Beavers Take On No. 1 Minnesota

Jan. 3, 2002

JANUARY 6, SUNDAY

No. 25 Oregon State at No. 1 Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minn., 12 noon PST

Oregon State's early-season schedule was designed to give the Beavers a strong test, and there won't be any bigger single challenge this season than OSU faces Sunday. No. 25 Oregon State (5-3 overall, 2-1 Pacific-10) heads for the Midwest to face top-ranked Minnesota (5-0 overall, 0-0 Big Ten), the defending national champion.

'We'll go back there and they'll have five or six thousand fans in the building,' said OSU coach Joe Wells, a native of the Twin Cities. 'We've just got to step it up a notch and get ready to go. I'm excited about it.'

Both teams were in the Midlands Open last weekend at Northwestern. Minnesota placed third in the 65-team field and Oregon State was 10th.

The Beavers have four wrestlers in this week's national rankings. At 125 pounds, Nathan Navarro is ranked 20th by InterMat, 174-pounder Nathan Coy is ranked ninth by Amateur Wrestling News and 15th by IM, 184-pounder Isaac Weber is ranked 20th by IM, and heavyweight Jason Cooley is ranked ninth by AWN and eighth by IM.

This week's turn of the calendar marks the midway point of Oregon State's regular season. Wells evaluated a first half that saw the Beavers wrestle an Oklahoma State squad that was ranked second nationally, go against teams from Arizona State and Nebraska that were ranked ninth at the time the Beavers faced them, and compete in the high-caliber Las Vegas Classic and Midlands Open.

'It's been an experience - all good,' Wells said. 'What our guys are seeing from the best competitors are that they win with basics. They're disciplined, they do the right things at the right time. They keep the pressure on their opponents and when they need to score, they can score. It's nothing but fundamental, sound wrestling.'

Wells has seen the Beavers match up well with some of the nation's best, only to have the bout decided by a momentary lapse.

'We're distracted, or we try to force something,' Wells said. 'We lose our concentration and let a match get away from us, or we don't manage a match properly. They're very correctible things.

'Our conditioning is good, but we could use it better in some spots. I can see us improving, and it's marked improvement.'

Wells knows that may be hard for some observers to judge when they see OSU on the short end of a score against a nationally-ranked team, but tournaments like last weekend's Midlands Open put the Beavers' progress in perspective.

'Arizona State finished just ahead of us (ninth with 52 points to OSU's 42 points), but almost all their points came from four wrestlers,' Wells said. 'Our points came from all 10 wrestlers in our lineup.

'It's a measure of that improvement, and that we're staying with it. Even though it's tough competition, we're still able to focus on what we need to do and we're staying with it - not letting our bubble burst or letting down.'

After a hectic December schedule, this weekend gives the Beavers a chance to focus their attention on a single match against top-flight competition. All 10 wrestlers in the Minnesota lineup are not only in the national rankings, they're all in the top 10 and six of the Gophers are in the top three in their weight class.

At 125 pounds, Leroy Vega is ranked second by AWN and fourth by IM, 133-pounder Ryan Lewis is ranked first by both AWN and IM, 141-pounder Chad Erikson is ranked second by both AWN and IM, 149-pounder Jared Lawrence is ranked third by both AWN and IM, 157-pounder Luke Becker is ranked third by both AWN and IM, 165-pounder John Hardy is ranked 10th by AWN and ninth by IM, 174-pounder Jacob Volkman is ranked sixth by AWN and seventh by IM, 184-pounder Damion Hahn is ranked eighth by both AWN and IM, 197-pounder Owen Elzen is ranked third by both AWN and IM, and heavyweight Garrett Lowney is ranked fifth by AWN and seventh by IM.

OREGON STATE PROBABLE LINEUP:

National rankings are current Amateur Wrestling News, InterMat

125 - Michael Delaney, jr. (Tracy, Calif./Brethren Christian HS)

9-7 record with 2 pins

or - Ale DeLaPena, so. (Benton City, Wash./Kiona-Benton HS, North Idaho JC)

5-2 record with 1 pin

133 - Nathan Navarro, sr. (Ontario, Ore./Ontario HS)

12-3 record with 1 pin, No. 20 IM, No. 3 Pac-10

141 - Casey Horn, jr. (Salem, Ore./North Salem HS)

13-6 record with 6 pins, No. 3 Pac-10

149 - Jordan Barich, fr. (Newberg, Ore./Newberg HS)

5-5 record with 1 pin, No. 3 Pac-10

157 - Micah Houston, so. (Arlington, Texas/Arlington HS)

4-7 record with 1 pin

165 - Jed Pennell, so. (Cave Junction, Ore./Illinois Valley HS)

9-7 record with 2 pins

174 - Nathan Coy, sr. (Oregon City, Ore./Oregon City HS)

4-3 record with 0 pins, No. 9 AWN, No. 15 IM, No. 1 Pac-10

or - Jake Huffman, jr. (Scio, Ore./Scio HS)

13-5 record with 1 pin

184 - Isaac Weber, sr. (Newberg, Ore./Newberg HS)

12-8 record with 1 pin, No. 20 IM, No. 2 Pac-10

197 - Jason Lovell, jr. (Turner, Ore./Cascade HS)

11-8 record with 1 pin, No. 3 Pac-10

HWT - Jason Cooley, sr. (Anchorage, Alaska/Robert Service HS)

6-2 record with 0 pins, No. 9 AWN, No. 8 IM

or - Andy Bowlby, jr. (Newberg, Ore./Newberg HS)

15-3 record with 4 pins, No. 3 Pac-10

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. THIS WEEK'S OPPONENT: Oregon State has an all-time record of 3-4-1 against Minnesota in a series dating back to 1973, and the Beavers are on a 1-meet losing streak against the Golden Gophers. The last meeting was in 1999 in Corvallis, when Minnesota won 26-12. Prior to that, the teams hadn't met since 1984 when they tied 22-22 in Minneapolis. OSU's last win over Minnesota was 29-13 at a neutral site in 1981.

LAST WEEK: Oregon State's Jason Cooley took fifth place at heavyweight and the Beavers' Andy Bowlby was eighth in the same weight class at the Midlands Open on Dec. 29-30. No. 25-ranked OSU placed 10th in a 65-team field that included most of the nation's top 25 teams and many top post-collegiate wrestlers.

Three other Beavers - 141-pounder Casey Horn, 165-pounder Jed Pennell and 184-pounder Isaac Weber - finished one win short of placing in the top eight in their weight class.

Cooley and Bowlby guaranteed themselves a placing finish by winning their first matches on the tourney's final day. Cooley beat Brian Keck of the Wildcat Wrestling Club 6-4 in overtime, while Bowlby won by disqualification over 18th-ranked Kellan Fluckiger of Arizona State.

That set up a meeting between the two Beaver heavyweights in the wrestleback quarterfinals, and Cooley edged Bowlby 3-2. Cooley scored a first-period takedown and Bowlby earned his escape to make it 2-1 after one period. Cooley started the second period in the down position and escaped for a 3-1 lead, Bowlby escaped early in the third period to make it 3-2 and nearly got the go-ahead takedown when he got Cooley in a headlock, but Cooley slipped away to keep the lead.

'This is probably one of the best heavyweight fields they've had in a long time, and to have two heavyweights place is excellent,' OSU head coach Joe Wells said. 'We just need to do that in nine more weight classes.

'I thought we were real close to having a great tournament,' Wells said. 'I think part of it is wrestling good competition round after round after round - you've got to make adjustments and make a conscious decision to step it up a level. It's as much mental preparation as physical preparation.

'We had some great performances by individuals on a match-by-match basis, overall, we didn't perform as well as we're capable. We had some legitimate reasons for that (minor injuries hampered 133-pounder Nathan Navarro and 174-pounder Nathan Coy, who are both nationally-ranked) but that's part of the deal. It was a good experience and a good learning opportunity for us.'

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 108-64-1 for a winning percentage of .627.

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 second 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 842-256-24 and a .761 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 National Wrestling Coaches Association poll of Dec. 19: No. 1 Minnesota, No. 2 Oklahoma State, No. 3 Michigan, No. 8 Arizona State, No. 14 Illinois, No. 17 Nebraska and No. 20 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 351-63-6 in the arena for a winning percentage of .843. This season, OSU is 5-1 at home and is averaging 978 fans per home date.

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.

BEAVER WRESTLING HOMECOMING: Oregon State held its annual Beaver Wrestling Homecoming on Dec. 12, when a crowd of 1,356 saw the Beavers beat archrival Oregon 16-16 by criteria. Oregon State welcomed back 21 former wrestlers and legendary head coach Dale Thomas. The alums on hand accounted for 26 individual conference titles, 17 All-America finishes and 7 NCAA national titles.

CRITERIA DECIDES SEASON'S FIRST CIVIL WAR: Oregon State won the season's first Civil War dual meet over Oregon on Dec. 12 as OSU heavyweight Andy Bowlby's 1-1 win over 12th-ranked Eric Webb left the final team score at 16-16. But, under a tiebreaker rule in effect for all NCAA dual meets this season, the Beavers got the team victory.

The rule had previously been in effect only for dual-meet tournaments, in which a winning team had to be decided to advance in the bracket. A set of criteria is used to break the tie, and OSU won on criteria g, which awards the victory to the team with the most near-fall points. OSU 174-pounder Nathan Coy scored the only near-fall of the meet with a 2-pointer in his 10-1 win over Shane Webster.

To end the dual, Bowlby held Webb down for the 30-second tiebreaker at heavyweight to earn what went in the books as a 1-1 win. Most of the crowd of 1,356 left the building thinking the dual had ended in a tie, but officials were thumbing through the rule books to find the list of criteria in order to declare a winner.

In order, the criteria are most victories (that night, 5 each), most 6-point wins (none), most 5-point technical falls (none), most 4-point technical falls (none), most major decisions (1 each), most decisions (4 each) and greater number of total near-fall points earned (Oregon State 2, Oregon 0).

OREGON STATE SHUTS OUT CENTRAL WASHINGTON: Oregon State recorded its first shutout of the season when it beat Central Washington 44-0 in the Oregon State Duals on Nov. 23 at Gill Coliseum. It was the Beavers' first shutout since a 45-0 win at Cal State-Fullerton late in the 2001 season.

OREGON STATE'S QUADRUPLE-HEADER: When Oregon State wrestled 4 meets at the Oregon State Duals on Nov. 23, it was the first time the Beavers had wrestled 4 duals in a day since Jan. 11, 1997 at the Virginia Duals. This year, OSU beat Portland State 36-3, Central Washington 44-0, Pacific (Ore.) 32-6 and Simon Fraser 40-9, in 1997, OSU beat Cornell 30-10, Indiana 22-13, Cornell 20-13 and lost to Arizona State 23-13.

BEAVERS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: Here's where Oregon State wrestlers have been in this season's national rankings:

TEAMAm.Wr.News	InterMatPre	NR	Pre	23rdNational Wrestling Coaches AssociationDec. 5	24thDec. 12	25thDec. 19	25thNATHAN NAVARRO, 133Am.Wr.News	InterMatPre	10th	Pre	12thOct. 25	9th	Nov. 14	10th		Nov. 21	15thNov. 27	13th	Nov. 27	16thDec. 5	17th	Dec. 5	16thDec. 12	16th	Dec. 12	17thDec. 19	16th	Dec. 19	18thJan. 2	NR	Jan. 2	20thCASEY HORN, 141Am.Wr.News	InterMatPre	NR	Pre	NROct. 25	NR	Nov. 14	NR		Nov. 21	NRNov. 27	NR	Nov. 27	NRDec. 5	18th	Dec. 5	NRDec. 12	20th	Dec. 12	NRDec. 19	20th	Dec. 19	NRJan. 2	NR	Jan. 2	NRJED PENNELL, 165Am.Wr.News	InterMatPre	18th	Pre	19thOct. 25	18th	Nov. 14	18th		Nov. 21	NRNov. 27	NR	Nov. 27	NRDec. 5	NR	Dec. 5	NRDec. 12	NR	Dec. 12	NRDec. 19	NR	Dec. 19	NRJan. 2	NR	Jan. 2	NRNATHAN COY, 174Am.Wr.News	InterMatPre	6th	Pre	7thOct. 25	6th	Nov. 14	7th		Nov. 21	6thNov. 27	5th	Nov. 27	6thDec. 5	5th	Dec. 5	6thDec. 12	5th	Dec. 12	6thDec. 19	8th	Dec. 19	10thJan. 2	9th	Jan. 2	15thISAAC WEBER, 184Am.Wr.News	InterMatPre	NR	Pre	NROct. 25	NR	Nov. 14	NR		Nov. 21	NRNov. 27	NR	Nov. 27	NRDec. 5	NR	Dec. 5	19thDec. 12	NR	Dec. 12	20thDec. 19	NR	Dec. 19	20thJan. 2	NR	Jan. 2	20thJASON COOLEY, HWTAm.Wr.News	InterMatPre	12th	Pre	17thOct. 25	12th	Nov. 14	18th		Nov. 21	18thNov. 27	15th	Nov. 27	17thDec. 5	NR	Dec. 5	16thDec. 12	NR	Dec. 12	16thDec. 19	14th	Dec. 19	10thJan. 2	9th	Jan. 2	8th

BEAVERS IN THE CONFERENCE RANKINGS: Here's where Oregon State wrestlers have been in this season's Pacific-10 rankings:

TEAMPre	2ndDec. 5	2ndMICHAEL DELANEY, 125Pre	3rdDec. 5	NRNATHAN NAVARRO, 133Pre	2ndDec. 5	3rdCASEY HORN, 141Pre	NRDec. 5	3rdJED PENNELL, 165Pre	2ndDec. 5	NRNATHAN COY, 174Pre	1stDec. 5	1stISAAC WEBER, 184Pre	2ndDec. 5	2ndJASON LOVELL, 197Pre	3rdDec. 5	3rdJASON COOLEY, HWTPre	3rdDec. 5	NRANDY BOWLBY, HWTPre	NRDec. 5	3rd

OREGON STATE WRESTLING TICKETS: All tickets for Oregon State home wrestling meets are sold on a general admission basis. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens (age 62 and over) and students (high school or under). OSU students are admitted free with their OSU student identification card.

Junior Benny Beaver Club members are admitted free when wearing their club T-shirt or showing their membership card. Kids wearing OSU Wrestling Camp T-shirts or showing a membership card from their mat club will also be admitted free.

Local Bi-Mart stores have coupons good for 2 admissions for the price of 1 adult admission for all OSU home wrestling meets.

Wrestling is also part of the OSU 6-Sport Pass, which is good for general admission seating at all home contests in wrestling, baseball, men's and women's soccer, volleyball and gymnastics. The 6-Sport Pass is $130 for a family pass that admits 2 adults and 2 children, $80 for an adult pass, and $60 for a senior citizen or student pass.

2002 PACIFIC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS: The 2002 Pacific-10 Conference Wrestling Championships will be held March 3-4 at Oregon State's Gill Coliseum. Tickets will be sold through the OSU Athletic Ticket Office. Tickets for adults are $25 for a tournament pass or $7 per session, for seniors and students, tickets are $21 for a tournament pass or $6 per session.

The tournament includes four sessions. On Sunday, March 3,Session 1 begins at 11 a.m. and includes championship preliminaries and championship quarterfinals, Session 2 begins at 6 p.m. and includes championship semifinals and consolation quarterfinals. On Monday, March 4, Session 3 begins at 11 a.m. and includes consolation semifinals and fifth-place and third-place finals, Session 4 begins at 6 p.m. and includes the championship finals

OREGON STATE TELEVISED MEETS: Oregon State will have a pair of its dual meets televised this season on a tape-delay basis by Fox Sports Net. The Beavers' home meet on Dec. 16 against Oklahoma State was shown, and the season's second Civil War on Feb. 13 at Oregon will be broadcast on a date to be announced.

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