Seven Sun Devils Headed To Finals Monday to Fight For Pac-10 Titles

March 2, 2003

BOISE, Idaho - The No. 14 Arizona State wrestling team will have seven of its 10 entrants in the finals of the 2003 Pac-10 Championships Monday night in Boise, Idaho, following a superb semifinal round as the Sun Devils fight for conference supremacy. Five of the finals will pit Arizona State against Boise State as the conference team title comes down to the wire with ASU leading BSU, 114.5-109. No. 1 and undefeated Eric Larkin (Sr., Tucson, Ariz.) will go for his fourth conference title Monday night.

Again, Jeremy Mendoza (Fr., Temecula, Calif.) got things started for the Sun Devils with a 7-0 decision over Robert Valenzuela of Cal State Fullerton. Mendoza took an early 2-0 lead at the end of the first round and parlayed that into his second conference tournament victory of the day. Ron Renzi (Jr., Burke, Va.) followed in his match with a strong start against No. 3 Tony D'Amico of Boise State. With a 2-1 lead, D'Amico took down Renzi and got a pin, though Renzi was laying across D'Amico, at the 1:56 mark in the match. Renzi went 0-2 in the tournament and did not place. Mendoza closed out the consolation bouts with a tough 8-3 loss to No. 2 seed Vic Moreno of Cal Poly, ending his season with a 1-2 record at the conference meet.

In the semifinals, Mike Simpson (So., Anaheim, Calif.) opened the action by upsetting No. 1 seed Jason Harless of Oregon, 4-0. Simpson scored on a takedown and an escape before picking up one point for riding time to punch his ticket for the NCAA Championships in three weeks. No. 1 Dana Holland (Sr., Glendale Heights, Ill.) followed Simpson into the finals with a major decision, 9-1, over No. 4 Juan Mora of Fullerton. Holland sprung to an early 2-0 lead and built it on his way to fight for the conference title.

Larkin looked to repetition in his semifinal bout as he won the match over No. 4 Matt Cox of Cal Poly with a pin at 4:37. The fall was the third in as many matches for the top-ranked 149-pound grappler in the nation as he moved into the finals for a shot at his fourth conference crown as a Sun Devil. Larkin is now 117-12 all-time and is tied for the No. 8 spot on the ASU all-time wins list. At 157, No. 3 Rocky Smart (Sr., Pleasant Grove, Utah) was locked in a tough battle with the score 3-2 with only 40 seconds remaining. Smart tried a shot and gave up a takedown, as well as back points, to bring the final to an 8-2 loss for the Sun Devil.

No. 1 Nick Frost (Jr., Tucson, Ariz.) got the train back on track by winning his semifinal bout to punch his ticket to Kansas City, Mo., for the national tournament. Frost controlled from the start and scored at will to win in a major decision, 16-6. No. 1 Curtis Owen (Sr., Couer D'Alene, Idaho) followed Frost with a major decision of his own as he defeated No. 4 Chris Carlino of Fullerton, 11-3. Owen locked in a cradle to add back points and picked up two takedowns in the end to earn bonus points with the major.

No. 2 Ryan Bader (Fr., Verdi, Nev.) made it six finalists for the Sun Devils with a come-from-behind 7-3 win over No. 3 David Schenk of Cal Poly. Down 3-1 with less than a minute left in the match, Bader scored two on a reversal, three on a near-fall and one for riding time to send himself to the finals and the NCAA event. No. 1 Kellan Fluckiger (Sr., Preston, Idaho) made the finals with a 4-0 win at heavyweight to give ASU seven finalists Monday evening. Leading 2-0 late in the match, No. 4 Dan Howe of Cal Poly got a shot in on the Sun Devil big man, but Fluckiger fought it off and scored a takedown with five seconds remaining.

The team race has turned into a battle between two schools: Arizona State and host Boise State. With the Sun Devils leading the Broncos by 5.5 points, third place is controlled by Oregon State at 60.5 points.

The Sun Devils quest for their 14th Pac-10 Championship continues Monday morning at 11 a.m. with conclusion of the consolation bracket and the placing matches. The tournament concludes with the championship finals at 6:30 p.m. Monday evening.

2003 Pac-10 Wrestling ChampionshipsSession II Results125 - Jeremy Mendoza (1-2, DNP)Conso Second	Mendoza decision Robert Valenzuela (CSF), 7-0Conso Quarters	#2 Vic Moreno (Cal Poly) decision Mendoza, 8-3

133 - Mike SimpsonSemifinals Simpson decision #1 Jason Harless (Oregon), 4-0Final Simpson vs. Jesse Brock (Boise St.)

141 - #1 Dana HollandSemifinals Holland major decision #4 Juan Mora (CSF), 9-1Final Holland vs. No. 2 Gabe Vigil (BSU)

149 - #1 Eric LarkinSemifinals Larkin pinned #4 Matt Cox (Cal Poly), 4:37Final Larkin vs. No. 2 Colin Robertson (BSU)

157 - #3 Rocky SmartSemifinals #2 Jeremiah Jarvis (UC Davis) decision Smart, 8-2Conso Semis vs. TBD

165 - #1 Nick FrostSemifinals Frost major decision Michael Font (UC Davis), 16-6Final vs. No. 3 Eric Arbogast (PSU)

174 - #1 Curtis OwenSemifinals Owen major decision #4 Chris Carlino (CSF), 11-3Final vs. No. 2 Shane Webster (Oregon)

184 - Ron Renzi (0-2, DNP)Conso Second #3 Tony D'Amico (Boise State) pinned Renzi, 1:56

197 - #2 Ryan BaderSemifinals Bader decision #3 David Schenk (Cal Poly), 7-3Final vs. No. 4 K.C. Walsh (BSU)

285 - #1 Kellan FluckigerSemifinals Fluckiger decision #4 Dan Howe (Cal Poly), 4-0Final vs. No. Boe Rushton (BSU)

Team Scores (following second session)1. Arizona State 114.52. Boise State 109.03. Oregon State 60.54. CS Bakersfield 51.55. Oregon 51.06. Cal Poly 46.07. UC Davis 38.08. Stanford 37.59. CS Fullerton 29.510. Portland State 28.0

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