No. 11 Sun Devil Wrestlers Slip Past No. 12 Northern Iowa, 17-16
Nov. 30, 2002
TEMPE, Ariz. - The No. 11 Sun Devil wrestlers found themselves in a familiar position Saturday as they were involved in another one-point dual, this time at No. 12 Northern Iowa. After falling to No. 8 Nebraska, 20-19, a week ago, Arizona State escaped the West Gym in Cedar Falls, Iowa, with a 17-16 defeat of the Panthers to move to 1-1 on the year while UNI lost their opening dual of the 2002-03 season. The dual saw the Sun Devils win the first five matches of the day before falling in each of the last five.
The dual opened at heavyweight with No. 7 Kellan Fluckiger (Sr., Preston, Idaho) scoring an 11-1 major decision over his opponent, Michael Shedek. The match was 2-1 in favor of the Sun Devil big man following the first period before he turned it on and won handily. Next up was Jeremy Mendoza (Fr., Temecula, Calif.) in his first dual competition of his collegiate career. Competing at 125, Mendoza scored a takedown in the first and held off a tough second period charge by Chris Helgeson to head into the third with a 6-5 advantage. Mendoza put the match away with a takedown in the third for his final margin of 9-5. Mike Simpson (So., Anaheim, Calif.) followed when he won his first dual of the year with a 3-2 decision at 133 over Mark Manchio. With the match knotted at zero heading into the third period, Manchio chose down and Simpson was able to earn three points on a near fall count. Manchio escaped for one and earned another for riding time, but it was not enough.
Perhaps the biggest win of the day was at 149 when No. 18 Dana Holland (Sr., Glendale Heights, Ill.) upset No. 5 Dylan Long, 9-4. One week ago, the two competitors met at the Kaufman Brand Omaha Open with Long winning the contest, 7-1, to give Holland his first loss of the year. Holland responded by scoring two takedowns and an escape in the first period to go up 5-3. Holland built the final margin to 9-4 after an escape, a takedown and a penalty point (stalling).
No. 3 Eric Larkin (Sr., Tucson, Ariz.) followed the match with an 11-2 major decision at 149 to remain undefeated at 6-0. Larkin, just like Fluckiger, earned four team points to bring the score to 17-0. The extra point Larkin earned for a major decision would later become the difference in the dual.
With a large lead, the tides began to turn as the Sun Devils tasted defeat in the remaining five bouts. Patrick Williams (So., Homestead, Fla.) at 157, No. 18 Nick Frost (Jr., Tucson, Ariz.) at 165, No. 9 Curtis Owen (Sr., Coeur D'Alene, Idaho) at 174, Ron Renzi (Jr., Burke, Va.) at 184 and Ryan Bader (Fr., Verdi, Nev.) at 197 all fell in their matches. Owen lost a 12-6 decision to No. 8 Eric Hauan in a matchup of Top 10 wrestlers while Frost dropped a 7-3 decision to No. 14 Drew Kelly. The dual hinged on the final match of the day between Bader and No. 11 Sean Stender. Stender won the match, 11-4, but needed a major decision to at least tie the match.
ASU returns to action tomorrow at 6 p.m. CST (5 p.m. locally) when its meets No. 2 Iowa in Carver Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.