pounds, 20-9 overall record), No. 19 junior Eugene Harris (157, 18-11), No. 7 senior Doug Lee (184, 22-7), No. 7 senior Chael Sonnen (197, 24-7) and No. 8 sophomore Eric Webb (HWT, 23-4).
Series vs. Oregon:ASU dominates the all-time series with Oregon 15-2 and has not lost to the Ducks since the 1974-75 season. Last season, the Sun Devils handed the Ducks a 31-12 defeat at Wells Fargo Arena.
Scouting Cal State Bakersfield:The Roadrunners, coached by T.J. Kurr, will compete in the California Collegiate Championships in San Francisco, Saturday, Feb. 3 before making the trip to the Tempe. CSUB is coming off back-to-back wins over Portland State and Stanford, Jan. 28. Two Roadrunner wrestlers are ranked in the top-20: No. 11 senior Ruben DeLeon (125, 19-5) and No. 15 senior Ians Nelms (165, 18-7).
Series vs. Cal State Bakersfield:ASU leads the all-time series with Cal State Bakersfield 14-6-1, and last year defeated the Roadrunners 22-18 in Bakersfield.
Sun Devils in the National Polls:After a dip in the polls after their performance at the National Duals, the Sun Devils have climbed from No. 17 to No. 15 in the latest NWCA poll released Jan. 31. Seven Sun Devils are also included in the latest individual rankings released by InterMat and Amateur Wrestling News: Eric Larkin at 141 pounds (No. 3 by both), Steve Blackford at 165 pounds (No. 4 AWM, No. 5 IM), Rocky Smart at 157 pounds (No. 13 AWM, No. 10 IM) , David Douglas at 133 pounds (No. 15 AWM, No. 11 IM), Kellan Fluckiger at HWT (No. 10 AWM, No. 13 IM), R.D. Pursell at 184 pounds (No. 19 AWM, No. 20 IM) and Curtis Owen at 174 pounds (No. 20 AWM).
Last Time Out:ASU got back in the win column with big victories at No. 12 Oregon State and No. 22 Fresno State by nearly the same score. Curtis Owen and Kellan Fluckiger pulled upset victories to lead the Sun Devils over the Beavers 21-14 in Corvallis. Owen opened the night with a 5-4 decision over No. 6 Nathan Coy at 174 pounds, while Fluckiger earned a 6-4 decision over No. 7 Jason Cooley at heavyweight. No. 14 David Douglas pinned OSU's Ben Richards in just 55 seconds, also giving ASU a crucial victory. The Beavers staged an upset of their own when unranked Jed Pennell upset No. 4 Steve Blackford 7-6 in overtime. Two days later, ASU erased an 11-0 deficit to come from behind to defeat No. 22 Fresno State 24-14. ASU sparked the comeback with a 3-2 decision by Douglas over No. 18 Derrick Hayes and a 12-3 major decision by No. 3 Eric Larkin over Ralph Lopez. Blackford pinned Derrick Durran in 4:28, while also picking up big wins were Owen with a major decision over Eddie Gifford, 15-2 and a 5-3 overtime decision by No. 11 R.D. Pursell over Jason Rossotti.
Blackford Closing in on the Record Books:Senior Steve Blackford, the 2000 Pac-10 Wrestler of the Year and two-time All-American, continues his climb in the ASU record books as the 2001 season unfolds. Blackford has a team-high 22 wins this season, giving him 125 career victories and a fifth-place ranking on the all-time win list (just 22 shy of the school record). Last season, Blackford tied for second on the single-season victory list with 43 wins (Eddie Urbano, `84-85), just two away from the school record. Dan St. John (1986-90) holds both the ASU single-season victory record (45) and career victory record (147). Blackford is tied for fourth on the career dual victories list (58) and is fifth on the career falls list (29).
Bonus Points: Five wrestlers went 2-0 last weekend in Curtis Owen, R.D. Pursell, David Douglas, Eric Larkin and junior Dana Holland ...Sophomore Rocky Smart and Blackford each suffered their first dual losses of the season after eight straight wins...Smart went 0-2 last weekend, losing back-to-back matches for only the second time this season...The top three Sun Devils in the win column are Blackford (22-3), Pursell (19-9) and Smart (18-7) and ...Blackford leads the team with six pins...Blackford, Owen and Holland share the team lead with three wins via technical fall...Larkin and Owen both have seven major decision victories.
Head Coach Lee Roy Smith: In his ninth year at Arizona State, Lee Roy Smith has continued the unprecedented sucess of one of the nation's premier collegiate wrestling programs. In eight seasons, Smith has guided the Sun Devils to eight NCAA Championship appearances, four top-10 national finishes and four Pac-10 titles. Smith's ASU teams have finished as high as fourth in the nation in 1993 and 1995, and he has mentored 26 All-Americans and two national champions (for a total of three NCAA titles). Smith owns a career slate of 88-56-1 (.607) and is assisted by Tony Quinones, Aaron Simpson and his younger brother Mark Smith.
Up Next: Two of the next three dual matches left in the regular season will be held at home, as ASU hosts Pennsylvania Friday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena. The Sun Devils will then hit the road to face No. 4 Iowa State Sunday, Feb. 11 at 3 p.m. CST. ASU seniors will then be honored at the final home match of the season, Friday, Feb. 16 against No. 2 Oklahoma State at 7 p.m. The Pac-10 Championships loom just around the corner, hosted by Oregon Sunday, Feb. 25 through Monday, Feb. 26 at McArthur Court.