Oregon Leads Pac-10 Race After Fisrt Day Of Pac-10 Wrestling Championships
CORVALLIS - Nine Oregon wrestlers will advance to the second day of the Pac-10 Championships, five are already assured of wrestling in the NCAA Tournament and four will be in contention for Pac-10 titles when the conference championships resume at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis Sunday. On top of the individual accolades, the Ducks are in a position to win their first Pac-10 title since winning back to back titles in 1981 and 1982, finishing the day in first place with 90 points. Boise State is just behind the Ducks with 85 points and also advances nine wrestlers tomorrow.
'Overall I'm pleased that we are in a position to win a conference championship,' Oregon head coach Chuck Kearney said. 'That has been our goal from the beginning. We need to come out focused tomorrow and continue to wrestle hard.'
Oregon is two slim losses away from having seven wrestlers competing in the finals on Sunday. Along with Shaun Williams (125), Brian Watson (141), Tony Overstake (157) and Eugene Harris (165) - all of whom will be looking for their first individual Pac-10 title tomorrow - Jason Harless (133), Casey Hunt (149), Shane Webster (174), Jake Leair (197) and Eric Webb (Hwt.) all advanced.
Harless lost to Efren Ceballos of Bakersfield when Ceballos scored a takedown as time expired in the final period. Kearney protested the match, claiming Ceballos didn't have the advantage while there was still time on the clock. After officials examined the tape, Oregon lost the protest and Ceballos narrowly won, 7-6. Harless will now face Oregon State's Nathan Navarro, who he defeated Feb. 13 in a dual at McArthur Court. In order to finish fourth and qualify for the NCAA Tournament, Harless will need to beat Navarro to advance to the third place match.
Webb was also narrowly defeated by Oregon State's Jason Cooley when Cooley scored a takedown with just under a minute remaining in the match to go ahead 3-1. Webb scored a point after Cooley was called for stalling to come within a point, 3-2. Webb chose the down position after the wrestlers went out of bounds with 11 seconds remaining, but was unable to escape to tie the match.
'Some things didn't go our way today, but I still thought the guys kept at it and never gave up,' Kearney said. 'No matter who we're wrestling or what the score is, we have to go hard for the entire match. That's what it's going to take to win the title.'
At worst, Williams, Watson, Overstake and Harris will finish second, which means they have already qualified for the NCAA Tournament. Webster will advance to the third place match tomorrow because his scheduled opponent - Quinn Collett of Portland State - broke his arm in an earlier match against Nathan Coy of Oregon State.
With the exception of Watson, who finished second at the Pac-10 tournament in the 133 pound weight class a year ago, the highest any of the wrestlers competing for titles tomorrow have finished at the Pac-10 Championships is fourth.
TEAM SCORES1. Oregon 902. Boise St. 853. Arizona St. 80.54. Oregon St. 67.55. Cal Poly 656. Davis 49.57. Stanford 378. Bakersfield 32.59. Portland St. 25.510. Fullerton 22125 POUNDS
CHAMPIONSHIP PRELIMINARY ROUNDShaun Williams, UO, major dec. Tommy Schurakamp, UCD, 10-2CHAMPIONSHIP QUARTERFINAL ROUNDShaun Williams, UO, major dec. Zach Enoch, PSU, 18-5CHAMPIONSHIP SEMIFINAL ROUNDShaun Williams, UO major dec. Mike Simpson, ASU, 15-4
CHAMPIONSHIP QUARTERFINALSSteve Strange, CPU, dec. Shane Webster, UO, 12-7
WRESTLEBACK QUARTERFINAL ROUNDShane Webster, UO major dec. Imad Kharbush, STAN, 14-3184 POUNDS
CHAMPIONSHIP QUARTERFINAL ROUNDCharles Sandlin (CPU) major dec. Elias Soto (UO), 16-6
WRESTLEBACK QUARTERFINAL ROUNDWill Carr, ASU dec. Elias Soto, UO, 3-1 SV197 POUNDS
CHAMPIONSHIP PRELIMINARY ROUNDJake Leair, UO, dec. Robbie Odell, CSUB, 8-3