Sun Devil Wrestlers Successful Following Day One of Las Vegas Invite
Dec. 5, 2003
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - At the conclusion of day one of the Cliff Keen/Las Vegas Invitational Friday, the No. 17 Arizona State wrestling team finds itself in fourth place with 62.5 points and in striking distance to finish in the Top 3. Nebraska leads the competition, which is being held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with 99.5 points with Michigan in a close second at 95. Missouri (64.5), ASU and Illinois (61.5) round out the Top 5.
The Sun Devils saw three of their competitors, Patrick Williams (Jr., Homestead, Fla.) at 149, Ryan Bader (So., Verdi, Nev.) at 197 and Cain Velasquez (So., Yuma, Ariz.) at heavyweight, all reach the semifinals with a total of seven grapplers still alive in the prestigious event. And to top those accomplishments, Ron Renzi (Sr., Burke, Va.) needed just seven seconds to make history before the day was through.
Renzi etched his name into history as he dropped Marshall Marquardt of Dana College at the opening whistle and scored the pin at 0:07. His quick win tied the school record for the fastest fall in program history set in 1976 when Dan Severn, an ASU Hall of Fame member, stuck New Mexico's Mark Erickson in the same amount of time. The fastest fall for Renzi gave him three falls in as many matches to open the tournament, totaling just 2:39 of match time, which is not enough to equal the time in the first period of a single match. One match later, though, Renzi dropped a 6-3 decision to top-seeded Ryan Lange of Purdue.
Williams, seeded 11th in the event, fought his way through two unranked foes before upsetting No. 3 Matt Cox of Cal Poly in the quarterfinals. He now will battle No. 2 Travis Shufelt of Nebraska in the semifinals for a chance to compete for the tournament title. Bader, who maintained his perfect season record with a trio of wins, also will battle a conference foe in the semifinals when he meets Cal State Bakersfield's No. 8 Matt Monteiro, who upset defending NCAA champion Damion Hahn of Minnesota. Bader dominated his foes on the day winning the first by a 17-1 technical fall score, a 14-2 major decision and a 7-0 decision.
Velasquez, seeded sixth in the heavyweight division, won his opener, 12-3, before pinning 11th-seeded Tyler Rhodes of Northwestern State. In the quarterfinals, the Sun Devil big man downed No. 3 seed Israel Blevins of Purdue, 10-1, to advance to the semifinals. He will face No. 2 seed Greg Wagner of Michigan Saturday.
Four Sun Devils also remain in competition, each needing to win their first match on Saturday to assure themselves of placing in the tournament. Christian Staylor (Fr., Chesapeake, Va.), seeded No. 11 at 125, needed two wins in the consolation bracket to advance through elimination while Brian Stith (Fr., Hampton, Va.), Renzi and Nick Frost (Sr., Tucson, Ariz.) each suffered defeat in the quarterfinals and now must win to place. Stith, seeded seventh at 157, dropped a 13-2 major decision to 2003 NCAA runner-up and second seeded Alex Tirapelle of Illinois in the quarterfinals while No. 5 Frost fell, 6-2, to No. 4 Blake Kaplan of Ohio State in the 184 quarterfinals.
Curtis Ray (Fr., Mesa, Ariz.) at 133, Jeremy Mendoza (So., Temecula, Calif.) at 141 and James Terry (So., Tucson, Ariz.) at 165 also competed in the event before being eliminated from their respective weight classes.
Semifinal and consolation round action is set to begin at 10 a.m. PST Saturday with the finals and third-place matches scheduled to be contested at 5 p.m. PST.