Norman, Unger Wrap it Up

Feb. 8, 2003

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State 133-pounder Tim Norman and 141-pounder Mike Unger Jr. gave the Beavers a needed boost at the lower weights Saturday, winning the final two matches as OSU beat Cal Poly 23-12 in Pacific-10 wrestling at Gill Coliseum. Jason Lovell added an overtime win against the Mustangs' nationally-ranked David Schenk at 197 pounds for key points in the dual.

OSU (9-8 overall, 7-2 Pacific-10) will finish the regular season on Feb. 16 in Gill Coliseum against Oregon in the Civil War, presented by Northwest Dodge Dealers. The 2 p.m. meet will be Oregon State's annual Wrestling Homecoming with former Beaver wrestlers reuniting for the day. Also, the career of legendary OSU coach Dale Thomas will be celebrated with the unfurling of a permanent banner in his honor in the Oregon State arena.

Against Cal Poly (10-7, 6-2) the Beavers needed to win at least one of the final two matches for the team victory. Norman and Unger, both of whom are below .500 this season, were matched against Mustang wrestlers with winning records, but Norman beat Nate Ybarra 3-1 in overtime and Unger pinned Andy Kim in 4 minutes, 48 seconds.

Norman's win - which he scored with a reversal in the 30-second tiebreaker period - all but wrapped up the meet for the Beavers.

'Tim wrestled a real solid match against Ybarra, who's had a lot of success over the years,' OSU assistant coach Jeff Cardwell said. 'It's good for Tim's confidence to beat a guy who's been around ... Tim has been close lately, but he hasn't beaten some guys like that.'

The match was tied 1-1 after regulation and after the one-minute first overtime. Norman won the coin flip for the tiebreaker and chose the down position; midway through that period, he and Ybarra were scrambling near the edge of the mat.

'I was just trying to get away from him,' Norman said. 'I turned hard, and he was riding me in kind of a weird way ... it was just a flurry. I didn't realize how close to the edge we were.'

But Norman completed the reversal inbounds with 15 seconds remaining for the win.

'This is a huge confidence booster,' the sophomore said. 'Going into Pac-10s, this is the time to be peaking.'

Unger, a freshman, then put the meet away with his first career pin. After a scoreless first period, Kim chose the down position to start the second; Unger turned him for a three-point near-fall, then turned him again for the pin with 12 seconds left on the clock.

'Mike's been working a lot lately on turning guys,' Cardwell said. 'He turned (Boise State's 13th-ranked) Gabe Vigil last weekend and almost pinned him, and today he did the same thing and finished it. It was a great way to end the meet.'

Lovell had given the Beavers the lead for good in the 197-pound match, beating Schenk 3-1 with a takedown in the first overtime period; Schenk was ranked 18th by Amateur Wrestling News. It was Lovell's second straight overtime win over a nationally-ranked wrestler; he'd beaten Boise State's 19th-ranked K.C. Walsh 3-2 in the tiebreaker last weekend.

Schenk, the defending Pac-10 champ and currently ranked first in the conference, had a 24-6 record going into the match.

'That's going to do him a lot of good in the seeding at Pac-10s,' Cardwell said of Lovell, who improved to 14-9 with his third straight win. 'We were a little worried about the overtime - Jason has been sick all week and he'd only practiced twice, but he gutted it out.'

Jed Pennell lost his unbeaten status at 184 pounds, where he had broken into the national rankings this week. The erstwhile 165-pounder lost 5-4 to Cal Poly's Ryan Halsey; Pennell had won his first four matches ever at 184.

Pennell was one handhold away from the win, though. Late in the second period with Halsey leading 3-1 and in the position of advantage, Pennell turned the tables and had Halsey on his back with the clock winding down. When the buzzer sounded, though, Halsey had managed to keep a wristlock that prevented officials from awarding the reversal and three-point near-fall.

'Jed could easily have won that match,' Cardwell said. 'He continues to inspire us by having to make weight at 165 pounds (to keep alive the possibility he could wrestle at that weight later in the season) and wrestle against those guys, and going right at them.'

After Cal Poly won the day's first two matches, Matt Ellis and Jake Huffman got the Beavers going. At 165 pounds, Ellis scored four takedowns en route to a 10-5 win over Keith Kroeger; at 174, Huffman rolled up an 11-0 lead in the first period before recording a technical fall over Brett Schumann in 4:32.

OSU heavyweight Andy Bowlby, ranked 12th nationally, improved to 22-6 with an 11-7 decision over Cal Poly's Dan Howe.

OREGON STATE 23, CAL POLY 12

(Current Amateur Wrestling News national rankings in parentheses)

149-Matt Cox, CPU, dec. Tony Hook, OSU, 4-2. 157-Nick Hopping, CPU, dec. Jeremy Larson, OSU, 8-2. 165-Matt Ellis, OSU, dec. Keith Kroeger, CPU, 10-5. 174-Jake Huffman, OSU, tech. fall Brett Schumann, CPU, 4:32 (18-2). 184-Ryan Halsey, CPU, dec. (20) Jed Pennell, OSU, 5-4. 197-Jason Lovell, OSU, dec. (18) David Schenk, CPU, 3-1 (OT). HWT-(12) Andy Bowlby, OSU, dec. Dan Howe, CPU, 11-7. 125-Joel Mittelman, CPU, dec. Michael Delaney, OSU, 6-1. 133-Tim Norman, OSU, dec. Nate Ybarra, CPU, 3-1 (OT). 141-Mike Unger Jr., OSU, pinned Andy Kim, CPU, 4:48.

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