Eric Larkin Gains 100th Career Victory, Sun Devils in Sixth Place
TEMPE, Ariz. - Three individuals have advanced to the semifinals and another five remain in contention to place in the Top 8 while the No. 10 Arizona State wrestling team stands sixth overall following the first day of action at the Las Vegas Invitational Friday. Senior Eric Larkin (Tucson, Ariz.) went 3-0 on his way to reaching the semifinal of the 149 division, improving to 11-0 on the year and win the 100th match of his career.
Also faring well for the Sun Devils were seniors Dana Holland (Glendale Heights, Ill.) at 141 and Kellan Fluckiger (Preston, Idaho) at heavyweight, both semifinalists. Holland went 3-0 on his way towards the finals while Fluckiger compiled at 4-0 mark.
Five other ASU grapplers also remain in the tournament and are in search of a third-place finish. Curtis Owen (Coeur D'Alene, Idaho) nearly joined the trio of Sun Devils in the semifinals, falling in double-overtime, 5-4, No. 1 Greg Jones of West Virginia. Owen had the defending national champion on the ropes, but was unable to hold his opponent to the mat in the final 30 second extra session to earn the win. Nick Frost (Tucson, Ariz.), at 165, and Mike Simpson (Anaheim, Calif.), at 133, both fell in the quarterfinals and now must battle through the consolation bracket to place in the tournament.
Patrick Williams (Homestead, Fla.), at 157, and Ryan Bader (Verdi, Nev.), at 197, round out the Sun Devils remaining in the tournament. Jeremy Mendoza (Temecula, Calif.), at 125, and Ron Renzi (Burke, Va.), at 197, both were eliminated from the event in the early stages of the day.
The invitational concludes Saturday with a 9 a.m. start for consolation wrestlers and a 10 a.m. start for the semifinalists.