Beavers Begin Wrestling Season
Nov. 13, 2001
NOVEMBER 17, SATURDAY
Oregon State at Southern Oregon Open, Ashland, Ore., all day
There's no question that the road to the 2002 Pacific-10 Wrestling Championship runs through Oregon State. What remains to be seen is where the Beavers fit into the picture.
The conference tournament will be held March 3-4 at Gill Coliseum, and OSU has its sites set on winning its 46th conference team title, and the Beavers' first since 1994.
'Wrestling well at home is something we've taken pride in, and to be able to wrestle for a conference championship on your own mat, in front of your family and friends, should be something that motivates us all season long,' ninth-year head coach Joe Wells said. 'We've got a lot of people with the capability to do that, but we've got to live up to those capabilities.'
Oregon State opens its season Saturday at the non-scoring Southern Oregon Open. The format allows the Beavers to enter more than one wrestler at each weight and most of the OSU roster will compete.
Oregon State will also be able to use a number of wrestlers at each weight in the OSU Duals on Nov. 23 when the Beavers go against Portland State, Cal State-Fullerton and Embry Riddle. Results from this weekend and the OSU Duals could help determine the Beavers' lineup at Arizona State on Nov. 29.
In the Pacific-10 preseason rankings, the Beavers are second behind ASU, the InterMat national rankings have OSU 23rd in the country. A year ago, OSU was 12-7 overall in dual meets and 8-2 in the Pac-10, the Beavers placed third in the conference championships and tied for 18th at the NCAA meet.
Eric Jorgensen, who earned All-America honors by placing fifth at 157 pounds, has graduated and so has Ben Richards, a four-time NCAA qualifier at 133 pounds. But OSU returns seven starters, including four 2001 NCAA qualifiers who are in the preseason national rankings - senior 174-pounder Nathan Coy, senior 133-pounder Nathan Navarro, senior heavyweight Jason Cooley and sophomore 165-pounder Jed Pennell.
Coy, the defending Pac-10 champion, is ranked sixth by Amateur Wrestling News and seventh by InterMat. A year ago, he was 35-9 with two pins and scored team bonus points for a major decision, technical fall or pin in 36 percent of his matches.
'Nathan improved last year and he was right on the verge of breaking through and becoming an All-American,' Wells said. 'This is his last chance at that, and he's done the work to make the most of it.'
Navarro moves up from 125 pounds, where he was an NCAA qualifier his freshman through junior seasons. Last year, Navarro was 22-12 with two pins and placed fifth in the Pac-10, in the preseason at 133 pounds, he's ranked 10th by AWN and 12th by IM.
'Moving up a weight should help Nathan,' Wells said. 'He should be more comfortable at 133.'
Cooley was the Pacific-10 champion as a sophomore and placed second in the conference last season, going 23-9 with two pins. He's ranked 12th in the nation by AWN and 17th by InterMat.
'Jason just has to turn himself loose and wrestle to his capabilities,' Wells said. 'He and Andy Bowlby should be able to challenge one another and make each other better, and that gives us two very strong options at heavyweight.'
Bowlby, a junior, was 8-4 with two pins last season. He also won the 2001 University National Freestyle Championships and placed second at the Pan-American Championships.
Pennell was the Pacific-10 Newcomer of the Year last season, going 17-12 with three pins and placing fifth in the Pac-10. He's ranked 18th by AWN and 19th by InterMat going into the season.
'Jed is an exciting, aggressive wrestler,' Wells said. 'With a year of experience at this level under his belt, we're looking for great things from him this season.'
Weber was ranked as high as 16th nationally last season after winning the Omaha Open. He finished the season 13-14 and placed fifth in the Pac-10, and he's ranked second in the preseason Pacific-10 rankings.
Horn drops a weight class after wrestling at 149 pounds last season, when he was 6-16 with two pins. Lovell placed fifth in the Pac-10 a year ago, finishing the season with a 16-13 record and one pin, he's ranked third in the Pac-10 in the preseason.
The Beavers are looking to fill slots at 125 pounds, 149 pounds and 157 pounds.
At 125, junior Michael Delaney has seen varsity action, going 5-5 last season, he's being challenged by sophomore Ale DeLaPena, a transfer from North Idaho Junior College.
At 149, redshirt freshman Jordan Barich may step into the lineup after earning a state title and a runner-up finish his final two years in high school. Another possibility is junior Peter Zamora, who was 2-2 in limited varsity action last season.
At 157, it's a three-way battle, as sophomore Micah Houston was 1-1 in varsity matches last season, redshirt freshman Jake Albinio was 1-2 and redshirt freshman Ryan LaDouceur's prep career included a state title in high school.
Before greeting the conference schools for the Pacific-10 Championships, the Beavers will wrestle a regular-season schedule that includes top-flight tournaments in the Las Vegas Collegiate and the Midlands Open, plus duals against nationally-ranked Minnesota, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Illinois, Nebraska and Fresno State.
'If you expect to do well at the NCAAs, you need to know what you're going to be up against,' Wells said. 'We want to give our guys a look at what they're going to have to do, and where they're going to have to improve, for us to be where we want to in the national meet.'
OSU's home schedule opens with the Oregon State Duals on Nov. 23, when the Beavers will meet Portland State, Cal State-Fullerton and Embry-Riddle. The Beavers will also host duals against rival Oregon on Dec. 12, Oklahoma State on Dec. 16, Michigan on Jan. 12, Cal State-Bakersfield on Feb. 8 and Fresno State on Feb. 10, OSU will wrestle in Bend against Illinois on Jan. 11.
'This is one of the strongest, home schedules we've had since I've been at Oregon State,' Wells said. 'It's a great chance for wrestling fans in the state to see some great competition, and it presents opportunities for our guys to get used to wrestling tough matches on our home mat.'
'We want to come out in Gill Coliseum and add to the wrestling tradition that's been built at this school, and hosting the Pacific-10 Championships gives us a great chance to do that.'
OREGON STATE PROBABLE LINEUP:
To be determined, this week, OSU will enter a number of wrestlers at each weight
133 - Nathan Navarro, sr. (Ontario, Ore./Ontario HS) (125 in 2001)
22-12 with 2 pins in 2001, 2002 preseason, No. 10 AWN, No. 12 IM, No. 2 Pac-10
141 - Casey Horn, jr. (Salem, Ore./North Salem HS) (149 in 2001)
6-16 with 2 pins in 2001
165 - Jed Pennell, so. (Cave Junction, Ore./Illinois Valley HS)
17-12 with 3 pins in 2001, 2002 preseason, No. 18 AWN, No. 19 IM, No. 2 Pac-10
174 - Nathan Coy, sr. (Oregon City, Ore./Oregon City HS)
35-9 with 2 pins in 2001, 2002 preseason, No. 6 AWN, No. 7 IM, No. 1 Pac-10
184 - Isaac Weber, sr. (Newberg, Ore./Newberg HS)
13-14 with 0 pins in 2001, 2002 preseason, No. 3 Pac-10
197 - Jason Lovell, jr. (Turner, Ore./Cascade HS)
16-13 with 1 pin in 2001, 2002 preseason, No. 3 Pac-10
HWT - Jason Cooley, sr. (Anchorage, Alaska/Robert Service HS)
23-9 with 2 pins in 2001, 2002 preseason, No. 12 AWN, No. 17 IM, No. 3 Pac-10
OTHER RETURNING LETTERMEN:
125 - Michael Delaney, jr. (Tracy, Calif./Brethren Christian HS)
5-5 with 0 pins in 2001, 2002 preseason, No. 2 Pac-10
174 - Jake Huffman, jr. (Scio, Ore./Scio HS)
5-6 with 1 pin in 2001
HWT - Andy Bowlby, jr. (Newberg, Ore./Newberg HS)
8-4 with 2 pins in 2001
LAST WEEK: Casey Horn recorded a pair of pins at 141 pounds as Oregon State's wrestlers held their annual Intrasquad Meet on Nov. 10 in Gill Coliseum. Horn was one of nine Beavers to sweep best-of-three series during the meet.
Along with Horn, others winning their best-of-three matches were 125-pounder Ale DeLaPena, 133-pounder Nathan Navarro, 157-pounder Ryan LaDouceur, 165-pounder Scotty Nelson, 174-pounder Nathan Coy, 184-pounder Isaac Weber, 197-pounder Jason Lovell and heavyweight Jason Cooley.
'The first matches, the guys were a little tentative,' OSU head coach Joe Wells said. 'In the second go-round, they opened up a little bit and got after it better.'
OSU 165-pounder Jed Pennell sat out the meet completing rehabilitaiton from a minor injury but will return to action at the Southern Oregon Open. Saturday's matches did not set the Beavers' lineup, as Oregon State can enter a number of wrestlers at each weight next weekend, OSU is also likely to vary its lineup in the OSU Duals on Nov. 23 before going to Arizona State on Nov. 29 and the Las Vegas Collegiate on Nov. 30-Dec. 1.
2000-01 IN REVIEW: Oregon State (12-7 overall, 8-2 Pacific-10) showed signs of breaking loose during the 2000-01 season, but inconsistency against some of the nation's top competition left the Beavers hungry for more at the end of the campaign. OSU placed third in the Pacific-10 Championships and tied for 18th at the NCAA Championships.
'At times, we wrestled extremely well,' OSU head coach Joe Wells said. 'At times, we didn't measure up.
'It was a great year for all the competition we had - the level of competition increased both within our room (during practice) and in the schedule we faced. We went against top-level competition, and our guys responded.'
The Beavers had 10 duals against teams ranked in the season's final top 25, and OSU won three of those. One of those victories, over Boise State, was Wells' 100th dual win at Oregon State.
OSU had just two seniors in its lineup, and the 2001 season tested the eight wrestlers who will return next winter.
'We're a team gaining in experience,' Wells said. 'But we're more in the 'exerienced' range now with four seniors and a couple of juniors in the lineup next year.
'We've been getting more depth in our room, and part of getting better is increasing the depth in the room. Now we've got real dogfights for our No. 1 spots.'
Eric Jorgensen closed out his career by earning All-America honors, finishing fifth nationally at 157 pounds after winning the Pac-10 title.
'From start to finish, Eric wrestled very balanced,' Wells said. 'He had a heck of a schedule academically, with a number of labs he had to take as a Forestry major, and he had to modify his workouts. But I think he'd say part of his success came from doing the extra things, the special workouts - from having more individual time and focusing on what he needed to do to be successful.
'He probably wrestled his best of the season in the Pac-10 meet. He had a pin and a major decision in the finals against a returning national champion (Kirk White of Boise State). He was clicking on all cylinders for the fans in the state of Oregon to remember him.'
Other highlights that came to mind for Wells were home wins over nationally-ranked teams from Boise State and Oregon by identical 25-10 scores.
'Those were two meets where our guys went out and demonstrated that they wouldn't be denied,' Wells said. 'As a team, we totally dominated in those meets.'
Wells also recalled beating nationally-ranked Ohio State and a loss at nationally-ranked Nebraska.
'Those wound up the No. 7 and No. 8 teams in the country,' Wells said. 'We were right there with some of the top teams in the country, and we just need to learn from that, we need to be more consistent and draw from that experience.'
OREGON STATE HEAD COACH JOE WELLS: Joe Wells, now in his 10th season as Oregon State's head coach, has led the Beavers to a Pacific-10 title and 4 top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships.
The Beavers' 25-10 win over then-No. 11 Boise State last season was Wells' 100th dual meet win at OSU. Since taking over the Beaver program prior to the 1992-93 season, Wells is 103-60-1 for a winning percentage of .631.
The Beavers were Pacific-10 Conference champions under Wells in 1994 and he has twice been named the conference's Coach of the Year. OSU has finished in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships 4 times in Wells' tenure, placing second in 1995, fourth in 1994, eighth in 1996 and tying for ninth in 1998.
Under Wells, OSU has had 2 national champions, 15 All-Americans and 16 conference champions.
Wells was named the ASICS Oregon Wrestling Classic's Man of the Year for 1998 for his contributions to wrestling in the state.
Wells, who has coached numerous World Teams for the United States, is a 1972 Iowa graduate. He was a 2-time placer at the Big Ten meet and the 1976 U.S. Wrestling Federation freestyle champ. He spent 17 seasons as an assistant coach at Iowa and Michigan before coming to Oregon State.
OREGON STATE SECOND IN ALL-TIME DUAL MEET WINS: OSU rates as one of the best dual meet teams in collegiate wrestling history. The Beavers are third in all-time dual meet wins among Division I schools and fourth in all-time dual meet winning percentage going into the 2001-02 season. OSU currently has an all-time dual meet record of 837-253-24 and a .762 winning percentage.
OREGON STATE'S DUAL MEET SCHEDULE: OSU faces one of the nation's toughest dual meet schedules. The Beavers meet 7 teams ranked in the Amateur Wrestling News preseason top 20: No. 1 Minnesota, No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 Oklahoma State, No. 9 Arizona State, No. 10 Illinois, No. 12 Nebraska and No. 13 Fresno State.
OREGON STATE IN GILL COLISEUM: Oregon State has one of the finest homes in college wrestling, 10,400-seat Gill Coliseum. Now in their 46th season in Gill Coliseum, the Beavers have a home dual meet record of 346-62-6 in the arena for a winning percentage of .843. Last season, OSU went 7-2 at home.
In 2001, the Beavers attracted an average of 1,131 fans per home date. That included a crowd of 2,862 for Iowa's first-ever visit to OSU on Jan. 6, that was Oregon State's largest home crowd in over a decade.
OSU moved its home wrestling meets into Gill Coliseum in 1956-57, when Dale Thomas became head coach. Since then, the arena has hosted conference championship meets 13 times and it was the site of the NCAA Championships in 1961 and 1980. Gill Coliseum will be the site of the 2002 Pacific-10 Conference Championships.
BEAVERS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: Here's where Oregon State wrestlers are in the 2001-02 preseason national rankings:
TEAMAm.Wr.News InterMatPre NR Pre 23rdNATHAN NAVARRO, 133Am.Wr.News InterMatPre 10th Pre 12thJED PENNELL, 165Am.Wr.News InterMatPre 18th Pre 19thNATHAN COY, 174Am.Wr.News InterMatPre 6th Pre 7thJASON COOLEY, HWTAm.Wr.News InterMatPre 12th Pre 17th
BEAVERS IN THE CONFERENCE RANKINGS: Here's where Oregon State wrestlers are in the 2001-02 preseason Pacific-10 rankings:
TEAMPre 2ndMICHAEL DELANEY, 125Pre 3rdNATHAN NAVARRO, 133Pre 2ndNATHAN COY, 174Pre 1stISAAC WEBER, 184Pre 2ndJASON LOVELL, 197Pre 3rdJASON COOLEY, HWTPre 3rd