First Round Results from NCAA Wrestling Championships

March 15, 2001

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Three members of Arizona State's 11th-ranked wrestling team advanced to the second round of competition, while senior Steve Blackford's hopes of a national title were dashed, in the first session of the 2001 NCAA Wrestling Championships at the University of Iowa's Carver-Hawkeye Arena Thursday afternoon.

Junior David Douglas, sophomore All-American Eric Larkin and sophomore Rocky Smart won their first round matches handily to advance to the second-round of the championship bracket. Sophomore Kellan Fluckiger, who received a first-round bye, will also compete in the second round, facing No. 7 seed Billy Blunt of Fresno State.

Second round competition begins tonight at 5:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, with ASU tied for 13th in team scoring with Lehigh and Oregon State, all with eight points. After the first session, Minnesota is in first place with 27 points, followed by Iowa (24.5) and Oklahoma State (20).

One of the biggest upsets of first-round action, un-seeded Chris Vitale of Lehigh stole a 12-9 decision from No. 3 seed Steve Blackford at 165 pounds. Blackford, a two-time All-American, lost a first-round match for the first time in four NCAA Championship appearances.

Earlier this season Blackford earned a 6-4 decision over Vitale at the Midlands Championships. Instead of a second-round match-up with hometown favorite Ben Shirk of Iowa, Blackford will now face Burt Pierson of UC Davis in tonight's wrestleback round, a re-match of this year's Pac-10 championship bout in which Blackford emerged victorious. After the first-round loss, Blackford can finish only as high as third-place.

Joining Blackford in the consolation bracket this evening are junior Dana Holland, junior Curtis Owen and senior R.D. Pursell, all losers of their first-round bouts to top-one, two and three seeds, respectively.

No. 11 seed David Douglas (133 pounds) breezed through his first round match, racking up four takedowns and a three-point near fall, before finally pinning Travis Drake of Applachian State in six minutes, 30 seconds. Douglas advances to face No. 6 seed Rob Loper, who earned a 3-2 decision in overtime over Charlie Griggs of Boise State.

No. 3 seed Eric Larkin (141 pounds) gave the Sun Devils their second victory of the morning, earning 14-5 major decision over Northern Iowa's Mark Rial. Larkin turned in a takedown and two three-point near falls before Rial was able to muster a point of any kind. The sophomore All-American will face Ralph Lopez of Fresno State in the second round, earning a 5-3 decision over Mike Settimbrino of Seton Hall in his first round bout.

Un-seeded Dana Holland (149) met with a tough first-round draw and lost a 9-1 major decision to No. 1 seed Reggie Wright of Oklahoma State who has yet to lose this season. Holland, who fell to Wright 4-2 earlier in the season, was able to keep him scoreless through the first period. In wrestleback action this evening, Holland will attempt to get back in the win column versus Scott Frohardt of Air Force.

Seeded 10th at 157 pounds, Rocky Smart scored two takedowns and an escape, while adding a point of advantage time en route to a 6-2 decision over Michigan's Pat Owen, advancing to the second round. Smart will look for an upset versus No. 7 seed Cole Sanderson of Iowa State this evening.

Un-seeded Sun Devils Curtis Owen and R.D. Pursell were pinned by second and third seed competitors at 174 and 184 pounds, respectively. It took two minutes, 38 seconds for No. 2 Otto Olson of Michigan to pin Owen, while No. 3 Daniel Cormier of Oklahoma State pinned Pursell in 2:50. Owen will face Eric Brown of Northern Iowa tonight, while Pursell will face John Garriques of Seton Hall.

Full Arizona State results from the first day of NCAA Championship competition will be posted on www.thesundevils.com at the conclusion of the second session tonight.

Arizona State NCAA Wrestling Championship Results
Carver-Hawkeye Arena, University of Iowa

First Round - Thursday, March 15
133 Pounds: #11 David Douglas (ASU) pinned Travis Drake (Applachian State), 6:30
141 Pounds: #3 Eric Larkin (ASU) major dec. Mark Rial (Northern), 14-5
149 Pounds: #1 Reggie Wright (Oklahoma State) dec. Dana Holland (ASU), 9-1
157 Pounds: #10 Rocky Smart (ASU) dec. Pat Owen (Michigan), 6-2
165 Pounds: Chris Vitale (Lehigh) dec. #3 Steve Blackford (ASU), 12-9
174 Pounds: #2 Otto Olson (Michigan) pinned Curtis Owen (ASU), 2:38
184 Pounds: #3 Daniel Cormier (Oklahoma State) pinned R.D. Pursell (ASU), 2:50
HWT: #10 Kellan Fluckiger (ASU) bye

Second Round -Thursday, March 15, 5:30 p.m. MST
133: #11 David Douglas (ASU) vs. #6 Rob Loper (Pittsburgh)
141: #3 Eric Larkin (ASU) vs. Ralph Lopez (Fresno State)
149: Dana Holland (ASU) vs. Scott Frohardt (Air Force)
157: #10 Rocky Smart (ASU) vs. #7 Cole Sanderson (Iowa State)
165: #3 Steve Blackford (ASU) vs. Burt Pierson (UC Davis)
174: Curtis Owen (ASU) vs. Eric Brown (Northern Iowa)
184: R.D. Pursell (ASU) vs. John Garriques (Seton Hall)
HWT: #10 Kellan Fluckiger (ASU) vs. #7 Billy Blunt (Fresno State)

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