Brackets Released For 2003 NCAA Wrestling Championships
March 17, 2003
Sun Devil NCAA Notes |NCAA Brackets [in pdf]
TEMPE, Ariz. - The NCAA released the brackets for the 2003 NCAA Wrestling Championships, to be held Thursday through Saturday at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo. Five Sun Devils received a Top 12 seed in the tournament, led by No. 1 Eric Larkin (Sr., Tucson, Ariz.) at 149 and No. 4 Kellan Fluckiger (Sr., Preston, Idaho) at heavyweight.
Larkin will start his climb for the top of the national podium when he faces Ed Gutnik of Wisconsin in the first round. Fluckiger, a favorite to be a top contender for the national title, will open action with Drexel's Mike Carroll. Neither of the two ASU wrestlers has faced his first round opponent this year.
Also receiving a seeding was No. 7 Dana Holland (Sr., Glendale Heights, Ill.) at 141, No. 10 Curtis Owen (Sr., Coeur D'Alene, Idaho) and No. 12 Mike Simpson (So., Anaheim, Calif.). Holland, who was the Pac-10 runner-up in his division this year, will face Ohio State's Jeff Ratliff. Holland won the only meeting between the two this year, 7-5, in overtime at the Las Vegas Invitational. If the seedings play out, Holland would meet No. 10 seed Gabe Vigil of Boise State, the same competitor that defeated Holland for the conference title.
Owen will face a familiar foe in Nebraska's Travis Pascoe. Owen and Pascoe met in the first match of the year with the Husker taking a 13-6 decision. Since then, however, Owen won his conference with Pascoe taking third in the Big XII. Simpson, in his first national tournament, will face Sacred Heart's Jason Cucolo.
Three Sun Devils, Rocky Smart (Sr., Pleasant Grove, Utah) at 157, Nick Frost (Jr., Tucson, Ariz.) at 165 and Ryan Bader (Fr., Verdi, Nev.) at 197, were not seeded in the tournament and will have to battle some tough opponents to become All-Americans. Smart opens with fifth-seeded Gray Maynard of Michigan State while Frost gets a second match with Nebraska's No. 11 seed Jacob Klein. Frost opened the year with an 8-5 decision over the Husker in Lincoln.
Bader, making his first NCAA appearance, will battle Adam Schaaf of Millersville in the first round. The winner of that match will likely face, if seeds hold up, the No. 1 seed in Jon Trenge of Lehigh. Trenge was the national runner-up a year ago, losing only to undefeated Cael Sanderson of Iowa State in the tournament.
The NCAA meet begins Thursday at 11 a.m. CST and wraps up with the finals at 2:30 p.m. CST Saturday. ESPN2 will provide same-day, tape-delayed coverage of the finals from 7-9 p.m. EST.
2003 NCAA Wrestling Championships
First Round Matches
number preceding wrestler is tournament seeding
133 * #12 Mike Simpson
vs. Jason Cucolo (Sacred Heart)
141 * #7 Dana Holland
vs. Jeff Ratliff (Ohio State)
149 * #1 Eric Larkin
vs. Ed Gutnik (Wisconsin)
157 * Rocky Smart
vs. #5 Gray Maynard (Michigan State)
165 * Nick Frost
vs. #11 Jacob Klein (Nebraska)
174 * #10 Curtis Owen
vs. Travis Pascoe (Nebraska)
197 * Ryan Bader
vs. Adam Schaaf (Millersville)
285 * #4 Kellan Fluckiger
vs. Mike Carroll (Drexel)