Eric Larkin Claims Title, Fluckiger Second at Kaufman Brand Open
Nov. 23, 2002
TEMPE, Ariz. - Senior Eric Larkin (Tucson, Ariz.) went 4-0 en route to winning the 2002 Kaufman Brand Omaha Open Saturday in Omaha, Neb., to lead a Sun Devil squad that saw six of its members place in the tournament. Senior Kellan Fluckiger (Preston, Idaho) advanced to the finals of the heavyweight division before losing his first match of the day and taking second place. Joining the two Arizona State finalists as placewinners in the event were sophomore Mike Simpson (Anaheim, Calif.), fourth at 133, senior Dana Holland (Glendale Heights, Ill.), fifth at 141, sophomore Patrick Williams (Homestead, Fla.), sixth at 149, and junior Nick Frost (Tucson, Ariz.), fifth at 165. Over 600 wrestlers representing 34 schools competed with no team scored being kept for the tournament.
Larkin marched through the 149 division for the title with his closest match, a 4-2 decision over Oklahoma State's Jerrod Sanders in the finals, being his smallest margin of victory. He opened the day with a win via fall at 1:15, a 5-1 decision and a 6-1 decision. Williams, who lost to Sanders in the semifinals (3-1), took sixth in the same weight class after medically forfeiting his final two matches.
Simpson won his first two matches of the day by technical falls before earning a spot in the semifinals with a 6-4 decision win. Simpson lost to the eventual champion Johnny Thompson of Oklahoma State, 5-0, in the semifinals. Holland joined Simpson in the Top 5 with his fifth-place finish at 141. He opened the tournament with a 4-3 win over teammate Evan Larkin (So., Tucson, Ariz.) before advancing to the semifinals where he fell to the division's runner-up Dylan Long of Northern Iowa, 7-1.
Frost finished fifth at 165 after winning his first two bouts. Eventual runner-up Drew Kelly handed Frost his first loss with a 5-0 decision sending him to the consolation bracket where he went 3-1 with a win via pinfall. In the heavyweight division, Fluckiger needed 1:07 to pin his first opponent before advancing to the semifinals with a 7-0 decision. Dustin Darveaux of St. Cloud State gave Fluckiger a scare with a 5-4 decision before Iowa's Steve Mocco took the title from the Sun Devil big man in a 9-1 defeat.
Also competing for the Sun Devils were Adam Chavira (Sr., Parker, Ariz.), 1-2 at 125; Curtis Owen (Sr., Coeur D'Alene, Idaho), 2-2 at 174; Mazi Burke (Fr., Hawthorne, Calif.), 2-2 at 184; Ron Renzi (Jr., Burke, Va.), 3-2 at 184; and Ryan Bader (Fr., Verdi, Nev.), 3-2 at 197.
The tournament also featured a 20-and-under division which included three Sun Devils in the competition. Scott Hollingsworth (Wheaton, Ill.) and Mike Smith (Gilbert, Ariz.) each went 1-2 at 197 and 157, respectively, while Dan Vucci (Fairfax Station, Va.) fell in both of his matches at 125.
Several ASU wrestlers faced members of the Iowa and Northern Iowa teams and will likely face them again next week in dual action when the Sun Devils return to the road. ASU has trips to No. 15 Northern Iowa Saturday at 2 p.m. in Cedar Falls, Iowa, before taking No. 3 Iowa at 6 p.m. Sunday in Iowa City, Iowa. ASU's home opener follows one week later with conference foe Portland State coming to Wells Fargo Arena at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5.