No. 11 Arizona State Wrestles Final Home Dual Sunday
Feb. 6, 2003
TEMPE, Ariz.- Ranked No. 11 in the latest national polls and sporting an 10-6 overall record (3-1 Pac-10), the Arizona State wrestling squad plays host to Cal State Bakersfield (6-6, 3-3 Pac-10) Sunday at 2 p.m. inside Wells Fargo Arena. Along with honoring its six seniors, ASU also will take time to honors its alumni during the dual.
It has been a long journey for the six seniors that will compete for the Sun Devils in their final home dual this Sunday. Adam Chavira, Dana Holland, Eric Larkin, Rocky Smart, Curtis Owen and Kellan Fluckiger will all see their collegiate campaigns expire at the end of this season.
Larkin, Holland and Fluckiger have made the most of their final season, each being ranked among the Top 10 in the nation and holding impressive win-loss records. Larkin will look to cap his stellar career with a national championship and become the fourth four-time All-American in school history. Holland and Fluckiger, strong contendors for a title as well, should end their careers with the one thing they have been looking for since joining ASU: All-American status.
Smart and Owen both have had to overcome the adversity of injuries in their careers, not to mention this year alone. Both wrestlers hold national rankings this year and could join Holland, Larkin and Fluckiger on the podium at nationals, signifying they are All-Americans. Like Smart and Owen, Chavira has had his share of injuries to deal with as well and will look to go out on top with a win on the mats at Wells Fargo Arena.
LARKIN'S SENIOR CAMPAIGN
He is 22-0. His career record of 111-12 places him as the 11th winningest Sun Devil of all-time. One of nine Arizona State grapplers to earn All-American honors three times, Eric Larkin, the top-ranked 149 wrestler in the nation, is on his way to becoming just the fourth Sun Devil to win All-American honors four times.
In duals, Larkin is tied with NCAA champion Marcus Mollica with 45 dual wins and his 30 falls makes him No. 6 on the list.
Since heading into the Las Vegas Invitational (Dec. 6-7) with a 5-3 record on the year and ranked No. 18 in the nation, Holland has gone 24-2, won the tournament titles at the Las Vegas Invite and the Reno Tournament of Champions and finished second at the highly competitive Midlands. He also has surged toward the top of the rankings, coming in this week at No. 5.
While Eric Larkin has climbed into the all-time records book in four categories, one other Sun Devil is making a charge toward a solid spot on the ledger. Heavyweight Kellan Fluckiger has amassed a career record of 88-43 and is 24th on the all-time wins list. Fluckiger also needs 12 more wins in this, his senior season, to break the 100-win plateau, joining the 20 other Sun Devil greats to reach the milestone.
400 AND COUNTING...
On Jan. 5 at the Sun Devil Duals, Arizona State defeated Lock Haven, 21-16, to secure the 400th win in the history of the program. The Sun Devils all-time record currently is 407-217-13 following a loss at Oregon State and a win at Oregon over the weekend.
IN THE RANKINGS
This week, the NWCA Coaches poll has the Sun Devils ranked the highest at No. 10 with Intermat and The Wrestling Mall both placing ASU at No. 11.
ASU PROBABLE STARTERS
125 - Adam Chavira or Jeremy Mendoza
133 - #9 Mike Simpson
141 - #5 Dana Holland or Evan Larkin
149 - #1 Eric Larkin
157 - #13 Rocky Smart, Mike Smith or Patrick Williams
165 - #8 Nick Frost
174 - #8 Curtis Owen
184 - Ron Renzi
197 - Ryan Bader
285 - #4 Kellan Fluckiger
SCOUTING: CS BAKERSFIELD
The Roadrunners, under the coaching of TJ Kerr, Cal State Bakersfield's 19th-year head coach, are 7-7 overall this year with a 3-3 mark in the Pac-10. The team is led by No. 15 Efren Ceballos, who is 19-8 overall this year and 9-1 in duals.
SERIES HISTORY: CS BAKERSFIELD
Arizona State holds the upper hand in the series standings with a 16-6-1 record ... the Sun Devils won the last meeting, 40-6, on the road ... ASU has won three in a row and is unbeaten in its last five (includes a tie) ... last three duals in Tempe have been, for the Sun Devils, a win, a tie and a loss ... ASU vs. CSUB: at Tempe: 6-4-1 ... at Bakersfield: 10-2-0 ... neutral: 0-0-0.
With its 18-16 loss to Oregon State over the weekend, Arizona State lost its first Pac-10 dual in the last three years and the first under the coaching of Thom Ortiz.
LAST TIME OUT: THE OREGONS
The Sun Devils had two close duals on the road over the weekend, dropping the first to Oregon State, 18-16, before winning the second, 21-20, at Oregon. For the weekend, four ASU wrestlers posted undefeated records. Dana Holland (141), Eric Larkin (149) and Nick Frost (165) each went 2-0 while Kellan Fluckiger (heavyweight) was 1-0 on the trip.
HEAD COACH THOM ORTIZ
Former Sun Devil standout Thom Ortiz, a three-time All-American, national runner-up and three-time conference champion, returns for his second year at the helm of the Arizona State program. After compiling a 9-5 record a year ago, the team went on to place second at the Pac-10 Championships and 12th at the NCAA meet. The fifth head coach in the 41-year history of the program, Ortiz knows what it takes to make the Sun Devils a prominent team. He was a member of ASU squads that won three conference team titles, one NCAA championship and two national runner-up finishes. His career coaching record is 19-11-0 (9-1 Pac-10).
WELLS FARGO ARENA
Wells Fargo Arena is the home of Sun Devil wrestling, as well as men's and women's basketball, women's volleyball and women's gymnastics. The arena was completed in 1974 with the ability to seat a capacity of crowd of more than 14,000 and has seen its far share of top competition. The annual Sunkist Kids/ASU International Open has been staged inside WFA and the Sun Devil wrestlers also called the facility home on their way to the 1988 NCAA title. In all, some of the elite teams in the nation have visited the arena. That list includes Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Minnesota, Iowa and Iowa State.
Since the Sun Devils began competing in WFA in the 1974-75 season, ASU holds an all-time mark of 140-48-2 (.746). The Sun Devils also compiled five seasons with a perfect mark at home: 1975-76 (8-0), 1984-85 (8-0), 1987-88 (4-0), 1988-89 (6-0) and 1992-93 (5-0).
WARMING UP FOR
One weekend of duals action remains on the Sun Devil schedule, both on the road. On Feb. 16, Arizona State will head to Fresno State for Noon contest before traveling and competing at Cal State Fullerton later that night in a 7:30 p.m. dual. From there, the Sun Devils will have two weeks to prepare for the Pac-10 Championships, March 2-3 at Boise State. The Top 4 wrestlers in each weight class, including another three at-large selections, will earn a berth into the NCAA Championships, slated for March 20-22 in Kansas City, Mo.