No. 7 Sun Devil Wrestling Scores 21-21 Upset Over No. 3 Oklahoma

Jan. 8, 2003

TEMPE, Ariz. - When the final buzzer sounded in the 157 pound match Wednesday evening at Wells Fargo Arena, 633 Sun Devil fans exploded in cheers after witnessing No. 7 Arizona State climb out of a 12-point deficit and upset No. 4 Oklahoma, 21-21. A new rule in the NCAA this year decides the outcome of tied duals and ASU won on the first tie breaking criteria when it had won more matches in the dual (6-4) than OU.

With the dual on the line, again, No. 13 Rocky Smart (Sr., Pleasant Grove, Utah) took the mat and carried the team over its final hurdle for the victory. Smart, bothered by injuries from the onset of the season, wrestled in only his second match of the year, scoring a 5-3 decision over Rafael Maturino, to tie the team score and give ASU the win. On Sunday, in his first match of the year, Smart won his bout to give the Sun Devils a 21-16 win over Lock Haven.

Just like Sunday, the dual opened at 165 with No. 9 Nick Frost (Jr., Tucson, Ariz.) securing a 6-4 decision over Wes Roberts. Ahead 3-0, the Sun Devils could not hold the lead as OU's No. 3 Robbie Waller pinned Patrick Williams (So., Homestead, Fla.) in the 174 bout with No. 2 Josh Lambrecht pinning Ron Renzi (Jr., Burke, Va.) at 184. Ryan Bader (Fr., Verdi, Nev.) stepped in at 197 and halted the Sooner momentum with his 11-7 upset victory over No. 14 Tom Grossman. No. 5 Kellan Fluckiger (Sr., Preston, Idaho), the Sun Devil heavyweight, picked up three points with his 9-2 decision over Joel Tapler to make the team race 12-9 in favor of OU.

No. 10 Bo Maynes put six more points on the board for the Sooners when he pinned Jeremy Mendoza (Fr., Temecula, Calif.) at 125. Ahead 18-9, No. 3 Robbie Waller scored a 9-4 decision over No. 13 Mike Simpson (So., Anaheim, Calif.) at 133 to further the ASU deficit to 12 points (21-9) with three must-win matches for ASU.

At 141, No. 5 Dana Holland (Sr., Glendale Heights, Ill.) had his hands full with freshman sensation No. 12 Teyon Ware. Holland jumped ahead early in the match before fighting off the speedy Ware for the 6-4 win. The crowd came to life once more when undefeated and top-ranked Eric Larkin (Sr., Tucson, Ariz.) came to the mat. Larkin faced a familiar foe in No. 19 Nate Parker. Both moved around early in the first, giving the match the appearance of a boxing bout. Parker was called for stalling on three occasions, as well as twice for fingers to the eyes and twice for head butts. On the second head butt, with only 42 second remaining in the first period, the referee stopped the match and disqualified Parker, giving ASU six needed points.

With the match standing at 21-18 in favor of the Sooners, Smart came to the mat and scored his decision win to give the Sun Devils the team win. Smart and Maturino battled to a scoreless tie at the end of the first before Smart chose down to start the second. After an escape put the match at 1-0, Smart took down his opponent to build a 3-1 lead at the end of the second. In the final period, Maturino escaped twice and Smart, after a takedown, fended off a late rally to win the dual.

The Sun Devils return to the mats Jan. 18-19 when they head to Columbus, Ohio, for the NWCA National Duals. ASU's tournament ranking and first round opponents will not be known until the Monday prior to the tournament. The Sun Devils will return home Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. when they play host to Cal Poly in Pac-10 action.

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