Wrestling Opens Home Dual Schedule with Cal State Fullerton Sunday

Nov. 20, 2001

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This Week --
Arizona State wrestling opens its 2001-02 home dual schedule this weekend as the Sun Devils play host to Pac-10 foe Cal State Fullerton, Sunday, Nov. 25, at 2 p.m. MST at Wells Fargo Arena. ASU is fresh off its season debut at the Missouri Open Sunday, Nov. 18, a tournament which saw Sun Devils David Douglas, Eric Larkin and Rocky Smart win individual titles.

Probable Arizona State Lineup --
125: Mike Simpson, Freshman, Anaheim, Calif. (1-2)
133: Evan Larkin, Freshman, Tucson, Ariz. (2-2)
141: #3/#3 David Douglas, Senior, Harvey, Ill. (4-0)
149: #1/#1 Eric Larkin, Junior, Tucson, Ariz. (4-0)
157: #8/#9 Rocky Smart, Junior, Pleasant Grove, Utah (4-0)
165: #13/#10 Nick Frost, Sophomore, Tucson, Ariz. (2-2)
174: Jason Conine, Sophomore, San Antonio, Texas (0-2)
184: Will Carr, Freshman, Columbia Heights, Minn. (1-2)
197: #10 Erik Gladish, Senior, Kentfield, Calif. (3-1) or
Andy Swanson, Sophomore, Louisville, Colo. (1-2)
HWT: #15 Kellan Fluckiger, Junior, Preston, Idaho (3-2) or
#16 Hector Torres, Junior, Rosemead, Calif. (0-2)
ankings according to AWM, InterMat (11/14/01)

Probable Cal State Fullerton Lineup --
125: Robert Valenzuela, Freshman, Irvine, Calif. (1-3)
133: David Rodriguez, Junior, La Puente, Calif. (0-1)
141: Juan Mora, Freshman, San Diego, Calif. (3-2)
149: Antonio Aparicio, Freshman, Anaheim, Calif. (3-3)
157: Leonel Sanchez, Sophomore, West Covina, Calif. (4-2)
165: Chris Carlino, Junior, Absecon, N.J. (3-1)
174: Zachary Elliot, Freshman, Richland, Wisc. (3-2)
184: Bryan Webster, Junior, Corona, Calif. (4-2)
197: Edgar Hernandez, Junior, San Jose, Calif. (0-3)
HWT: Kenny Dickason, Freshman, Diamond Bar, Calif. (0-3)

Last Time Out --
11th-ranked ASU made its season debut last Sunday at the Missouri Open, with three Sun Devils taking home individual title wins. Senior David Douglas won the 141-pound title, junior Eric Larkin captured the 149-pound title and junior Rocky Smart won the 157-pound crown. Senior Erik Gladish came just shy of becoming the fourth Sun Devil to post a tournament victory, falling 3-1 in overtime to Ohio State's Nick Preston in the final bout. Also placing for ASU were sophomore Nick Frost (fourth at 165 pounds) and junior Kellan Fluckiger (fifth at heavyweight).

Scouting Cal State Fullerton--
The Titans (0-1 overall, 0-1 Pac-10) already have one dual match under their belt, falling to Pac-10 opponent UC Davis 27-9 at Titan Gym, Friday, Nov. 16. The only two CSF wrestlers to come away with victories were Zachary Elliot at 174 pounds (4-3 decision over Stuart Young) and Bryan Webster at 184 pounds (11-4 decision over Brett Hallenbeck). Cal State Fullerton then hosted the Fullerton Open Saturday, Nov. 17, highlighted by Chris Carlino's tournament title at 165 pounds and Leo Sanchez' second-place performance at 157 pounds. CSF does not have any wrestlers ranked nationally.

All-Time Series With CSF--
ASU has yet to lose a dual match to Cal State Fullerton, leading the all-time series 10-0. The last time these two teams met was 1996 in Tempe, with the Sun Devils cruising to a 22-4 win.

Sun Devils in the National Polls --
The National Wrestling Coaches Association Poll has not yet been released, but ASU enters the season ranked ninth by Amateur Wrestling News and 11th by InterMat. Seven Sun Devils are ranked individually, featured by junior Eric Larkin, ranked No. 1 at 141 pounds by both AWM and InterMat and seniorDavid Douglas, ranked third at 133 pounds by both. Additional rankings include junior Rocky Smart at 157 (eighth-AWM, ninth-IM), sophomore Nick Frost at 165 (13th-AWM, 10th-IM), senior Curtis Owen at 174 (20th-AWM, 19th-IM), senior Erik Gladish at 197 (10th-IM) junior Kellan Fluckiger at heavyweight (15th-AWM) and junior Hector Torres also at heavyweight (16th-IM).

Pac-10 Rankings --
ASU is ranked No. 1 in the Pac-10 Preseason Wrestling Poll released Oct. 26. The defending champions sit atop No. 2 Oregon State (host of this year's Pac-10 tournament), No. 3 Boise State, No. 4 Oregon, No. 5 Caly Poly, No. 6 UC Davis, No. 7 Cal State Bakersfield, No. 8 Stanford, No. 9 Portland State and No. 10 Cal State Fullerton. ASU wrestlers are ranked among the top-four in eight weight classes, including four Sun Devils ranked No. 1: Mike Simpson (No. 4, 125), David Douglas (No. 1, 133), Eric Larkin (No. 1, 141), Rocky Smart (No. 1, 157), Nick Frost (No. 4, 165), Curtis Owen (No. 3, 174), Erik Gladish (No. 2, 197) and Kellan Fluckiger/Hector Torres (No. 1, HWT).

Sun Devils Impressive at Sunkist Open --
Junior Eric Larkin captured the freestyle 63 kg. championship title, while freshman Evan Larkin, junior Kellan Fluckiger and assistant coach Aaron Simpson each earned freestyle runner-up honors as the 17th Annual Sunkist Kids/ASU International Open that concluded at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Ariz., Sunday, Oct. 28. Larkin went 5-0 during the two-day tournament, highlighted by a close 5-4 decision over Jamill Kelly in the championship bout. His title was one of five freestyle titles captured by the United States, while Canada came away with two champions. Eric's younger brother Evan, took second at 58 kg., losing to Canada's Saelo Azarbayjami by technical fall (12-2, 4:10) in the title match. Fluckiger finished second at 130 kg., losing by technical fall (10-0, 2:07) to Tolly Thompson, while Simpson, last year's winner at 85 kg., fell to Randy Pugh 4-2 in the title match.

Head Coach Thom Ortiz --
Becoming the fifth head coach in the 39-year history of ASU wrestling, Thom Ortiz returns to his alma mater where he was a three-time All-American, a three-time Pac-10 champion and a strong contributor to three of the most successful teams in ASU wrestling history. Ortiz helped ASU win four straight Pac-10 titles and its only NCAA crown in 1988, a season followed by two-straight national runner-up finishes in '89 and '90. Ortiz returns to ASU after serving nine years as the head assistant coach at Iowa State under his former Sun Devil coach Bobby Douglas. In 1992, he followed Douglas from Tempe to Ames, Iowa, for an assistant coaching position. With the Cyclones, Ortiz helped mentor three national champions and numerous All-Americans, while bringing in some of the top-ranked recruiting classes in the nation. Ortiz was also the runner-up for the 2000 National Wrestling Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year Award. Prior to his stint at Iowa State, Ortiz was an ASU graduate assistant in 1991, before taking over as the Sun Devils' interim head coach while Douglas was coaching the U.S. Olympic wrestling team in 1992.

ASU Ties --
Not only is head coach Thom Ortiz a former Sun Devil, both of his assistant coaches, Townsend Saunders and Aaron Simpson, are ASU alums. Saunders is in his first season as an assistant coach, hired by Ortiz in June 2001. Saunders wrestled for two seasons at ASU (1988-89, 1989-90), both years earning All-America honors and winning Pac-10 titles. Since his collegiate career, he went on to compete as a two-time Olympian, including a silver-medal winning performance in 1996. Saunders was also a two-time gold medalist at the Pan-American Games and a 1994 gold medalist at the Goodwill Games. Simpson enters his fourth year as an assistant, after working the previous three years under Lee Roy Smith. Simpson graduated from ASU in 1998 where he was a two-time All-American and two-time Pac-10 champion. Simpson continues his wrestling career competing for the Phoenix-based Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club. He was the 1997 Pan-American Games silver-medalist at 187 pounds and in June 2000, he placed fifth at the U.S. Olympic Trials. Last summer he qualified for the World Team Trials with a fifth-place finish at the U.S. National Championships.

Up Next --
ASU will host their second-straight Pac-10 dual with Oregon State, Thursday, Nov. 29, at 7 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena.

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