Larkin Runner-Up, Team 12th As NCAA Wrestling Championships Conclude
March 23, 2002
ALBANY, N.Y. - Arizona State junior Eric Larkin earned a runner-up finish at 141 pounds, falling 10-5 in the championship final bout to Iowa State's Aaron Holker as the 2002 NCAA Wrestling Championships came to a close at the Pepsi Arena in Albany, N.Y., Saturday. Along with Larkin, senior David Douglas earned All-America honors with his fifth-place finish at 133 pounds as the duo led ASU to a 12th place team finish.
With his second place finish, Larkin became the first Sun Devil to make it to the NCAA finals since 1996 and the 14th ASU wrestler to earn NCAA runner-up honors. A three-time Pac-10 Champion, the Tucson, Ariz., native becomes the ninth Sun Devil to earn three All-America honors.
Larkin's road to the finals began with four straight wins, including one fall and one major decision. The No. 2 seed at 141 pounds, Larkin faced the No. 5 seed Holker in the championship bout. The two had met three times previously this season, with Holker holding a 2-1 advantage prior to Saturday's match.
Douglas earned his second All-America honor, improving upon last year's seventh-place finish with a fifth-place finish in 2002. In the semifinal wrestleback today, Douglas, the No. 5 seed at 133 pounds, suffered an 8-5 loss to Oklahoma's No. 3 seed Witt Durden, but bounced back in the fifth-place final to earn a 14-4 major decision over Iowa's No. 6 seed Cliff Moore.
For the second straight year, Minnesota captured the team crown with 126.5 points and two national champions. Iowa State finished second (104), followed by Oklahoma (101.5), Iowa (89) and Oklahoma State (82.5). ASU tallied 41.50 points and missed a repeat top-10 finish, placing 12th. However, this year's team performance is the second-best NCAA finish for the Sun Devils since 1996.
ASU's four other qualified wrestlers junior Rocky Smart (157), sophomore Nick Frost (165), senior Erik Gladish (197) and Kellan Fluckiger (HWT) were eliminated Friday. Smart and Fluckiger finished one win short of All-America honors.
Under first-year head coach Thom Ortiz, ASU ends the season with two All-Americans, one Pac-10 Champion, a third place conference team finish and a 12th-place national finish.
2002 NCAA Wrestling Championships
Pepsi Arena, Albany, NY., March 21-23, 2002
Arizona State Results - FINAL DAY RESULTS
141: (5) Aaron Holker (Iowa State) dec. (2) Eric Larkin (ASU), 10-5
133: (3) Witt Durden (Oklahoma) dec. (5) David Douglas (ASU), 8-5
133: (5) David Douglas (ASU) major dec. (6) Cliff Moore (Iowa), 14-4