Beavers Win On Dale's Day

Feb. 16, 2003

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Pins by Oregon State 197-pounder Jason Lovell and heavyweight Andy Bowlby clinched a 27-13 victory over Oregon in Pacific-10 wrestling Sunday afternoon at Gill Coliseum. Beaver 149-pounder Tony Hook's upset of nationally-ranked Tony Overstake sparked the win, which came on the day that OSU honored legendary former coach Dale Thomas in a halftime ceremony.

OSU (10-8 overall, 8-2 Pacific-10) wrapped up the regular season and now looks ahead to the Pacific-10 Championships on March 2-3 in Boise, Ida. Oregon (7-11, 5-4) wrestles at Portland State on Wednesday.

On Sunday, a crowd of 2,529 - including nearly 100 former Oregon State wrestlers on hand for the annual OSU wrestling homecoming - roared as Lovell and Bowlby scored back-to-back pins to give OSU a 21-10 lead with two matches to go. Earlier, Hook and 165-pounder Matt Ellis had scored overtime wins for the Beavers.

'To win the close matches, the overtime matches, and then to have the two pins - that's great. That's an 18-point swing,' OSU head coach Joe Wells said. 'It was a great crowd and a great tribute to Dale. There was nothing more appropriate on his day than to beat the Ducks.'

OSU unveiled a permanent banner in Gill Coliseum with Thomas' name and the number 616 - his all-time collegiate record number of dual meet wins. Thomas coached the Beavers for 34 seasons from 1957-90, and the halftime ceremony included his family and former wrestlers.

'It tickles the hell out of me,' Thomas said of the honor. 'It's been fun today - there are so many guys who came back that I've had a chance to see.'

The OSU wrestlers returning for the homecoming festivities accounted for 46 individual conference championships, 29 All-America finishes and five NCAA titles during their careers. They saw Oregon State run its all-time record against Oregon to 97-24-4 in a series dating back to 1915.

Hook's victory over Overstake, who entered the meet ranked 17th nationally by Amateur Wrestling News, ignited the Beavers. The season's first Civil War, presented by Northwest Dodge Dealers, saw Oregon win 18-15 in Eugene on Dec. 13 when Overstake beat Hook 9-3 in the final match.

This time, Hook stayed within striking distance but still trailed 1-0 in the closing seconds with Overstake having clinched an additional point for riding time. However, with three seconds left, Hook managed to complete a reversal that left the score tied 2-2 at the end of regulation.

'I was very proud of Tony Hook - he had the presence of mind to figure out a way to win,' Wells said. 'There's 12 seconds left, he's down by a point and the other guy has riding time coming, so he knows he can't just get away. He gets the reversal and has the presence of mind to hang on (until the buzzer) and the score is tied; now it's anybody's match.'

Hook and Overstake battled through a scoreless one-minute overtime and went to the 30-second tiebreaker, in which one wrestler gets his choice of the up or down position; the match is decided by whether or not the man on the bottom can escape. Hook, by virtue of having the only offensive points of the match, had his choice and took the down position.

Overstake had ridden Hook for almost all of the third period, but this time it took Hook just 11 seconds to escape for the 3-2 victory.

'That was my first dual,' Hook said of their December meeting. 'The seniors on our team told me it was going to take 20 matches before you really start getting into it. I've been wrestling some tough guys these last two weeks. I knew coming in it was going to be a tough one again. I just knew it was going to be a different story. I've just improved that much more.'

Hook improved to 14-10 with the victory, and it was his third win this season over a nationally-ranked wrestler.

'It's a good win going into Pac-10s,' Hook said. 'He's the defending Pac-10 champion; it helps me get into the groove and hopefully I can keep it going.'

It certainly got the Beavers going.

'Any time a freshman upsets a nationally-ranked guy - especially with a last-second reversal like that - that's big,' Bowlby said.

Ellis also got his overtime victory in the tiebreaker against Luke Larwin after they were even at 1-1 in regulation and didn't score in the one-minute overtime. The choice for position was a coin toss and Ellis won, then opted for the down position; he scored a reversal 18 seconds into the tiebreaker for a 3-1 win. Ellis is now 15-8 this season.

Oregon still led 10-6 after the Ducks' 11th-ranked Shane Webster held off a late charge by OSU's Jake Huffman for a 5-4 win at 174 pounds. Huffman, trailing 5-1 after two periods, got back within 5-4 with an escape and a takedown but couldn't quite come up with near-fall points in the closing seconds and fell to 20-10 this season while Webster improved his record to 21-4.

OSU then reeled off 21 straight points to wrap up the meet. It started at 184 pounds, where Jed Pennell took an 8-1 decision over Oregon's Tony Rolen. Pennell, who had wrestled his whole career at 165 pounds until late January and had still been weighing in at that weight, improved his record at 184 to 5-1 with one pin.

Lovell - one of the OSU seniors wrestling his final home meet - gave up a first-period takedown to Elias Soto and trailed 2-1 after the first period at 197 pounds.

'It woke me up, that's for sure,' Lovell said. 'That's not what I had in my mind last night.'Lovell escaped to start the second period, then tried for a takedown and wound up with Soto draped over him, head down. Lovell twisted around, pressing Soto's shoulders to the mat for a pin in 3 minutes, 56 seconds.

'I wasn't sure where he was (in relation to the mat), but I knew he had to be back there somewhere,' Lovell said. 'I turned to look and see where, and that's when they called it.'It was Lovell's fourth straight win, including two over nationally-ranked opponents, and it was his second pin of the season. Lovell improved to 15-9 with the win.

Bowlby, another senior, was next up; he'd beaten Oregon's Neil Phillips 6-1 in December. This time, it took just 49 seconds for Bowlby to throw Phillips and come up with his 11th pin of the season, giving OSU a 21-10 lead.

'I thought that'd be a cool way to go out - pins back to back,' Bowlby chuckled. 'I'd planned on trying for some leg takedowns, but he came out and tied up strong. That's what I look for. The leg shots weren't there, but the head and arm were.'

Bowlby, ranked 12th nationally, raised his record to 22-6 this season and his 11 pins tie him for 34th place on OSU's all-time list of single-season leaders. Bowlby has 19 career pins, moving him into a tie for 28th place on the school's all-time leader list.

Of Bowlby's 11 pins this season, nine have come in the first period and four have come in the first minute. Of his 19 career pins, 15 have come in the first period and six in the first minute.

Oregon forfeited to Beaver senior Michael Delaney at 125 pounds, putting the dual out of reach at 27-10. OSU's other seniors, who were saluted in a pre-meet ceremony, were Huffman, 141-pounder Casey Horn, 157/165-pounder Paul Rademacher and heavyweight John Winters.

Now the Beavers can begin looking ahead to the postseason.

'This team has grown a lot,' Bowlby said. 'The freshmen have matured - they're not as anxious or nervous when they step out there.'

Added Lovell: 'We've mad a lot of improvement since December, and we're peaking right now.'

OREGON STATE 27, OREGON 13

(Current Amateur Wrestling News national rankings in parentheses)

141-Casey Hunt, UO, dec. Mike Unger Jr., OSU, 4-1. 149-Tony Hook, OSU, dec. (17) Tony Overstake, UO, 3-2 (OT). 157-Branson Phillips, UO, major dec. Jeremy Larson, OSU, 13-0. 165-Matt Ellis, OSU, dec. Luke Larwin, UO, 3-1 (OT). 174-(11) Shane Webster, UO, dec. Jake Huffman, OSU, 5-4. 184-Jed Pennell, OSU, dec. Tony Rolen, UO, 8-1. 197-Jason Lovell, OSU, pinned Elias Soto, UO, 3:56. HWT-(12) Andy Bowlby, OSU, pinned Neil Phillips, UO, 0:49. 125-Michael Delaney, OSU, by forfeit. 133-(19) Jason Harless, UO, dec. Tim Norman, OSU, 9-2.

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